Indictable offenses in New Jersey, also known as felonies in other states, are crimes that require a prison sentence of at least one year after conviction. These crimes, such as murder, arson, sex crimes, and robbery, among others, are the most severe crimes one might commit, and they all have different levels of severity with corresponding punishments. In this article, we at the Law Office of Zapicchi & Liller LLP will give you a brief overview of indictables in NJ, including the degrees of indictable offenses, the criminal statute of limitations, and the different sentences for each.
Degrees & Sentences of Indictment
New Jersey indictables are classified by four degrees. Their severity is listed in descending order below:
- First-Degree: These are the most serious offenses a citizen may commit in the state. They include murder, rape, and manslaughter.
- Judges can impose a standard sentence of 10 to 20 years, or between 20, 25, 30 years, and life. The court may fine the convicted person a maximum of $200,000.
- Second-Degree: These include aggravated arson, burglary, sex crimes, drug crimes, kidnapping, and white-collar crimes.
- Convictions in this category can necessitate a sentence of 5 to 10 years and a fine up to $150,000.
- Third-Degree: This category consists of some DUI offenses, some robbery crimes, arson, and possession of a controlled substance.
- A court can order a 3- to a 5-year prison sentence and fines up to $15,000 for those convicted at this level.
- Fourth-Degree: These are the least severe indictable offenses. Crimes include forgery, some DUI and robbery offenses, and stalking.
- A defendant convicted at this level faces from 12 to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
These degrees and their corresponding crimes refer to first offenses only. Any subsequent convictions for the same offense will usually be considered a more severe degree for individual perpetrators. New Jersey law dictates that there should be an “ordinary term” for each degree, as listed above. However, judges can extend sentences for certain crimes (e.g., 20 years to life for a murder charge), impose minimum penalties, or allow for indicted individuals to serve all or a part of their sentences on probation.
Even though indictable crimes are the most serious crimes, there is still a statute of limitations for many of them, meaning that the state has a certain period to open a criminal case before it cannot be brought to court. Although for some of the more serious crimes, this is not a concern.
Below is a summary of the statutes of limitations for indictable offenses:
- There is no statute of limitations for severe crimes like murder and manslaughter, sexual assault, acts of terrorism, widespread damage, or injury.
- Bribery of a government official, official misconduct, related offenses (7 years)
- Other felony offenses (5 years)
- Criminal sexual contact or endangering the welfare of a child with an under-18 victim (whichever is later: within 5 years after the victim turns 18 or 2 years of crime discovery by the victim)
An indictable crime can seriously affect your life, as a conviction becomes part of your permanent record and can make it challenging to get a job or an apartment and eliminates your voting, gun, and professional license rights. Additionally, If you were convicted of a prior felony, a harsher sentence may be imposed. An experienced criminal defense lawyer should always be consulted to help reduce sentences and make plea deals. If you need a defense attorney, contact the Law Office of Zapicchi & Liller LLP before it is too late!
In addition to indictable offense representation, if you require a speeding ticket lawyer in Monmouth County, NJ, or a DWI/DUI lawyer in Mercer County, NJ, call the Law Office of Zapicchi & Liller LLP today!