What Are The Differences Between Misdemeanor And Felony Charges?

New Jersey is different from many other states in characterizing crimes. First, New Jersey does not use the traditional terms of felonies and misdemeanors to classify their crimes. Instead, New Jersey uses indictable crimes to classify felonies. New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1 sets forth the degree of crimes.

Degrees Of Crimes In New Jersey

There are four levels of indictable crimes in New Jersey:

  •  First-degree crimes which include sexual assault and murder amongst others. These crimes carry a sentence between 10 and 20 years in state prison. The fine for these crimes are up to $200,000;
  • Second-degree crimes which carry a sentence between 5 to 10 years in state prison. The fine for these crimes are up to $150,000.  These crimes include burglary, certain drug crimes, certain sexual assaults and robberies, amongst others;
  • Third-degree crimes which carry a sentence for up to five years in state prison. The fine for these crimes are up to $15,000. These crimes include many drug crimes, thefts and burglaries, amongst others; and
  • Fourth degree crimes which carry a sentence up to 18 months in state prison. The fine for these crimes can be up to $10,000. These crimes include certain thefts and stalking amongst others.

In New Jersey we do not use misdemeanor terms but rather disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly for persons. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-8 sets forth the definition of disorderly persons offenses. A defendant may be fined up to $1,000 &/or incarcerated for up to six months in the county jail.

In regards to a Petty disorderly person’s offense, the county jail sentence cannot exceed 30 days. Typical disorderly persons offenses are minor drug offenses such as:

  • N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)4 which prohibits the possession of 50g or less of marijuana or 5g of hashish;
  • or N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15 possession or consumption of alcohol in a public place or motor vehicle by a person under legal age, or shoplifting.

Because criminal charges can affect a person’s ability to hold a driver’s license, a professional license, the ability to receive a scholarship for college, can affect one’s immigration status in United States with the immigration naturalization service, and be a serious detriment to get a good job it is important to contact the Aiello, Harris, Tunnero and Schiffman. We have handled thousands of cases from minor petty disorderly persons offenses to First Degree Indictable Crimes. We have former prosecutors who used to represent the State and now they defend you. It is also better to hire a larger law firm with many attorneys who have the resources to fight for your rights. If you have been charged with a crime, contact our attorneys 24 hours a day seven days a week. call our office at  (908) 561-5577 or contact us online

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