Indictable Crimes vs. Disorderly Persons Offenses: What’s the Difference?
It may have been a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe you didn’t realize what you were doing was considered illegal. Or perhaps you didn’t do it. Whatever the case may be, you are under arrest for a crime in New Jersey.
You go to your hearing to hear what offenses you are facing. You learn that you are facing an indictable offense. What does that mean? And just how serious of a charge is that?
Criminal Charges in New Jersey
Anyone who has seen a cop show or movie has heard the words misdemeanor and felony. But in New Jersey, criminal offenses are classified differently — indictable crimes and disorderly persons offenses.
Why does New Jersey have different terminology than other states? No one knows for sure. But both classifications are similar to felonies and misdemeanors.
The state uses these classifications to grade the charges against you and to determine what the appropriate penalty you will be facing if convicted. These charges will be broken down even further into degrees of severity. For example, if you stole a car for joyriding purposes, this is a fourth-degree crime that carries a punishment of jail time and a hefty fine. But if you get into an accident in a stolen vehicle, your charges will be upgraded to a third-degree crime.
Indictable Crimes in New Jersey
The more severe criminal charge, indictable offenses carry a punishment of at least one year in prison. Unlike a disorderly persons crime, you have the right to have the matter heard by a grand jury before being formally indicted. Your case will be tried in Superior Court before a jury of your peers.
The punishment for these crimes vary on the degree:
- For a first-degree offense, such as rape, manslaughter, or murder, you can face anywhere between ten years to a life sentence and a maximum fine of $200,000.
- A second-degree offense, such as arson, kidnapping, sex crimes, and white-collar crimes, you could face five to ten years in prison and a fine up to $150,000.
- A third-degree felony, such as robbery, DUI, and drug charges, you’re facing three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- And finally, a fourth-degree crime can carry a prison sentence of up to eighteen months and a fine of up to $10,000.
Disorderly Persons Offenses
A disorderly persons offense is a lower degree crime. It is tried in Municipal Court, and a grand jury is not necessary to have the case move forward. The punishment for a disorderly persons crime can result in a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
These crimes can be further broken down to a petty disorderly person offense which carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $500 maximum fine.
Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Anthony Carbone Now
Whether you are facing an indictable crime and disorderly persons offense, being charged with a crime in New Jersey can negatively impact your future – you will have trouble finding employment, a home, and lose your right to vote. That’s why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you.
Do not face these charges alone. Contact criminal defense lawyer Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.