Morris County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers
What are the Penalties for a First Degree Felony in New Jersey?
On the scale of indictable (felony) and disorderly (misdemeanor) offenses, a crime of the first degree includes some of the most significant and repudiated crimes. As such, a first degree offense exposes a defendant to the greatest term of imprisonment and the largest fine. Typically, charges for a first degree crime will result in a high bail amount, if any is even made available. First degree crimes are handled by the Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, New Jersey. Prosecuting the case will be a representative from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are seasoned in handling first degree offenses in New Jersey. Our legal team has practical experience and understanding regarding the intricacies involved in first degree charges in Morris County. If you have been charged with a first degree crime like aggravated sexual assault, robbery, heroin distribution, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, carjacking, homicide, marijuana distribution or disarming a law enforcement officer, contact our Morristown or Parsippany office at 973-309-7050 for your free case evaluation today.
What is an Indictment in Morris County, NJ?
First degree crimes are referred to as an indictable crime because all charges must go through the indictment process. If the present criminal case is not downgraded, diverted, dismissed, or pled out, then the prosecutor will present the case to a grand jury for an indictment. The grand jury is composed of a group of citizens who have been selected from voter registration lists to serve as grand jurors. The Morris County Prosecutor will present evidence to the grand jurors and they will decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to formally charge the defendant. You must remember that an indictment in NOT a conviction. If a majority of the grand jury finds the evidence to be insufficient for further criminal proceedings, then a “no bill” will be entered and the charge(s) are considered dismissed.
What Types of Crimes are First Degree in NJ?
Some of the crimes that are charged as first degree offenses in Morris County are murder, certain types of drug distribution (depending on amount), rape, human trafficking, armed robbery, carjacking and aggravated sexual assault. This list is not exhaustive but gives an example of the threshold that seems to exist for how severe a crime must be for the State to considered it a first degree offense.
What are the Penalties for a First Degree Offense?
While certain first degree offenses will cause penalty enhancements from the standard structure under the New Jersey law (i.e. Murder), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1 et seq. defines the guidelines judges will use when sentencing an individual convicted of a first degree offense. Under this statute, a first degree crime conviction exposes a defendant to a term of imprisonment between ten (10) and twenty (20) years in a New Jersey State Penitentiary. Additionally, there is a maximum fine of $200,000 that may be imposed.
Depending on the nature and circumstances of the crime, the No Early Release Act may also apply, which requires a period of parole ineligibility of up to 85% of the judges sentence. For a twenty year sentence, this means that you must serve a minimum of seventeen years in prison.
Experienced Morris County Criminal Defense Attorneys
Here at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall we have the experience and skill set required to successfully defend your rights. With eight criminal defense lawyers on staff, our office is one of the largest criminal defense firms in the State let alone Morris County. If you would like to discuss your options with any one of the criminal defense lawyers on staff, please contact our Morristown office at 973.309.7050.