When you are charged with a crime in the state of New Jersey, you will either be charged with an indictable offense or a disorderly persons offense. And while both should be taken seriously, they each carry a separate set of penalties. Read on to discover the difference between an indictable offense and a disorderly persons offense and how a seasoned Morristown criminal defense lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help you fight against such accusations.
What is considered an indictable offense charge in the state of New Jersey?
First of all, the state of New Jersey does not use the term “felony.” Instead, these serious crimes are referred to as indictable offenses. Indictable offenses may range from first-degree to fourth-degree crimes, but nonetheless, they are usually punishable by a jail sentence and fines. Examples read as follows:
- First-degree indictable offense (i.e., murder, aggravated sexual assault, drug trafficking, etc):
- A jail sentence anywhere between 10 years to life.
- A fine of up to $200,000.
- Second-degree indictable offense (i.e., sexual assault, unlawful possession of a handgun, robbery, etc):
- A jail sentence anywhere between five to 10 years.
- A fine of up to $150,000.
- Third-degree indictable offense (i.e., burglary, credit card fraud, shoplifting or theft of property worth more than $500, etc):
- A jail sentence anywhere between three to five years, a court-ordered diversionary program, or court-ordered probation.
- A fine of up to $15,000.
- Fourth-degree indictable offense (i.e., harassment, restraining order violations, shoplifting or theft of property worth between $200 and $500, etc):
- A jail sentence of up to 18 months, a court-ordered diversionary program, or court-ordered probation.
- A fine of up to $10,000.
What is considered a disorderly persons offense in the state of New Jersey?
In addition, the state of New Jersey does not use the term “misdemeanor.” Instead, these offenses are referred to as disorderly persons offenses. They can be further broken up into disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses, which both come with potential jail time and fines. Examples read as follows:
- Disorderly persons offense (creating a public disturbance, carrying a small amount of marijuana, shoplifting or theft of property less than $200, etc):
- A jail sentence of up to six months.
- A fine of up to $1,000.
- Petty disorderly persons offense (disorderly conduct, trespassing, etc):
- A jail sentence of up to 30 days.
- A fine of up to $500.
And while these offenses will appear on your criminal record, they have the potential to be expunged later on.
Nevertheless, regardless of which offense you are accused of, you must not stand idly by. Instead, you must immediately retain legal representation from a skilled Morristown criminal defense lawyer. We will work to reduce or altogether eliminate the potential penalties placed against you. Call to schedule your initial consultation with us today.