Possible Outcomes When Facing Criminal Charges in New Jersey
Charged with a Crime in New Brunswick, Edison, Woodbridge, Piscataway, or another Municipality?
If you or a loved one have been recently charged with an offense in New Jersey, it is important to understand the criminal justice system you have just entered into and the potential outcomes of your case. The offense you have been charged with is more relevant than any other factor when predicting possible results in your case. Some types of offenses are eligible for diversionary programs and others are not. If convicted, some offenses carry significant jail time and others may result in a small fine. Some charges can be downgraded to lesser offenses, while others like DWI charges prohibit negotiation at all under NJ law. Get to know the facts on potential outcomes in New Jersey criminal cases and please call our local Edison criminal defense law firm at (732) 659-9600. An experienced Middlesex County criminal defense lawyer at Proetta & Oliver is here to discuss your case in a free consultation.
Will I be held in Middlesex County Jail before Trial?
New Jersey recently did away with the traditional bail model used for detaining and releasing individuals charged with an offense and opted instead for a risk-based assessment without a money-bail system. If a prosecutor files a motion for detention in your case, requesting the judge to hold you in jail until the time of your trial, you will be entitled to a detention hearing (also known as a bail hearing).
The judge may only order you to be detained if he or she determines that no condition or set of conditions could reasonably assure that you will not be a danger to someone else, a flight risk, or obstruct justice. You will stay in jail until your trial if no conditions could reasonably assure against those risks, be released with conditions, or you may even be released without conditions, if they judge does not find any conditions to be necessary.
Am I Eligible for a Diversionary Program?
There are two main diversionary programs in New Jersey: Pretrial Intervention (PTI) and Conditional Discharge. PTI allows individuals charged, for the first time, with an indictable offense to participate in a probationary program under a set of imposed conditions. The charges filed against you will be dismissed if you successfully complete the terms of PTI. This is only allowed in certain cases involving fourth or third degree charges, such as cocaine possession, intent to distribute marijuana, heroin possession, and certain theft crimes.
Conditional discharge is a program available to first time offenders arrested for some disorderly persons offenses. You can receive a conditional discharge if you successfully complete the terms of a probation period, generally spanning a period of 6 months to one year. The most common reason for conditional discharge is an arrest for possession of marijuana less than 50 grams.
Where Will I Have to go to Court?
If you are charged with a disorderly persons offense, your case will be heard in the municipal court of the town or city where you were charged. Indictable offenses, which are similar to felony offenses in other states, are heard in the superior court of the county where you were charged. If you have been arrested in Middlesex County for an indictable offense, your case will be heard in the Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick. On the other hand, disorderly persons offenses committed in Middlesex County towns like Edison, Woodbridge, Piscataway, Carteret, and South Brunswick are heard in the local municipal court in that municipality.
Will I be Sentenced to Prison Time for a Criminal Charge?
Whether you are likely to be sentenced to jail time, depends on the offense you were convicted of, the New Jersey Sentencing Guidelines, and the discretion of the judge. Even low-level disorderly persons charges can carry potential jail time of up to 6 months in prison. However, some offenses – including some third degree offenses, fourth degree offenses and disorderly persons offenses – carry a presumption of non-incarceration. This means that the law assumes the defendant will not serve jail time for the charged offense, even if they are convicted. First degree, second degree, some third degree crimes, and all offenses committed by repeat offenders carry a presumption of incarceration, so the law presumes you will serve jail time if convicted. In addition, violent crimes typically fall under the New Jersey No Early Release Act, which requires convicted defendants to serve at least 85% of their sentence before they can apply for parole.
Local Lawyers for Middlesex County Criminal Charges
There is no one-size-fits-all roadmap for determining the outcome of your criminal case and that is why it is especially important to present a strong, aggressive defense to the charges against you. Our skilled team of criminal defense lawyers are ready to assist you against all manner of criminal charges in Middlesex County. Contact us today at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation.