Criminal Defense FAQs

What are criminal indictable cases?

New Jersey does not have felonies and misdemeanors. Rather, New Jersey has four types of crimes. These crimes include First Degree, Second Degree, Third Degree and Fourth Degree crimes. Each type of crime is differentiated by the penalties that can be imposed upon conviction:

  • A First Degree crime carries with it a term of imprisonment ranging between 10 and 20 years
  • A Second Degree crime, a term of imprisonment between five and 10 years
  • A Third Degree crime, a term of imprisonment between three and five years
  • A Fourth Degree crime, a term of imprisonment up to 18 months.

Crimes defined as criminal indictable offenses in New Jersey are similar to those called felonies in most other states.

What are Disorderly Persons offenses?

Disorderly Persons offenses are considered quasi-criminal offenses. Quasi-criminal offenses include Petty Disorderly Persons offenses and Ordinance violations. These offenses are also differentiated by potential penalties that can be imposed. For conviction of a Disorderly Persons offense, a sentence could be imposed of up to six months in the county jail and for a Petty Disorderly Persons offense of up to 30 days in the county jail. Examples of Disorderly Persons offenses are:

  • Simple assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Theft valued at under $200
  • Trespass
  • Possession of Marijuana under 50 grams
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Harassment
  • Loitering

What are motor vehicle violations?

Motor vehicle violations are not considered criminal offenses in the State of New Jersey. Unlike many states, individuals charged with Driving while Under the Influence (DUI or drunk driving) are not entitled to jury trials. Drunk driving trials are handled by municipal court judges. Examples of other motor vehicle violations include:

  • Operating a motor vehicle while suspended
  • Operating a motor vehicle without valid liability insurance
  • Careless driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to report an accident
  • Leaving the scene of an accident

What happens if I am arrested?

On most occasions, a person arrested for a crime is charged under a warrant. The warrant is an informal method of notifying a defendant of the allegations being brought against them. Usually an initial bail is required upon the filing of the warrant. For minor criminal infractions and violations for Disorderly Persons offenses, most individuals are charged under Summonses, which do not require the posting of bail and the individual is released upon his own recognizance.

All persons charged with crimes, Disorderly Persons offenses and motor vehicle violations will be notified of a date to appear before a judge for an initial Arraignment. At the Arraignment, the Defendant is formally advised of the nature of the charges that have been brought against him, advised of his right to have legal counsel and advised of his Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent. In some cases Defendants are advised as to the potential penalties that can be imposed and can have their bail status reviewed.

What is bail and how can it be satisfied?

Bail is a surety intended to ensure that the person charged appears at all future Court proceedings. In New Jersey there are three types of monetary bail options the Court could require or allow:

  • Posting of a full cash bail. A full cash bail would require just that, posting of the entire amount of cash ordered to secure the release of the arrested individual.
  • Allowance of a 10% option. A 10% option would allow the posting of 10% of the bail ordered with the County Jail. The remaining 90% would need to be guaranteed by the person securing the release of the individual arrested. Assuming that the Defendant appears at all court proceedings, at the end of the case, the 10% posted with the jail will be returned to the owner.
  • Allowance of a bondable option. A bondable bail permits a bondsman to post a bond (also called a surety) guaranteeing the amount of bail and the presence of the Defendant. In order to secure a bond, most bondsmen require payment of 10% of the bail as fixed. The 10% paid to a bondsman is their fee and is not refundable at the end of the case.

Finally, bail can be satisfied by posting real estate located in the State of New Jersey.

What happens if bail cannot be satisfied?

If a person cannot satisfy the bail requirements as set by the Court or as modified, then in that event, he/she would remain in the county jail until completion of the entire case.

Can applications be made for the reduction of bail?

Yes, attorneys, on behalf of their clients, can apply to the Court for reduction of bail and/or for a change in the method upon which bail can be satisfied, for example changing a full cash bail to a 10% option.

Contact the Law Office of Steven J. Feldman | Free Initial Consultations

Attorney Steven J. Feldman is one of the most experienced criminal defense attorneys in the Pleasantville, New Jersey area. You can reach Mr. Feldman by telephone at 609-272-8989, cell phone at 866-425-7947 or by e-mail. All initial consultations are free of charge.