There are two categories of criminal matters under New Jersey state criminal laws:
- A more serious offense is called a “Crime” (what is generally referred to as a felony or indictable offense), and;
- A less serious offense is called a “Disorderly Persons Offense“ (what is generally referred to as a misdemeanor).
New Jersey Crimes – Criminal Offenses Overview
Under New Jersey Criminal Laws, indictable criminal offenses are categorized as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree charges. First and second degree crimes are considered to have a “presumption of imprisonment“. If you are found guilty of a first or second degree New Jersey criminal charge, you will be sent to prison.
Third and Fourth degree criminal charges do not have any presumption of imprisonment if you do not have any previous criminal convictions on your record. Any prior convictions you do have on your record will be considered and factored in to the sentencing process if you are found guilty of a third or fourth degree charge.
- First Degree – 1st Degree crimes are obviously the most serious criminal matters. Offenses in this category include murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape/sexual assault with penetration, and some other very serious charges. The penalties for conviction for first degree criminal charges are 10-20 years in state prison.
- Second Degree – 2nd degree crimes include sexual assault, aggravated assault with serious injury, kidnapping, robbery without a gun/unarmed robbery, endangering the welfare of a child, eluding police, computer pornography crimes, and the more serious drug charges. The penalties for conviction for a second degree criminal offense under New Jersey laws are typically 5-10 years in state prison.
- Third Degree – 3rd degree crimes include most drug charges, theft/shoplifting charges, property damage charges, burglary charges, and most assault charges. If you are found guilty of a third/3rd degree criminal offense in New Jersey, the range of penalties is from non-custodial probation (i.e., probation without jail time), to up to 5 years in prison. You can also get probationary sentences that may include jail time up almost 1 year.
- Fourth Degree – 4th degree crimes include some drug charges, theft/shoplifting charges, some sexual charges, assault charges, stalking, and a number of other charges. If you are found guilty of a fourth/4th degree criminal offense in NJ, the range of possible penalties is from non-custodial probation to up to 18 months in prison.
The more serious your charge, the more you need a top Certified Criminal Trial Attorney, an achievement which only a small number of lawyers in New Jersey have achieved.
When it’s you who is facing jail time, or any life changing penalty, ask yourself what it is worth to you to have the best chance to beat your case.
I represent people accused of Crimes in all New Jersey Criminal Courts, on charges ranging from first degree crimes such as major drug cases and even murder.
Call me immediately to find out what I can do to help. Don’t wait until you decide you aren’t happy with a public defender. If you want the best chance at the best possible result, call me as soon as possible to find out how I can help you fix this problem.