New Brunswick 3rd Degree Crime Attorney
New Brunswick NJ Third Degree Crime Attorney
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in New Brunswick, there is a good chance that it is a third degree indictable crime. Third degree crimes are among the most commonly charged offenses in New Brunswick, Middlesex County, and New Jersey as a whole. Before making any decisions related to your case, you must understand what it means to be charged with a third degree crime, where you will attend court, and the permissible penalties if you are ultimately convicted. Third degree crimes, often referred to as felonies, carry both mandatory and discretionary penalties that may be issued under New Jersey law. Fortunately, whether you are facing third degree charges in New Brunswick for Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS), aggravated assault, eluding police, terroristic threats, theft, or another crime, you may have defenses and diversionary options that work in your favor. After being arrested for a third degree crime, talking it over with a New Brunswick criminal defense attorney who can provide personalized guidance and address your concerns is strongly encouraged. We at William Proetta Criminal Law, a local criminal law firm, regularly appear in Middlesex County Superior Court to fight for our clients’ rights and present the most effective defenses. Our lawyers are dedicated solely to the practice of criminal defense and we are thoroughly prepared to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us now at (732) 659-9600 if you would like a free consultation about third degree charges in New Brunswick NJ.
Charged with a Third Degree Crime in New Brunswick, New Jersey
Many states refer to crimes as felonies. In New Jersey, the law uses the term “indictable offense.” Indictable crimes have greater overall negative consequences than do disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors). The primary distinction between the two is that an indictable crime carries the potential for a state prison sentence. Additionally, indictable crimes are heard in the Middlesex County Superior Court, as opposed to New Brunswick Municipal Court, where disorderly offenses are heard. More serious crimes, like third degree crimes, entitle a person to a trial before a jury of their peers. It is also necessary for a grand jury to hear the evidence in your case before deciding whether to issue an indictment in Middlesex County Superior Court or another Superior Court in New Jersey. An indictment essentially means that there is sufficient evidence to move forward with prosecuting you.
Indictable crimes range in seriousness by “degree.” Specifically, crimes are categorized as first through fourth degree, with a fourth degree being the least serious. As the degree of the crime inches up from fourth, to third, to second, to first, so too does the possible prison term and general consequences. As such, a third degree crime is less serious than a second or first degree in relation to the overall sentencing structure in NJ. Nonetheless, third degree crimes carry substantial prison terms if convicted. In many cases, individuals charged with crimes already have prior records with criminal convictions. If you have a prior record, a new conviction for a third degree crime can result in incarceration for three to five years.
The court can also penalize you with a fine of up to $15,000 (drug crimes carry even higher fines of up to $35,000) and have you placed on probation. Moreover, mandatory financial penalties such as a $50 Victims of Crime Compensation Agency fee, a $75 Safe Neighborhood Fund Fee, a $30 Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund Penalty, a $1,000 Drug Enforcement Demand Reduction Penalty (drug cases only) and up to $25.00 per month to be supervised on probation may apply in your case.
The penalties do not end there, and the non-monetary consequences can prove to be even worse for your life and your future. For example, your DNA will be collected and placed on file with the State of New Jersey to identify you in any future instances of alleged criminal conduct. After a conviction, the record exists unless and until you obtain a successful expungement. Provided you do not expunge your record of an indictable crime of the third degree, the conviction will be reflected on your record and may be found by potential employers. Similarly, in some cases, you may not be able to obtain student loans due to the conviction appearing on a background check. A third degree crime of moral turpitude, such as theft by deception or shoplifting, may also affect your immigration status.
New Brunswick 3rd Degree Criminal Offenses
New Jersey law provides for a broad spectrum of criminal activity constituting third degree crimes. For instance, if you possess heroin, cocaine, LSD, Molly, or Meth, you may be charged with a third degree crime. In cases involving heroin and cocaine, for instance, simple possession is a crime of the third degree regardless of the amount of the drug involved. For prescription drugs such as Suboxone, Xanax, Oxycontin, and Percocet, possessing between 5 and 99 pills or doses without a valid prescription may also lead to 3rd degree charges. Similarly, if you take anything that does not belong to you that has a value between $500-$75,000, you can be charged with a theft crime in the third degree. Other third degree crimes include:
- Aggravated assault
- Criminal mischief resulting in $2,000 worth of damage or more
- Shoplifting items between $500 and $75,000
- Receiving stolen property valued between $500 and $75,000
- Prescription fraud
- Terroristic Threats
- Eluding Police
Save for violent crimes, almost any type of prohibited conduct has a corresponding charge that may be graded as a third degree crime in New Jersey.
Will I go to jail for a Third Degree Crime in New Brunswick?
While the court can sentence you to state prison for a third degree offense, it must be noted that there is a presumption against incarceration for anyone with no prior offenses on their record. While jail is an option, many times, probation without jail is a viable option as well. Probation requires you to satisfy conditions and if successful, you will not go to jail. Additionally, programs such as Pretrial Intervention (PTI) are available for first time offenders and can result in dismissal of your charges. Also available to third degree offenders is a Statewide program known as Drug Court. This program provides for your drug treatment and allows applicants to take part in substance abuse recovery in lieu of jail. If you complete Drug Court, your record is expunged in its entirety immediately, a major benefit to those with multiple convictions.
Consult a New Brunswick Third Degree Crime Defense Lawyer about Your Case
Because the consequences of third degree crime in New Brunswick can be so drastic, you should always seek the advice of learned counsel. Despite the severity of the charge, there are things that your attorney can do to help position you for the best result when representing you. Our knowledgeable attorneys will review the facts of your case and advise you of your potential options for a successful resolution. For a free consultation with a New Brunswick criminal defense lawyer near you, call (732) 659-9600 or contact us online now.