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Classes of Offenses in New Jersey
A criminal offense can fall within one of six grades or classes in New Jersey. Indictable charges, meaning those which trigger a right to presentation of charges to a grand jury, are graded in severity in terms of degrees. You can face a first degree, second degree, third degree or fourth degree crime. First degree crimes are the most serious and a fourth degree crimes are the least severe in terms of felonies. Misdemeanor criminal charges are referred to as disorderly persons offenses in the Criminal Code and are typically heard in municipal court. There are two grades that fall within this category, disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses.
Our Middlesex County Criminal Lawyers defend clients charged with any and all variety of criminal violation in Middlesex County. Whether you are facing a first degree heroin distribution case at the Middlesex County Superior Court or a marijuana possession charge in New Brunswick, a defense attorney on our staff is well equipped to represent you. We are former prosecutors with over 100 years of combined experience serving the court system. Call our Piscataway Office, New Brunswick Office, Woodbridge Office or East Brunswick Office if you require assistance.
Crime of the Third Degree, Second Degree & First Degree, New Brunswick NJ
The statute governing the degree of offense in New Jersey is N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1. This law provides as follows:
§ 2C:43-1. Degrees of crimes:
a. Crimes defined by this code are classified, for the purpose of sentence, into four degrees, as follows:
(1) Crimes of the first degree;
2) Crimes of the second degree;
(3) Crimes of the third degree; and
(4) Crimes of the fourth degree.
A crime is of the first, second, third or fourth degree when it is so designated by the code. An offense, declared to be a crime, without specification of degree, is of the fourth degree.
b. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a crime defined by any statute of this State other than this code and designated as a high misdemeanor shall constitute for the purpose of sentence a crime of the third degree. Except as provided in sections 2C:1-4c. and 2C:1-5b. and notwithstanding any other provision of law, a crime defined by any statute of this State other than this code and designated as a misdemeanor shall constitute for the purpose of sentence a crime of the fourth degree.
Penalties for Criminal Offenses in NJ
Generally, the penalties imposed for crimes in New Jersey are as follows:
- First Degree involves ten (10) to twenty (20) years in prison;
- Second Degree involves five (5) to ten (10) years in prison;
- Third Degree involves one (1) to five (5) years in prison;
- Fourth Degree involves up to eighteen (18) months in prison; and
- Disorderly Persons Offenses involve up to six (6) months in prison
If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. Please contact our team of experienced criminal defense trial attorneys immediately for a free initial consultation. We can be reached at 732-246-7126. With over 100 years of combined experience, and former prosecutors on our team, we can help you with any criminal matter, whether in Superior Court or Municipal Court.