Cape May Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being charged with a crime is always a stressful and frightening experience.  As a defendant or the loved one of a defendant, your mind is probably racing with questions about what you can expect in the days to come: What am I being accused of? What are the penalties if I’m convicted?  Are there any defenses against my charges?  What are the consequences of having a criminal record?   It’s completely natural to feel scared, confused, and overwhelmed as you and your loved ones confront this legal challenge – but you don’t have to face the situation alone.

At the New Jersey Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers have over 45 years of combined experience representing clients facing misdemeanor and felony charges throughout Cape May County, including but not limited to Ocean City, Dennis Township, Wildwood, Woodbine, Sea Isle City, Avalon, and Stone Harbor.  Our legal team will counsel and guide you through each and every stage of the legal process, and will fight vigorously to protect your rights and liberties.

For a free and private consultation, call our law offices at (609) 616-4956 any time of day or evening.  You will not be charged any fees, and we will keep your information confidential.  Se habla español.

Types of Charges Our Defense Attorneys Handle

Our legal team has decades of experience handling a wide variety of criminal matters on behalf of adult and juvenile clients in the Cape May area.  Whether you are being charged with a crime for the first time or wish to fight an existing sentence or conviction by going through the criminal appeals process, we are ready to provide aggressive and strategic legal support.  No matter how complex or serious the allegations against you may be, we are prepared to investigate the evidence and advocate for justice on your behalf.

Our experienced attorneys handle both state and federal crimes, including but not limited to the following matters:

  • Drug Crimes
    • Cultivation
    • Manufacturing
    • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
    • Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID)
    • Simple Possession
    • Transportation

Cape May Criminal Defense Lawyer

We handle narcotics charges arising from a broad spectrum of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), including but not limited to marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy, ketamine, psilocybin mushrooms, and prescription drugs such as OxyContin (Oxycodone) and Xanax (Alprazolam).

  • DUI/DWI (Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Intoxicated)
    • Breathalyzer Refusal
    • DUI with Controlled Substances
    • DUI with Injury
    • DUI with Property Damage
    • High BAC
  • Theft Charges
    • Burglary
    • Carjacking (Automotive Theft)
    • Retail Theft (Shoplifting)
    • Robbery
    • Tax Fraud
  • Violent Crimes
    • Aggravated Assault
    • Assault by Auto
    • Domestic Violence Charges
    • Simple Assault

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New Jersey Criminal Penalties: Fines and Sentences

Most jurisdictions refer to criminal offenses as misdemeanors and felonies.  However, New Jersey uses slightly different terminology.  Misdemeanor-level crimes are referred to as “disorderly persons (DP) offenses” or “petty disorderly persons offenses,” while serious felonies are known as “indictable crimes.”

While the language may be different, the consequences of a conviction are the same: costly fines and restitution, lengthy jail or prison sentences, and the creation of a lasting criminal record which will remain accessible to potential employers, landlords, and lenders unless the offender is able to seal the record by obtaining an expungement.  Furthermore, certain persons may be subject to offense-specific penalties.  For example, a defendant convicted of DUI may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in his or her personal vehicle, while a defendant convicted of sex crimes may be required to register as a sex offender.

The state of New Jersey imposes the following maximum criminal penalties by offense grading:

  • Petty DP Offenses
    • Fine – $500
    • Sentence – 30 days
  • DP Offenses
    • Fine – $1,000
    • Sentence – 6 months
  • Fourth Degree Crimes
    • Fine – $10,000
    • Sentence – 18 months
  • Third Degree Crimes
    • Fine – $15,000
    • Sentence – 5 years
  • Second Degree Crimes
    • Fine – $150,000
    • Sentence – 10 years
  • First Degree Crimes
    • Fine – $200,000
    • Sentence – Life

Some offenses have the potential to be categorized in different ways depending on the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors.  Factors which can influence offense grading include the degree of injury to the victim, the use or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, the age of the victim, the defendant’s record of prior offenses, and whether a child was present during the commission of the alleged offense.  For example, aggravated assault has the potential to be categorized as an indictable crime of the second, third, or fourth degree in accordance with N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Cape May, or if one of your loved ones was arrested in Southern New Jersey, the penalties can be severe.  You could lose your career, your hard-earned reputation, and even your freedom itself.  When the stakes are this high, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advocate for your rights while fighting to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed.

Don’t wait until it’s already too late to take action: call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 today to schedule your free legal consultation.