Archive

Archive for August, 2013

Understanding New Jersey Criminal Charges

August 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Image2013-08-05 22.54.06

WHAT IS A DISORDERLY PERSONS OFFENSE

Disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses are the most common variety of non-motor vehicle charge prosecuted in Municipal Court in NJ. If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, the most important thing you need to know is that a record of a resulting conviction shall show on a criminal background check. It is therefore extremely important that you retain an experienced NJ defense attorney to insure that your complaint is downgraded to a Municipal Ordinance or dismissed altogether. Our defense team possesses over 60 years of experience defending almost every type of disorderly persons charge in New Jersey and even includes two former Municipal Prosecutors. Our lawyers are familiar with how these cases need to be handled, having prosecuted these cases in over 20 NJ municipalities and defended literally 1000s of disorderly and petty disorderly charges. Make sure your complaint and/or arrest does not result in your being convicted, and contact a lawyer from our firm, the Law Offices of Benjamin G. Kelsen, Esq. LLC, for a complementary initial consultation anytime.

The most frequently encountered disorderly persons offenses in Municipal Court are:
1. Simple Assault
2. Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana
3. Drug Paraphernalia
4. Harassment
5. Shoplifting
6. Disorderly Conduct
7. Resisting Arrest
8. Bad Checks
9. Lewdness
10. Obstruction of Justice

Penalties If Convicted of these Charges

The penalties under New Jersey law for individuals convicted of a Petty Disorderly Persons Offense or regular Disorderly Persons Offense include a jail sentence of up to six (6) months. The Court may also impose a monetary fine of up to $1,000. Any conviction also carries mandatory assessments of $50 for the Victims of Crime Compensation Board (VCCB), $75 for the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund, and $33 in court costs. For additional detail concerning penalties, consult our page titled Disorderly Persons Offense Fines & Penalties.

Difference Between a “Crime” and Disorderly Persons Charge. The New Jersey code refers to violations of law in terms of “crime” or “offense”. Whenever the code uses the term offense, it is referring to a disorderly person or petty disorderly person charge. By contrast, a crime is an offense that is customarily defined as a felony in other states and involves exposure to six (6) months or more in possible incarceration in jail. An individual is entitled to have allegations of a crime presented to a grand jury, hence NJ’s reference to these offenses as Indictable. An individual arrested for a Disorderly Persons offense has no right to a grand jury as these are non-indictable charges punishable by a maximum period of imprisonment of six (6) months.

Statute of Limitation for Filing Disorderly Persons Cases. The statute of limitation for prosecution of disorderly persons offenses like simple assault, harassment, bad checks or the like is one (1) year. What this means is that a complaint alleging, for example, resisting arrest, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana or obstruction or drug paraphernalia, must be filed with the Court within a year of commission of the related offense or the complaint is barred from prosecution by virtue of it being out-of-time under the law of New Jersey.

Expungement of Disorderly Person Convictions. A person who has been convicted of a disorderly or petty disorderly persons offense may seek expungement five (5) years following conviction or completion of probation and payment of fines, whichever is later. Eligibility to have a petty or disorderly persons offense expunged is limited to individuals with no more than three (3) convictions of this nature and persons who have never been convicted of a “crime”.

Diversion Programs for these Offenses. A program referred to as Conditional Discharge allows individuals charged with Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia to avoid conviction provided they meet certain requirements and successfully complete approximately one (1) year of probation. Pretrial Intervention is presently unavailable in Municipal Court as a means of diverting and/or avoiding conviction for disorderly persons offenses.

If you would like more information about disorderly persons charges, one of our attorneys would be happy to assist you. Our lawyers are always eager to assist individuals in need of our assistance and initial consultations are always free of charge. Don’t make a decision in the dark if you have been charged with a disorderly persons complaint in Bergen County, Passaic County, Monmouth County, Union County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Hudson County, Essex County, Morris County, Mercer County or elsewhere in NJ. The assistance you need from a knowledgeable attorney is just a telephone call away at 1-800-380-5591.

What is an Indictable Criminal Charges

A category of crimes that can have a particularly significant effect on a persons life are indictable offenses. Charges of this nature require the experience of a seasoned attorney. If you were arrested on allegations of an indictable offense, the defense lawyers at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall, have the know how and expertise you need. Do not hesitate to contact us if you are the subject of an indictable charge in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Hudson County, Morris County, Union County, Mercer County or elsewhere in NJ.

Grand Jury Presentation
When a criminal complaint alleges a First Degree, Second Degree, Third Degree or Fourth Degree crime, the offense is indictable in nature. What this means is that a defendant possesses an absolute right to have his or her charge presented to a grand jury when they have been issued a criminal complaint for this type of charge. A grand jury is a panel of 23 citizens that decides whether there is sufficient evidence for the state to prosecute an individual for a particular indictable offense.

Experienced & Aggressive Defense Attorneys

With over 13 years handling indictable charges, we have handled numerous Superior Court cases. This experience translates into a thorough understanding of the court system and law. It also affords us the wisdom to know when a case should be aggressively defended through trial or finessed in order to arrive at the absolute best outcome for our client. We handle a wide variety of crimes to which an individual may be indicted including:

1. Possession and Distribution of Controlled Dangerous Substance (“CDS”)
2. Eluding
3. Robbery
4. Aggravated Assault
5. Prescription Drug Fraud
6. Burglary
7. Credit Card Fraud
8. Firearm & Weapons Charges
9. Conspiracy
10. Penalties for Indictable Offenses

Grading of indictable charges is by “degree”, with First Degree being the most serious and Fourth Degree the least. The Fines and Jail Exposure escalate with the seriousness of the related criminal charges. A First Degree crime carries 10-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. A Second or Third Degree charge involves jail of 5-10 years and 0-5 years, and fines of $150,000 and $15,000, respectively. A Fourth Degree crime has a jail range of 0 to 18 months and a fine that can reach $10,000.

Don’t rely on guess work with your future, speak to an attorney without obligation now at 1-800-380-5591 about your Bergen County, Passaic County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, Ocean County, Morris County, Hudson County, Essex County, Mercer County or Burlington County, case. A lawyer will address your concerns and provide you with appropriate guidance you need to avoid conviction.

 

Advertisements