New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers
Criminal accusations are a serious matter and should not be taken lightly, regardless of the nature of the crime. If you have been charged with committing a crime in the state of New Jersey, you could be facing serious legal penalties, including but not limited to long periods of incarceration and costly fines. In the long term, having a criminal conviction in your history can present a huge obstacle to finding meaningful employment, a community in which to live, and even building social relationships.
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a crime, it is not in your best interests to attempt to defend yourself in court against a trained and aggressive prosecuting attorney. Level the playing field: call Young, Marr & Associates today. Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys have handled thousands of cases in over 20 years of practicing criminal law. Thanks to our decades of experience, in-depth knowledge, and a unique background working as prosecutors ourselves, our firm knows how to win client victories.
The New Jersey Criminal System
Every state handles the classification of criminal offenses differently. Unlike many states, New Jersey does not classify crimes as misdemeanors and felonies. However, while the exact terminology New Jersey uses may be different, that doesn’t lessen the severity of a conviction. Instead of grading crimes as felonies or misdemeanors, New Jersey labels offenses as being either disorderly person offenses, petty disorderly person offenses, or indictable crimes.
Disorderly Person Offenses and Petty DP Offenses
Disorderly person offenses and their less severe counterpart petty disorderly person offenses are the equivalent of misdemeanor offenses in other states. As the name suggests, a petty disorderly person (DP) offense is the least serious criminal charge still incurring jail time that an individual can face in the state of New Jersey. Disorderly conduct is a common example of a petty DP offense. The maximum penalties for a petty DP offense in New Jersey are:
- Sentence: up to 30 days in jail
- Fine: up to $500
A DP offense of the non-petty variety is a more serious matter, with more serious consequences in turn. Common examples of DP offenses include:
The maximum penalties for a DP offense in New Jersey are:
- Sentence: up to 6 months in jail
- Fine: up to $1,000
While DP offenses and petty DP offenses may be less significant than indictable crimes, they can still have negative ramifications that outlast the jail sentences and fines. A conviction of a DP offense can become a permanent addition to an individual’s criminal record, which will be apparent in background checks run by potential employers and even landlords — and an individual convicted of a DP or petty DP offense must wait five years before they can seek an expungement. For these reasons, retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical.
In New Jersey, indictable crimes are comparable to felonies in other states. New Jersey breaks down indictable crimes by degrees.
Examples of Indictable Crimes
- 4th Degree: Forgery, Stalking
- 3rd Degree: Arson, Simple Drug Possession
- 2nd Degree: Sex Crimes, Burglary, White Collar Crimes
- 1st Degree: Murder, Manslaughter, Rape
Maximum Penalties for Indictable Crimes in New Jersey
- 4th Degree Sentence: 18 months in prison
- 4th Degree Fine: up to $10,000
- 3rd Degree Sentence: up to five years
- 3rd Degree Fine: up to $15,000
- 2nd Degree Sentence: up to 10 years
- 2nd Degree Fine: up to $150,000
- 1st Degree Sentence: up to $200,000
- 1st Degree Fine: up to life in prison
As the fines and prison sentences demonstrate, indictable crimes are extremely serious offenses. In addition to the staggering fines and years or decades of hard incarceration, individuals convicted of indictable crimes in New Jersey may lose their right to vote and to carry firearms. If you are facing an indictable criminal charge, you need to retain an attorney immediately.
Drug charges are extremely prevalent across the United States. In 2008, over 40,000 drug arrests were made in New Jersey alone. But while criminal drug charges may be widespread, that doesn’t mean they are a trivial matter. In fact, depending on the details of a case (aggravating factors include intent to distribute, distribution to a pregnant woman, and being in close proximity to school grounds), a drug conviction in New Jersey can lead to huge fines and incarceration.
Illegal drugs are also called “scheduled” drugs, and are classified by a schedule number. The lower the number, the worse the drug is considered to be from a legal standpoint — meaning that Schedule I substances are often the mostly harshly prosecuted.
- Schedule I: Marijuana, Heroin, Hashish, PCP, LSD
- Schedule II: Cocaine, Opium, Meth
- Schedule III: Anabolic Steroids, Ketamine
If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, you stand to lose everything that’s important to you — but you don’t have to go it alone. Call our law offices today at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation, or contact us online.