Why You Need a Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorney in Your Corner
There is no substitute for working with a defense attorney who is local to the jurisdiction where you are facing charges. At William Proetta Criminal Law, our Middlesex County criminal defense attorneys can walk you through what to expect every step of the way. You can count on our seasoned defense team to:
- Independently investigate the underlying facts and circumstances of your charges so that we do not need to rely solely on evidence turned over by the prosecution
- Thoroughly review your case to identify all potential defense strategies that may be available to you
- File motions to exclude evidence that may have been unlawfully obtained by investigators or that is unreliable or irrelevant to the facts of your case
- Test the prosecution’s case by moving to reduce or dismiss your charges
- File applications on your behalf for your admission into diversionary programs, if eligible, that can allow you to avoid the consequences of a conviction
- Negotiate with prosecutors to seek a plea deal, where appropriate, that would avoid the most serious penalties of your charges
- Advocate on your behalf in court and at trial when you choose to contest your charges and assert your innocence
New Jersey Has Harsh Penalties for Criminal Convictions
In New Jersey, penalties for a criminal conviction vary depending on the grading of an offense. Offenses are typically graded into one of two categories: disorderly persons offenses, sometimes called misdemeanors, and indictable crimes, also known as felonies. Sentencing ranges for a criminal conviction in New Jersey include:
- Petty disorderly persons offense – Up to 30 days in jail, plus a maximum fine of $500
- Disorderly persons offense – Up to six months in jail, plus a maximum fine of $1,000
- Fourth-degree crime – Up to 18 months in prison, plus a maximum fine of $10,000
- Third-degree crime – Three to five years in prison, plus a maximum fine of $15,000
- Second-degree crime – Five to 10 years in prison, plus a maximum fine of $150,000
- First-degree crime – Typically 10 to 20 years in prison, although certain offenses like murder can have maximum terms as long as life imprisonment, plus fines of up to $200,000
In addition to incarceration and fines, courts can impose penalties such as probation, community service, requirements to pay court costs or restitution to victims, obligations to attend behavioral or substance abuse treatment, or sex offender registration requirements.
Beware of the Long-Term Consequences of Having a Criminal Record
People often find that they continue to face consequences from their convictions despite having paid their debts to society. Many convicted individuals with criminal records have significant difficulty obtaining:
- Financial opportunities
Some landlords, employers, or educational programs prefer not to accept or hire individuals with criminal histories, concerned that they pose a risk of reoffending. This can make it difficult for someone with a criminal record to reintegrate into society and lead a law-abiding life after finishing their sentence.
Convictions and criminal records can also have other long-term consequences, such as disqualifying an individual from purchasing or possessing firearms or rendering a person ineligible for certain government benefits or employment in industries like law enforcement or the judiciary.
Finally, people who have been convicted of certain sex offenses may be required to sign up for New Jersey’s Sex Offender Internet Registry. This places them on a publicly accessible database of individuals who have been convicted of sex crimes. Depending on the severity of their offense, notification of their sex offender status may also be provided to parties such as schools, community organizations, or even members of the general public. Registering as a sex offender can come with a stigma that can make it difficult to obtain housing or employment or to participate in civic or social life.
How to Protect Your Rights During and After an Arrest in Middlesex County
When you are arrested in Middlesex County, you should remember these important tips to help protect your rights in the criminal justice system:
- Do not resist an arrest or attempt to flee from police – Even if you know you have not committed any crimes, physically attempting to prevent your own arrest constitutes a crime unto itself, even if you are innocent of the crime you are being arrested for.
- Always exercise your right to remain silent when in police custody – You should firmly but politely decline to answer any questions and inform the officers that you wish to remain silent.
- You should also exercise your right to legal counsel at the first available opportunity – Inform the officers that you wish to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Once you have invoked your right to counsel, police are not supposed to question or interrogate you until you have had the opportunity to consult with an attorney.
- Stay off social media. Throughout the duration of your case, do not share information about what’s happening on social media. Keep your conversations about your case between you and your attorney.
Talk to a Middlesex County Criminal Defense Lawyer Now
If you have been charged with a crime in Middlesex County, you need to act quickly to preserve your legal rights. Contact William Proetta Criminal Law today for a free, confidential consultation with a Middlesex County criminal defense lawyer.