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Criminal Defense Representation
In the state of New Jersey, crimes are not categorized as felonies and misdemeanors, but rather as indictable crimes, disorderly person’s offenses and petty disorderly person’s offenses. Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses equate to misdemeanor charges in other states, because they are less serious in nature, and are punishable by less than one year in jail.
The vast majority of “criminal” cases heard in New Jersey each year are Disorderly Persons Offenses, and are charged under NJSA 2C:1-4. These cases are not considered a crime; however, a disorderly persons conviction will still give you a criminal record. Disorderly persons cases are handled in the Municipal Court in the town where the offense occurred. A defendant is not entitled to a Grand Jury or a jury trial for a disorderly persons offense.
PENALTIES FOR A DISORDERLY PERSONS OFFENSE IN NEW JERSEY
The severity of the offense will determine whether or not it is considered a petty disorderly persons offense or a regular disorderly persons offense.
Petty disorderly persons offenses include disorderly conduct and harassment. For one of these offenses, you can serve up to 6 months in jail and face a fine of up to $500.
The more serious disorderly persons offenses include:
● Property theft or criminal mischief: less than $200 in damages or loss (NJSA 2C :17-3);
● Simple Assault; both parties were willingly fighting each other (NJSA 2C: 12-1);
● Shop lifting of more than $2 but less than $200 (NJSA 2C: 20-11c(4));
● Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana (NJSA 2C 5-10(a)(4)).
A regular disorderly offense also carries a sentence of up to 6 months in jail, but the fine can go up to as much as $1,000. Attached to these basic charges is the potential for community service, court costs, VCCB fines and a SNE fine. Additionally for drug violations the court could impose probation and even suspend or revoke a defendant’s driver’s license for up to 2 years. Keep in mind that losing your license has nothing to do with whether or not your disorderly person’s offense involved a vehicle.
Some long term consequences of having a disorderly person’s conviction on your record include:
● Immigration issues;
● Loss of employment for state employees, stockbrokers, doctors, nurses, attorneys, and pharmacists. Moreover, the latter could also lose their licenses to practice;
● Receiving a more severe sentence if convicted of future disorderly persons offenses or indictable crimes. The good news is, after waiting for 5 years, you are eligible to have an expungement and the matter will be cleared from your record. For Drug Offenders a program known as Conditional Discharge allows individuals charged with Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia to avoid conviction and as such a criminal record provided they meet certain requirements and successfully complete approximately one (1) year of probation.
For other non-drug related first time DP charges a program known as Conditional Dismissal is available. Entry into and successful completion of this program will lead to a dismissal of your criminal charges. Requirements for the program are that (1) you have not been previously convicted of any petty disorderly persons offense, disorderly persons offense or crime and (2) you have not previously participated in the conditional discharge, conditional dismissal, or PTI programs. Certain offenses are ineligible to be considered for the conditional dismissal program, such as offenses involving domestic violence or driving under the influence of alcohol. Municipal Court drug offenses are also excluded, as they are eligible for diversion under the conditional discharge statute.
WHY CHOOSE THE KEAVENEY LEGAL GROUP
It is important that you understand that the State is represented by the Prosecutor, an experienced attorney, whose job is to produce witnesses and evidence against you. He is not your lawyer. You also are entitled to experienced representation.
At the KEAVENEY LEGAL GROUP we have over 60 combined years of legal experience with successful outcomes. We analyze each client’s defenses carefully. We will file any necessary Motions needed, such as a Motion to Suppress or Motion to Dismiss in order to compel the prompt resolution of any pending charge. We are not afraid to try the case.
Our services are 24/7. We refuse no client’s phone calls as we understand the stress one faces in having charges pending. We accommodate our clients with both telephonic and in-person appointments to meet their schedules.
We have many years of Courtroom experience and have represented many satisfied clients saving them thousands of dollars in fines, avoiding incarceration, preventing a criminal record and saving licenses and other liberties. We service all of New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Our fees are reasonable and we have convenient payment plans.
The sooner your defense attorney becomes involved, the greater the likelihood of success. Call even if you believe the charges against you are minor or will be “dropped”. We offer a FREE PHONE CONSULTATION to answer all of your questions. Do not give up the chance to have your case defended properly by one of our experienced attorneys – too much is at stake!
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