PRACTICE
Criminal

CRIMINAL CASES

Criminal Cases consist of matters where an individual (or other legal entity, such as a corporation) is charged with a violation of the criminal law. In New Jersey, criminal cases are divided into four separate categories, called “degrees”. First Degree crimes are the most serious and a conviction results in the imposition of the most serious penalties. An example of a First Degree crime would be armed robbery. When convicting a defendant for armed robbery, a Court can impose a sentence of up to twenty years in prison. Second Degree crimes are slightly less serious and a conviction results in the imposition of less serious penalties. An example of a Second Degree crime would be unarmed robbery. When convicting a defendant for unarmed robbery, a Court can impose a sentence of up to ten years in prison. Third Degree crimes are less serious and a conviction results in the imposition of less serious penalties. An example of a Third Degree crime would be the burglary of a residence. When convicting a defendant for the burglary of a residence, a Court can impose a sentence of up to five years in prison. Fourth Degree crimes are the least serious and a conviction results in the imposition of the least serious penalties. An example of a Fourth Degree crime would be minor theft. When convicting a defendant for minor theft, a Court can impose a sentence of up to eighteen months in prison. In addition to incarceration, upon conviction, a Court can impose financial and other penalties which vary in accordance with the degree of crime and the nature of the offense. Under New Jersey law, conviction for certain crimes also requires the imposition of mandatory parole ineligibility, community supervision for life, and other very serious consequences.

Municipal

MUNICIPAL COURT CASES

In New Jersey, Municipal Courts handle a variety of matters, including disorderly persons offenses, petty disorderly persons offenses, municipal ordinance violations, and motor vehicle offenses. Disorderly persons offenses are violations of the criminal law including matters such as simple assault and possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana. Disorderly persons offenses are punishable by fines of up to $1,000.00 and by incarceration in the county jail for up to 180 days. Petty disorderly persons offenses are minor violations of the criminal law and include cases such as fighting. Petty disorderly persons offenses are punishable by fines of up to $500.00 and by incarceration in the county jail for up to 90 days. Municipal ordinance violations are violations of local law and include matters such as failing to obtain construction permits. Punishments for municipal ordinance violations vary depending upon the municipality, but generally, are punishable by fines of up to $500.00 and by incarceration in the county jail for up to 90 days. Motor vehicle offenses range from the very serious (for example, driving while intoxicated) to the very minor (for example, parking ticket violations) and punishments vary depending on the seriousness of the offense. These days, however, most motor vehicle violations are punishable by substantial fines, loss of driving privileges for substantial periods of time, and other very serious consequences.