Being charged with any type of crime is a serious matter. In addition to the possible criminal penalties you face, such as fines, court costs, and the potential for a jail sentence, your charges can have long-ranging impacts in other areas of your life. A conviction means a criminal record that follows you forever, potentially preventing you from obtaining jobs or housing, along with the damage to your relationships and to your reputation within the community. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Attorney Jordan B. Rickards represent clients charged with both misdemeanor and felony crimes. In New Jersey, these charges are classified somewhat differently than in other areas. The following provides some general information you need to stay well informed about your case.
Misdemeanor Crimes in New Jersey
In criminal law cases, misdemeanor crimes are generally of a less serious nature. Under Section 2C: 1a of the New Jersey Statutes, rather than using the term ‘misdemeanor,’ these types of crimes are classified as ‘disorderly persons offenses.’ This is a broad term used to describe various types of comparatively minor crimes, which include:
- Certain types of petty thefts, such as shoplifting, larceny, and receiving stolen property;
- Possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia;
- Public intoxication and DUI, provided no injuries were involved;
- Simple assault and harassment;
- Disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice.
These types of charges are generally filed in the municipal courts. Make no mistake, though; while disorderly persons offenses are relatively minor, the penalties can still be severe. In addition to leaving you with a permanent criminal record, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect you against a conviction that could result in fines up to $1,000 and up to a six-month jail sentence.
New Jersey Indictable Offenses
In New Jersey, felony charges are referred to as ‘indictable offenses’, which are generally filed with the Criminal Division of the N.J. Superior Court. These types of crimes include:
- First degree offenses, such as manslaughter, homicide, and rape;
- Second degree offenses, such as robbery, assault and battery, and more serious drug charges;
- Third degree offenses, such as aggravated assault, possession of a controlled substance, and burglary;
- Fourth degree offenses, such as stalking, fraud or forgery, and more minor crimes in which there are aggravating circumstance involved.
Depending on the type of indictable offense and the circumstances involved, you could be facing fines up to $10,000 or more and anywhere from a five to 20-year or more prison sentence. As the circumstances surrounding these offenses are more serious than with disorderly persons charges, the procedures involved with them are more complex, as well.
With indictable offenses, you may be immediately stopped and detained by police, or a warrant may be issued for your arrest. In either case, you will need a experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to represent you at arraignment, to appear on your behalf at bail or bond hearings, and to gather evidence needed to defend you in court. In some cases, we may be able to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney for reduced charges or alternative sentencing. In the event of a conviction, you have the right to appeal your case.
Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney is Here to Help
At Law Office Of Jordan B. Rickards, we act as a strong legal advocate on your behalf, providing the aggressive representation needed when you face any type of criminal charges. The best defense begins early in your case. With so much on the line, reach out and contact our New Jersey criminal defense attorney today and request a free consultation to see how we can help you.