New Brunswick 4th Degree Crime Attorney
4th Degree Crime Defense Lawyers in New Brunswick NJ
If you have been charged with a fourth degree crime in New Brunswick in Middlesex County, New Jersey, it is important to understand New Jersey’s criminal charging scheme, terminology, and typical penalties associated with your specific charges. Consequences, sentencing, presumptions, and other things that significant impact the outcome of your case are contingent upon the severity and nature of the crime charged. The system of classifying the types and degrees of crimes in New Jersey can be opaque. New Jersey does not use the standard terms “infraction,” “misdemeanor,” and “felony” in describing its most common offenses, whether minor or severe. Here, we provide essential information about fourth degree crimes, explaining what you should know about some of the most common “felony-level” crimes that are charged and tried in the state on a daily basis. To discuss the unique circumstances surrounding your arrest in New Brunswick for a crime of the fourth degree, contact our diligent team of attorneys at (732) 659-9600. We provide free consults 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to best serve your needs. Whether you have been charged with assault, resisting arrest, shoplifting, or another crime, let us answer your specific questions and if you so choose, put our knowledge and experience to work for you.
What does a Fourth Degree Crime Mean in New Brunswick?
To understand fourth degree crimes in New Brunswick, you must first have an overall picture of New Jersey’s criminal and quasi-criminal charging setup. Some of the least severe charges you can face in New Jersey are classified as quasi-criminal or even non-criminal charges. These include traffic offenses (although there are serious traffic offenses, notably DWIs, which you should obviously take seriously). Municipal ordinance violations and petty disorderly persons offenses are additional “minor” offenses under New Jersey law. These are not technically criminal charges, although they can have steep penalties and potentially even affect your permanent record.
Next, as you move up the severity scale, you have true criminal offenses, starting with disorderly persons offenses, which are akin to misdemeanors in states outside New Jersey. Disorderly persons offenses can subject you to serious fines and jail time. Finally, you move into the most serious category of offenses in the state: indictable offenses. Indictable offenses are like felonies in other states; they typically involve prison time and thousands of dollars in fines. There are four degrees of indictable offenses in New Jersey, fourth degree through first degree offenses, as outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1. The most common and the least serious of these felony-level offenses is a fourth degree indictable offense, otherwise known as a fourth degree crime.
Facing New Brunswick NJ Fourth Degree Charges
There are a number of common fourth degree crimes that people face in this charging category. For example, possession of over 50 grams of marijuana is a fourth degree crime, as is theft or shoplifting items of between $200 and $500 in value. If you violate a restraining order and are held in criminal contempt of court, you will typically face a fourth degree indictable offense charge. Aggravated assault that causes harm to another person through the use of a weapon is a fourth degree crime as well. Yet another common charge is fourth degree resisting arrest, while forgery is also a fourth degree crime that can get you arrested. Fourth degree crimes are typically charged based on serious criminal conduct, but not as egregious as murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, weapons charges, or other more severe actions.
Charged with a 4th Degree Crime in New Brunswick, Now What?
Despite the fact that fourth degree crimes are not the most severe crimes in the state, they are still tried in New Jersey Superior Court along with third through first degree indictable offenses. Superior Courts tends to be more formal than the municipal courts where traffic offenses, disorderly persons offenses, and municipal ordinance violations are handled. In certain cases, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a downgraded criminal charge that will result in the transfer of your original fourth degree criminal case back to municipal court from Superior Court. An experienced criminal defense attorney at our firm can tell you more about your chances of downgrading your fourth degree criminal charges based on the facts of your case.
What is the Penalty for a Fourth Degree Crime in New Brunswick NJ?
Most fourth degree crimes carry a maximum penalty range of up to 18 months in prison, fines of up to $10,000, and a felony conviction appearing on your permanent criminal record. Notably, New Jersey statute section N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(e)) indicates that you should not be incarcerated for many fourth degree offenses unless the court determines that you must be locked up to protect the public and prevent you from committing additional offenses in light of your criminal history, as well as the circumstances and nature of your offense. This default presumption against imprisonment for a fourth degree crime if it is your first offense is called a presumption of non-incarceration. Essentially, this means that probation, Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), and other options may be available that allow you to avoid prison and even possibly a criminal record.
Need to Discuss Your Fourth Degree Charges with a New Brunswick Lawyer?
Avoiding the serious punishments should be your first priority when you have a fourth degree criminal case pending in Middlesex County Superior Court or any other superior court in New Jersey. If you have been charged with a fourth degree crime in New Brunswick, New Jersey, seeking knowledgeable legal counsel is a great first step if you want to ensure that you have all of the best information relevant to your specific case. Our seasoned team of local criminal defense lawyers can assist you with any case involving fourth degree charges in New Brunswick in Middlesex County, NJ. Simply call (732) 659-9600 to speak with an attorney immediately free of charge. You can also receive a free consultation by contacting us online.