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Criminal Defense FAQs

Criminal Defense Legal Questions Morris County NJ

Ask an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer what you need to know about your charges and potential penalties

The criminal law practice at Smith & Doran, P.C. represents adults and juveniles charged with DUI/DWI, Possession and Distribution of Narcotics, theft, robbery, assault, and other criminal offenses in New Jersey. On this page, we provide answers to commonly asked questions about facing criminal charges and hiring a defense attorney. For more specific information about how we can help you, please contact our office in Morristown.

What should I look for in a criminal defense attorney?

Your attorney should instill trust and confidence in you. You should feel comfortable talking with your attorney about the details of your arrest, knowing that your interests and freedom are your attorney’s highest priority. The attorney you choose should also have significant criminal defense experience, as well as specific experience handling your type of case.

Robert A. Smith of Smith & Doran is an AV® Preeminent rated attorney committed to building long-lasting partnerships with his clients. AV® Preeminent is the highest possible rating given by Martindale Hubbel Peer Review Ratings™, considered to be the industry standard in accurately scoring lawyers on a combination of their legal knowledge, communication skills, and ethical standards. Bob Smith prides himself on providing personal but professional legal counsel, and he believes open and honest communication with his clients is the key to building a long-lasting partnership based on trust.

At Smith & Doran, we work hard to earn our clients’ trust and have a true passion for criminal defense. Willingness to fight for our clients’ rights is a hallmark of our practice.

What are my rights as an accused?

Remember the most fundamental principal of the criminal justice system: you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, which means the state of New Jersey must prove your guilt. You do not have to prove your innocence. You do not have to testify or call witnesses at a trial. You do have the following rights:

  • A public trial in front of a judge or jury
  • An attorney; if you cannot afford a lawyer, you have the right to a court-appointed lawyer (a public defender)
  • You may remain silent when asked questions
  • Testify at trial (if you choose to)
  • Cross-examine witnesses called by the prosecution
  • Compel witnesses to testify on your behalf
  • If you are convicted of a criminal charge, you can appeal that finding

Should I enter into a plea bargain?

Talk to a criminal defense attorney before you enter into a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an admission of guilt to all charges. You may avoid an expensive and time-consuming trial by agreeing to a plea bargain, but the lasting consequences of a criminal record can be much worse than going to court. In some cases, a plea bargain does not even assure a lesser penalty.

Often, people accused of crimes have one or more legal defenses to the charges they are facing, which means trial can lead to a better result than a plea bargain. We are trial lawyers, and we know how to obtain good results for our clients by fighting charges in court.

What is a first appearance?

If a criminal complaint is issued against you, you will either be arrested or issued a summons to appear in court. This is referred to as a “first appearance,” and it’s often combined with an arraignment, a court proceeding during which you are formally advised of the charges against you—and asked to enter a plea to the charges. For the best possible outcome in your case, you should talk to a lawyer before your first appearance.

Contact a Morristown Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Criminal charges are serious charges, with serious consequences.  When fighting a criminal charge, it is important that you have someone fighting on your side who understands how the state will try to prove your guilt, and how to counter their tactics and achieve a favorable result for you.

At the Law Offices of Smith & Doran, we understand the stakes involved with your criminal charge and are ready to provide personal and effective legal representation.  We know how to fight for your future while at the same time always maintaining an open line of communication.  The lawyer you hire is the lawyer you get, every step of the way.  Contact us online or by phone at 973-261-6254 today to schedule your cost-free consultation.

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Verdicts and Settlements


Recovery for a six year old girl who suffered serious neurologic injury, as well as the loss of her parents and siblings, when the family's car was crushed by a garbage truck which had jumped a median strip partly as a result of a faulty braking system.


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Award obtained for a Sussex County man who suffered cervical injuries requiring two surgeries as a result of two separate car accidents.


The experienced lawyers you can trust. With over 130+ years combined experience, our firm focuses on success and gets results. Let us help you navigate your legal challenges. Call 973-261-6254 or send us an email. We're here for you and we're here when you need us.

Map and Directions

The Law Offices of Smith & Doran, P.C.

Washington Street, Suite 302

Morristown, New Jersey 07960

Phone: 973-261-6254

Fax: 973-292-9168