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Being accused of a crime can come with several critical consequences. Even though an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the criminal allegations could smear his or her reputation severely. Furthermore, a conviction for a crime in a New Jersey federal court could mean jail or prison time, probation, or heavy fines. In addition to that, conviction of a crime in Jersey City can leave you with a criminal record that trails you for the rest of your life. This means that living the life you once lived even after you’ve fully served your sentence can be quite difficult. Having a criminal record leaves you with a stigma – which can make it difficult to securegainful employment, find a house, or even be considered for government assistance.
The State of New Jersey, like every other state in the United States of America, takes criminal charges seriously. Hence, it harshly prosecutes crime-related matters and employs all resources at its disposal to convict accused persons. This is why attempting to handle a criminal case without the service of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be a heinous task.
NJ’S CLASSIFICATION OF CRIMINAL OFFENSES.
The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice lists a number of offenses, which are classified based on their severity. According to the Code, the categories of these offenses are:
- First-degree offense: Offenses in this category include, but are not limited to, manslaughter, murder, and aggravated sexual assault. A conviction for this offense may attract between 10 to 20 years in prison.
- Second-degree offense:Offenses in this category include, but are not limited to, robbery, sexual assault, and burglary. Penalties upon conviction for a second-degree crime ranges between 5 and 10 years in prison.
- Third-degree offense: Third-degree offenses include, but are not limited to, terroristic threats, violence-inciting comments, unlawful possession of firearms, andshoplifting any item valued between $501 and $74,999. A convicted personforthe commission of a third-degree offense could face between 3 and 5 years in prison.
- Fourth-degreeoffense: In this category, offenses include, but are not limited to, crimes such as shoplifting items valued between $200 and $500, criminal mischief (resulting in monetary losses ranging from $501 to $1,999), and cyber-harassment. Upon conviction,a person may face up to 18 months in jail.
Other categories of offenses under this Code include:
- Disorderly person’s offense: Crimes under this category, include, but are not limited to, criminal mischief (resulting in monetary loss of up to $500 or less), simple assault, and shoplifting (for items worth less than $200). For any of these offenses, a convicted person faces up to 6 months in jail.
- Petty disorderly person’s offense:Crimes in this category include, but are not limited to, simple assault (in cases where individuals consensually enter into a fight), disorderly conduct, and harassment. If convicted, the person could spend up to 30 days in jail.
WHAT ARE THE PROCESSES INVOLVED INCHARGING A PERSON WITH A CRIME IN NEW JERSEY?
In New Jersey’s criminal justice system, accusing an individualfor the commission of a crime involves various processes. These processes are listed below:
The process of charging an individual for committing a crimein New Jersey begins when an official complaint is filed against the person. Such a complaint can either be filed by a citizen or law enforcement on behalf of the State. The complaint is the document stating the specific reason the individual is being charged and which particularsection of the law they are alleged to have violated.
Depending on the circumstances, an accused person could be arrested by law enforcement at the scene of the crime or based on an arrest warrant issued in New Jersey.
- First Appearance
After law enforcement arrests the accused person, the accused will be subsequently scheduled for their first appearance in court. The judge,during the ensuing proceeding, may determine conditions for the defendant’s pretrial release (if eligible), order pretrial detention (ifnecessary), or set necessary bail conditions for the accused.
Before the trial begins, the accused person is required by the laws of New Jersey to appear for an official arrangement, where they are informed of the formal charges levelled against them. During the arraignment, the accused may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads guilty of the alleged offense, a presentencing investigation may be commenced before penalties are imposed in accordance with the laws of New Jersey.
- Plea Bargain
Before the commencement of the actual trial, the prosecuting counsel and the defense attorney may enter into plea negotiations. During this phase of the process, the accused, now the defendant, could plead guilty of the allegationsin exchange for a lesser charge or reduced sentence.
If the case proceeds to trial, it will be heard by either a judge or jury. During this stage, the prosecuting lawyer must be able to prove to the court beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused committed the alleged crime. At the same time, the defense attorney representing the defendant may challenge the prosecuting counsel’s submission and evidence to convince the court that the defendant is innocent of the allegations.
WHY CHOOSE US FOR YOUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE CASES IN NEW JERSEY?
When you hire NJ-Legal in Jersey City for your criminal defense cases, you can count on our devoted team of experienced criminal defense attorneys to aggressively fight for the most favorable resolution on your behalf. Our firm has attorneys with decades of experience in handling personal injury and criminal defense cases.Our attorneys provide legal defense for clients across New Jersey for various crimes, including sex crimes, white collar crimes, identity theft, aggravated assault, and drug crimes – including importation, cultivation, trafficking, smuggling, sale and distribution of narcotics, DUI/DWI, juvenile crimes, theft crimes, and traffic violations.
You can call us and request a free consultation with our criminal defense attorney in New Jersey – day or night. Our criminal justice attorneys are reputable and well respected in the legal community of New Jersey. Our attorneys understand the consequences of a criminal case on your name, so they work hard not just to hurriedly get you a plea deal or coerce you to accept one, but to fight for a full dismissal and expungement.In our firm, we ensure to keep you updated throughout your case,so you can personally make the best decisions.