Some of our more substantive work is done in the field of Post-Conviction Relief. In many instances, an individual may have pleaded guilty to a criminal offense without understanding the immigration consequences of doing so. In order for our attorneys to evaluate the viability of withdrawing a plea or reopening a case, it is essential that any prospective client obtain a transcript of the criminal proceedings.
What is a Transcript?
A transcript is a transcription, or written rendering, of what was said during a hearing. In almost all cases, every criminal proceeding in New Jersey, from the municipal court level up through Superior Court, is sound recorded. When you order a transcript, an audiotape of the hearing will be sent to a transcriber who will listen to the audiotape and type exactly what was said during the hearing.
Why is a transcript important?
A transcript is important in two senses: it reveals what was said and, equally important, also tells us what was not said. In some circumstances, the transcription will differ from an individual's recollection of the events. Once the individual sees the transcript, he or she may realize or remember things that maybe were forgotten or topics that were, in fact, addressed. We may learn through the transcript that a motion to the court may not be as viable as first thought. In other cases, the transcript will confirm that immigration status was not addressed during the hearing, which may bolster or potentially support a contention that the individual was not aware of the immigration consequences.
How to order a transcript of a criminal hearing in New Jersey
Municipal Court Matters
The defendant will normally have to contact the municipal court where the matter was heard. A request should be in writing and contain the following information:
- name of the defendant;
- complaint or summons number;
- date of arrest;
- date of court proceedings; and
- phone number and address of where the transcript should be mailed to.
One should, of course, call the specific municipal court to confirm what the procedure is.
Superior Court Matters
Similarly, in order to request a transcript of a hearing from Superior Court, the individual should contact the County Court where the matter was heard and try to get in touch with the Court Reporting Supervisor. The individual should also have the complaint number as well as court dates ready.
In both cases, whether the matter is out of Municipal or Superior Court, the transcription service will normally require a deposit. The transcriber will then charge a designated amount per page, which will be deducted from the deposit. If the actual amount for the transcript (which depends on its length) turns out to be more than what was deposited, the requestor will be billed for any additional fee. If, on the other hand, the fee is less than the deposit amount, the requestor will be refunded the difference.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and learned at least one new thing or tip that you may not have known. To keep informed about the latest developments in immigration law, please subscribe to our blog feed by clicking on the "Subscribe To This Blog's Feed" button on the left. It is important to understand that the above is only general information and not legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship nor should it be relied upon as legal advice. The law is extremely fact and circumstance sensitive. For an individual legal analysis of your specific legal case, please complete the "Case Evaluation" box to the right of the screen to get in touch with one of our attorneys.