The issuance of a criminal Complaint commences the criminal justice process. Once a complaint is issued, defendants are either arrested or issued a summons or notice to appear in municipal or Superior Court on a first appearance.
If they fail to appear, a warrant may be issued for the defendant’s arrest by a judge if there is proof of service, or evidence that the accused received the summons or notice and failed to appear. At the first court appearance, defendants are advised of their rights.
Additionally, a defendant will typically enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Finally, the defendant’s bail is reviewed. It is imperative that an individual charged with a criminal offense contact an attorney immediately upon receiving a Complaint.
Criminal cases are often time-sensitive and unnecessary delay can present serious adverse consequences.