Sentencing Ranges & Presumptions in NJ Criminal Cases
Totowa NJ Criminal Sentencing Defense Lawyer
Alissa Hascup represents clients throughout New Jersey, including in Paterson, Newark, and Morristown, who have been charged with criminal offenses ranging from carjacking and burglary to aggravated assault and murder.
If you have been charged with, pled guilty to or been found guilty of a crime in the State of New Jersey, the results can be serious. It is critical for you to have an experienced attorney represent you and argue aggressively on your behalf at all stages of the proceeding, including at Sentencing. Contact Alissa Hascup anytime for an initial consultation, which is always provided free of charge.
Degrees of Offenses and Ordinary Sentencing Ranges in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6
N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6 provides:
a. Except as otherwise provided, a person who has been convicted of a crime may be sentenced to imprisonment, as follows:
1. In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years (in New Jersey State Prison);
2. In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 5 years and 10 years (in New Jersey State Prison);
3. In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 3 years and 5 years (in New Jersey State Prison);
4. In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months (in New Jersey State Prison).
Note: Disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses are not technically considered “crimes” under the Code. A “crime” in the State of New Jersey is commonly referred to as an “indictable” charge, akin to a felony in other States. Indictable charges are characterized by degrees (first through fourth) – first degree being the most serious.
Disorderly persons (“DP”) and petty disorderly persons (“PDP”) offenses are akin to misdemeanors in other States. While you cannot be sentenced to a term of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison for a DP or PDP conviction, you can be sentenced to serve time in the county jail. Specifically:
- A DP is punishable by a term of imprisonment in the county jail of up to 6 months.
- A PDP is punishable by a term of imprisonment in the county jail of up to 90 days.
Presumption of Imprisonment in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1d
N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1d provides, in substance, that ALL persons convicted of crimes of the first and second degree must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment (in New Jersey State Prison).
The Code does provide that the presumption of imprisonment can be overcome in the case of a “serious injustice.” However, in only 1 case to date, State v. Jarbath, 114 N.J. 394 (1989), has the New Jersey Supreme Court ever found that the “serious injustice” standard was satisfied.
Presumption of Non-Incarceration in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1e
N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1e provides, in substance, that persons convicted of crimes of the third and fourth degree, who have no prior criminal convictions (i.e., first time offenders), should not be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
This presumption does not apply to the following offenses:
- Theft of a Motor Vehicle or Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle (third degree);
- Eluding (third degree);
- Bias Intimidation (third or fourth degree);
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Where Death Occurs (third degree); and
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Where Serious Bodily Injury Occurs (fourth degree).
Note, however, that this presumption only applies to a term of imprisonment in New Jersey State Prison. The presumption is not violated by a probationary sentence with a term in the county jail as a condition thereof.
While deference is always given to Plea Agreements, the courts are not obligated to impose the sentences recommended by the State. Rather, courts are bound by the “ranges” set forth above.
Contact a Passaic County NJ Criminal Sentencing Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges or has been convicted of a crime, it is imperative that you have an attorney who is prepared to fight for the best outcome. Alissa D. Hascup is a skilled and experienced attorney who understands the importance of arguing zealously on your behalf at all stages of your case. She has the experience and will use it to your advantage. Contact Ms. Hascup now to schedule a free consultation about your case.