New Jersey Felony & Misdemeanors
New Jersey Crimes and Disorderly Persons Offenses
In Other States, These Are Known As Felonies and Misdemeanors.
A Criminal Offense is an act that has been committed in violation of public law and which is punishable by law. Lawyers, judges, and police officers in the state of New Jersey categorize crimes based on the severity or degree of the crime committed. Criminal offenses can be categorized as Indictable Crimes (known in other states as felonies) or Disorderly Persons Offenses (known in other states as misdemeanors). Indictable Crimes are the most serious criminal offenses while Disorderly Persons Offenses are less serious. There are more protections for defendants built into the law system for more serious crimes because the punishments are much more severe.
A crime is a serious criminal offense punishable by more than one year in jail and fines of more than $1,000. Crimes include;
- serious drug offenses
Defendants charged with a crime have the right to have the charges against them presented to a Grand Jury and the right to have their case tried before a Jury. Defendants who cannot afford an attorney are entitled to a court-appointed attorney to represent them. Possible consequences of a conviction include loss of the right to vote, serve on juries, difficulty obtaining a professional license or being elected to public office, and the loss of public housing and educational benefits. An Indictable Crime (felony) is a serious offense that has long-lasting effects. Crimes range from 4th Degree (punishable by up to 18 months in state prison), 3rd Degree (punishable by up to 5 years in state prison), 2nd Degree (punishable by up to 10 years in state prison) and 1st Degree (punishable by up to life in prison). If you are accused of an Indictable Offense, your best bet is to obtain a highly experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in New Jersey.
Disorderly Persons Offenses and Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses
A Disorderly Persons Offense (known as a misdemeanor in other states) results in an imposition or punishment of up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A Petty Disorderly Persons Offense is punishable by up to 30 days in county jail and a fine of up to $500. Examples of Disorderly Persons and Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses include;
- petty theft
- disorderly conduct
- simple assault
Unlike a crime, there is no right to a grand jury or to a trial by jury. There is only the right to a court-appointed attorney a court is contemplating jail or some other consequence of magnitude. If you have been convicted of a Disorderly Persons Offense you can still vote, serve in the military, serve on juries, and obtain a professional license.