Criminal law charges are divided into petty disorderly persons offenses, disorderly persons offenses and indictable crimes (felonies in other states). Indictable crimes are those whose sentences carry at least one-year prison term. The former two are like misdemeanors in other states.
NJ law groups indictable crimes into four degrees. The term ‘indictable’ implies that a grand jury must be convened to review the facts of the case and hence decide whether sufficient evidence exists to support formal charges. The four degrees of law are as follows:
* First degree crimes – rape, manslaughter and murder
* Second degree crimes – aggravated arson, sex crimes, drug crimes, white collar crimes, kidnapping and burglary
* Third degree crimes – possession of controlled, dangerous substances, some DUI/DWI offenses, arson and certain robbery offenses
* Fourth degree crimes – certain robbery offenses, certain DUI/DWI offenses, forgery, stalking
Some crimes move up the scale if they are repeat offenses. For example, stalking as a first-time offense is 4th degree, but a second conviction against that same victim moves to 3rd degree.
Given the many classes and types of criminal offenses, there are a variety of penalties and charges which can be imposed. The penalty for a given crime is also dependent on factors other than the crime. For example, a non-citizen of the United States risks deportation on conviction for a petty disorderly persons offense. Convictions can also prevent you from attaining U.S. citizenship.
Other criminal offenses have different penalties depending on the particular merits of each case. At Zapicchi & Liller, we have successfully litigated a number of criminal offenses in Mercer County, NJ, Monmouth County, NJ, and Burlington County, NJ, which include:
furnishing alcohol to a minor
obstruction of justice
receiving/handling stolen property
We recommend that you visit our offices near Bordentown, NJ, and Hamilton Township, NJ, for a consultation and speak to our criminal defense attorneys prior to your first appearance in court. Our dedicated attorneys will sit with you to carefully review all evidence in which the State bases its case on to ensure that your rights were not violated, filing motions to suppress evidence in a manner that violated your rights.