CLASSIFICATION OF CRIMES IN NEW JERSEY
In New Jersey, crimes are classified as either Crimes (indictable offenses),or disorderly person offenses, and petty disorderly person offenses. An indictable offense in New Jersey is the equivalent of a felony in other states, because the sentence for any indictable offense is at least one year in prison. Disorderly person offenses and petty disorderly person offenses are the equivalent of misdemeanors in other states.
Indictable crimes in New Jersey mean those that a Grand Jury must review and decide if there is enough evidence to support a charge for the crime alleged. Crimes are classified based upon their seriousness, with First Degree Crimes being the most serious (Murder, Manslaughter, Rape, etc...), and Fourth Degree Crimes being the least serious Crimes. Disorderly and Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses are not as serious as Crimes. Crimes are heard before the Superior Court, and Disorderly an Petty Disorderly Offenses are herd before the local Municipal Court. Disorderly and Petty Disorderly Offenses are typically cases such as shoplifting or theft, if the amount is below $200.00, Simple Assault, Trespass, Minor drug Offenses, etc...
Possible Punishment for Crimes
Under New Jersey law, the Degree of th Crime determines the possible sentence that may be imposed.
First Degree Crimes
Jail of between 10 and 20 years or between 20, 25 or 30 years and life for certain crimes, such as murder, as well as a fine up to $200,000.
Second Degree Crimes
Jail of between 5 and 10 years and a fine up to $150,000.
Third Degree Crimes
Jail of between 3 and 5 years and a fine up to $15,000.
Fourth Degree Crimes
Jail up to eighteen months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
*in some cases these sentences can be extended
Disorderly and Petty Disorderly Offenses
Jail up to 6 months in the case of a disorderly persons offense or 30 days in the case of a petty disorderly persons offense, as well as fines.
A conviction for either a Crime or a Disorderly Persons Offense becomes part of your Criminal Record and can affect many aspects of your life, from employment and housing, to child custody and visitation and/or the possibility of DYFS being involved in your life.
If you're charged with an criminal offense, whether it's a Crime or Disorderly Persons Offense: 1. Seek at least a consultation with an experienced criminal attorney; 2. Do not speak with the police or give any statement - no matter what they say or promise - until you have spoken to an attorney.
All the Best
Randy C. Redden