Grading of Criminal Offenses
Union County Criminal Offense Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with a violation of the New Jersey Criminal Code, the severity of the penalties that may be imposed depends on the grade of the offense. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1 establishes the grading or classifications of offenses. In New Jersey, we do not use the terms misdemeanor and felony. Instead, a charge that involves exposure to six month or less of incarceration is referred to as a disorderly persons offense. Violations that carry longer periods of imprisonment are referred to as indictable offenses and they are graded in terms of severity as a first degree, second degree, third degree or fourth degree crime. If you are facing a criminal charge in Union County and are interested in assistance from an experienced criminal attorney, contact our Union NJ Office at 908-272-1700. Our lawyers defend violations throughout the region, including in Cranford, Union Township, Roselle Park, Elizabeth and Hillside. Attorneys are available 24/7 for free consultations at 908-272-1700.
Elizabeth NJ First, Second, Third & Fourth Degree Offenses
An indictable crime comes in four grades in accordance with NJ Law. First degree charges are the most severe and involve offenses like murder, drug trafficking of quantities in excess of five (5) ounces and armed robbery. Second degree crimes also involve significant prison sentences and fines and include eluding a police officer, a certain person in possession of an illegal handgun, and distributing 5-25 pounds of marijuana. Third and fourth degree crimes are also felonies but can result in probation, rather than prison, in certain cases. Common offenses falling within these grades include possession of heroin, criminal sexual contact, or shoplifting over $200 in merchandise. The following penalties apply in indictable crime cases.
- First Degree Crimes. $250,000 fine and 10-20 years in prison.
- Second Degree Crimes. $150,000 fine and 5-10 years in prison.
- Third Degree Crimes. $15,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison.
- Fourth Degree Crimes. $10,000 fine and 18 months in prison.
The penalties set forth are the standard ones that apply under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1. There are many instances where the fines and jail time for a particular criminal offense are, however, enhanced under NJ Law. For example, a conviction for being the leader of a drug trafficking network carries a fine as high as $750,000 applies, along with life imprisonment with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years. Similar escalations apply throughout the criminal statutes.
Disorderly Persons Offenses in Union County Municipal Court
Although a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense is not considered a felony crime in this state, a conviction nevertheless creates a 2C record that shows up on a criminal background check. A conviction for simple assault, possession of drug paraphernalia or another offense falling within this grade also carries the potential for up to six (6) months in the county jail and fines and mandatory court assessments that can easily exceed $1,000.
Union Township NJ Criminal Attorneys Defending Charges Throughout Union County
It is imperative that you enlist the services of an experienced defense lawyer if you want to give yourself the best chance of sidestepping a conviction. We can provide a formidable option with eight attorneys who have been practicing in this area of law for over a combined 100 years. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is ready to assist you immediately in defending a charge in Linden, Springfield, Kenilworth, Mountainside, Garwood or another location in Union County. Call us for immediate assistance at 908-272-1700.