What is the Possibility of Having My Criminal Charge Reduced?


Facing criminal charges in New Jersey can be devastating, but under the right circumstances, you may be able to negotiate your way out of the some of the harshest potential penalties. A skilled criminal defense attorney, or a set of facts that are particularly favorable to you, can motivate a prosecutor to offer you a plea deal or to downgrade the charges filed against you, sometimes reducing the potential consequences that you face dramatically. The following article explores the various paths to downgraded criminal charges in New Jersey. Please feel free to contact an experienced Hudson County criminal defense lawyer at our firm to learn more about your whether you may be able to obtain downgraded charges or a plea deal based on the unique circumstances of your case. You can reach our local Jersey City offices by calling (201) 793-8018 anytime.

Getting Charges Reduced Through a Plea Agreement in Hudson County Court

Prosecutors may file charges against you that they are later willing to reduce to lesser charges through what is called a plea agreement. If a prosecutor discovers that they may face difficulty proving the original charges filed against you, they may be willing to offer you a deal. For example, if one of the key officers who investigated you for a crime moves out of the country or is otherwise unavailable to testify, if it turns out that a critical eyewitness failed to provide a good address or contact information, or if your attorney or their investigator uncovers facts that undermine the prosecution’s theory of the case, these situations can give your lawyer leverage when negotiating for downgraded charges.

In a plea deal, you typically agree to plead guilty to one or more criminal charges in exchange for the prosecutor either amending the complaint or information filed against you to include less serious charges and dismissing the original charges. The prosecutor may also offer you more lenient terms of probation or incarceration in connection with the original charges. A prosecutor may also agree to offer you a plea deal if you want to accept responsibility for the crime you committed early in the proceedings, at your Pre-Indictment Conference, for example. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can examine all of the evidence in your case and provide you with a complete explanation of your options.

Downgrading Charges From Superior to Municipal Court in Jersey City, NJ

New Jersey criminal law classifies more serious crimes, similar to felonies in other jurisdictions, as “indictable offenses,” and less serious crimes as “disorderly persons offenses” that are similar to misdemeanor offenses in other states. Indictable offense proceedings are handled in Superior Court in the county where the alleged offense occurred. In Hudson County, indictable felony crimes are handled by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in Hudson County Superior Court in Jersey City. Disorderly persons offenses, and even lesser (typically non-criminal) offenses known as municipal ordinance violations, are handled in Municipal Court.

Your defense attorney may be able to negotiate the reduction of certain indictable offenses to disorderly persons offenses that carry much less severe penalties, and, if all your indictable offenses are reduced, your case may be transferred or “remanded” to from Superior Court to a lower Municipal Court. If the facts of your case are particularly favorable to you, or if your defense attorney is particularly skilled or experienced, you may even see your charges reduced to non-criminal municipal ordinance violations, some of the least serious offenses in New Jersey that do not result in a conviction on your criminal record.

Looking for a Hoboken Attorney to Fight for Reduced Criminal Charges

If you are seeking to downgrade and remand indictable criminal charges to Municipal Court, or want to avoid the harsh penalties associated with your charges, enlisting diligent defense counsel can increase your chances of obtaining such a favorable outcome considerably. To get more information about the criminal charges that are pending against you and what your legal options are, call our criminal defense firm now at (201) 793-8018. Consultations are always provided free of charge.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.