Mount Holly, NJ Criminal Defense Attorney

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    Criminal charges are serious business. Upon conviction, you could face financial penalties, jail time, or prison sentences, and, in the case of felonies, the curtailing of some of your rights as a United States citizen. Because the consequences of a criminal conviction are so serious, many people are not sure what they should do, how to react, or where to turn once they are aware that they are being prosecuted for a crime.

    If you or a loved one is currently charged with a crime in or around Mount Holly, our lawyers are ready to help you out. We have lots of experience defending clients accused of crimes, and we are more than ready to lend or wealth of knowledge to fighting for your rights and defending you in court.

    For a free, totally confidential analysis of your case, call our criminal defense attorneys from The Law Offices of John J. Zarych at the number (609) 616-4956.

    Levels of Criminal Offenses in Mount Holly, NJ

    New Jersey uses a tiered system for criminal offenses based on how serious they are considered under the law. This system is similar to what other states use, but there are some parts of it that are particular to NJ. In particular, New Jersey uses different names for its levels of offenses than other states do. This can create confusion for some people, as it may create ambiguity as to how serious of a crime a defendant is being charged with. Fortunately, our criminal defense attorneys have broken down each level of criminal offense in New Jersey so that you can have a better picture of the criminal process.

    Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses

    New Jersey calls the lowest level of criminal offenses “petty disorderly persons offenses.” These offenses are minor infractions that, in other jurisdictions, may not even be considered misdemeanors. Under N.J.S.A. § 2:C1-4(b), petty disorderly persons offenses are not even considered “crimes”. While this may sound like a benefit – you are not technically being accused of a crime – there are some significant drawbacks to that categorization. For example, since you are not being charged with a crime, you do not get a right to indictment by a grand jury, nor do you get the right to a jury trial. However, this also means that there are no “legal disadvantages” for petty disorderly offenses.

    The penalties for petty offenses include up to 30 days in jail or fines of up to a maximum of $500.

    Disorderly Persons Offenses

    The next step up from petty disorderly persons offenses is disorderly persons offenses. These crimes generally fall under the category of “misdemeanors” in other states or jurisdictions. Disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey include conduct such as possessing drug paraphernalia, lewdness, simple assault, and shoplifting of items of low value.

    Disorderly persons offenses are discussed in N.J.S.A § 2C:1-4(b), and are also not considered crimes under the NJ Constitution and thus have the same benefits and drawbacks petty disorderly persons offenses have.

    Indictable Offenses in NJ

    Indictable crimes are much more serious than either kind of disorderly persons offense. N.J.S.A. § 2C:1-4(a) defines indictable offenses as all offenses with a possible prison sentence of greater than six months.

    This category contains what in other jurisdictions would be more serious misdemeanors as well as felonies. For example, murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, and armed robbery are all considered indictable crimes in New Jersey. Furthermore, indictable offenses are broken down into degrees. There are first, second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses under New Jersey law.

    First-Degree Indictable Offenses

    First-degree indictable crimes are the most serious crimes you can be charged with. Murder, rape, kidnapping, and drug trafficking all fall under this category.

    Second-Degree Indictable Offenses

    Second-degree indictable offenses are a step lower. Included in this tier are crimes such as robbery, sexual assault, and unlawful possession of handguns.

    Third-Degree Indictable Offenses

    The next tier is third-degree indictable offenses, which include burglary, unlawfully possessing rifles or shotguns, and possession of certain hard drugs like heroin or cocaine.

    Fourth-Degree Indictable Offenses

    Fourth-degree indictable offenses occupy the lowest level of seriousness out of the indictable offenses and include conduct like shoplifting of things with a value of anywhere of at least $200 but under $500, harassment, and restraining order violations.

    How Our Mount Holly, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You

    No matter what level of offense you have been charged in Mount Holly, our lawyers can do a number of things to help you out.

    One of the most important things our lawyers can do for you right from the start is protect your rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution. If you are arrested for a crime and undergo a custodial interrogation in a police station, law enforcement may try to get you to say as much as you can as quickly as possible so they can get some evidence to go off of. Do not do this. Instead, state that you would like an attorney to be present, and our lawyers can be there to help you out, no matter where or when.

    Another important thing that our lawyers can do is collect evidence that is beneficial to your case and also block evidence that should not be allowed in court. For example, if the police were overzealous in getting evidence and did not do so in a legal way, our lawyers can file a motion to suppress that evidence and make sure a jury does not see it.

    Call Our Mount Holly, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Now

    If you were charged with a crime, call our NJ criminal defense lawyers from The Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 to talk about your case.

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