In New Jersey, all people convicted of a crime must go through a sentencing process that follows specific legal guidelines. The laws governing criminal sentencing in New Jersey are complicated and always changing. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your charges and the potential penalties you are facing.
There are five levels of criminal sentencing. Felonies range from first degree to fourth degree. In New Jersey, misdemeanors are called “disorderly persons offenses.”
- First degree crimes are the most serious. The punishment for first degree crimes is generally anywhere from 10 to 20 years in prison. Second degree crimes carry a possible five to 10 years of incarceration. Both first and second degree crimes require a minimum of 85 percent of jail time served before the defendant can be eligible for parole in NJ.
- Jail time is not mandated for Third and fourth degree criminal convictions. You can end up in jail for up to five years for a third degree crime, and up to one and a half years for a fourth degree crime, but a judge has the discretion to waive these sentences.
- Disorderly persons offenses can land you in jail. Depending on the offense, you can end up in jail for up to six months in NJ. You also can face a fine of up to $1,000.
- Aggravating and mitigating factors do play a huge role in sentencing. Aggravating factors are factors that suggest that a person will likely commit a crime again, or that the crime was extreme in nature. Mitigating factors suggest that the defendant will not commit the crime again, or that the crime may have been considered less serious for a number of reasons. Aggravating factors and mitigating factors can make the difference between second and third degree sentencing.
- It is possible to end up with consecutive jail sentences if you committed multiple crimes. NJ allows both concurrent and consecutive sentencing.
Regardless of what kind of crime you are being charged with, a good criminal defense attorney can make or break the next couple of years that lie ahead of you. A good criminal defense attorney can fight to get your penalties downgraded or dismissed. If you have been charged with a crime, call experienced criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty Law for a consultation about your charges.