Arrested for a Fourth Degree Crime in Union County NJ
October 13, 2020
Fourth degree crimes are the lowest level indictable offenses under the law in New Jersey. While still technically felonies, 4th degree crimes are considered less serious than their first, second, and third degree counterparts. Despite where they fall on the grading spectrum of criminal offenses, there is still a potential prison term that may be imposed for defendants found guilty.
At the Union County law offices of Proetta & Oliver, our team of criminal defense lawyers understands the unique characteristics that each case and each person brings to the table. That being said, there is no finite way to deal with a criminal case except to work hard, fight hard, and employ all of our knowledge of criminal law to best defend your innocence. Whether you have been charged with resisting arrest, synthetic marijuana, aggravated assault, forgery, shoplifting, lewdness, or another fourth degree crime in Union County, New Jersey, you can entrust us with your best interests. Contact our office in Cranford at (908) 838-0150 today for a free consultation regarding your arrest and accompanying charges in Elizabeth, Clark, Union Twp., Summit, Mountainside, Westfield, Linden, or another town in the area.
What is a Fourth Degree Crime in NJ?
Clearly, anyone charged with a crime is being accused of breaking the law. Criminal statutes and laws are designed to stop people from doing something. The “something” sought to be deterred by the particular law ranges from minor victimless conduct to more serious acts of assault or violence. New Jersey and states throughout the nation recognize that the degree of the crime should suit the conduct alleged. If you have been charged with a fourth degree crime, it means that your conduct amounted to a felony, but was considered the least troublesome among all felonies under the NJ Criminal Code. Consider the following: for a first degree crime, a person can be sentenced to prison for at least 10 years, while for a fourth degree, the maximum time in state prison is 18 months. The positive aspects of being charged with a fourth degree crime include the potential that you can receive probation instead of prison or even a dismissal through Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). Some even more severe charges require mandatory sentences regardless of your criminal history.
There are many fourth degree crimes allegedly committed each and every day in NJ. Our lawyers are highly familiar with these types of charges because we have represented countless people charged with these very offenses in courts throughout the state. The following is a list of fourth degree crimes frequently brought before the the New Jersey Superior Courts:
- Theft ($200-$499)
- Criminal mischief (damage $200-$499)
- Criminal Trespass
- Possession of marijuana over 50 grams
- Possession of synthetic marijuana
- Aggravated Assault
- Resisting arrest
- Driving while suspended for a second or subsequent DUI
- Possession of certain prescription legend drugs
What is the Sentence for a 4th Degree Felony in New Jersey?
A fourth degree indictable crime (felony) is, in fact, a charge for which you will have a criminal record. In addition to possibly spending up to 18 months in prison, the court has the option to sentence you to county jail in lieu of prison. The term in county jail cannot be more than 364 days. However, judges often combine sentences or utilize “split sentences,” meaning that you may receive some county jail time and a probationary term as well. If placed on probation, throughout the term, you must address any drug issues, mental health issues, pay fines, take drug tests, meet with your probation officer, and refrain from breaking the law again. If you violate your probation, you face the initial possibility of being sentenced for the 4th degree offense in your case. For this degree of crime, you may also be fined up to $10,000.
The good news is that you have a slew of alternatives to these potential punishments. For instance, you could be admitted to the Pretrial Intervention (PTI) Program if you have no existing record. Following the program should you complete it, your charges are dismissed. Depending on the nature and surrounding facts, your attorney could also seek a remand or downgrade to lesser charges for a disorderly persons offense. In addition, the case could be fully litigated and tried before a jury, ultimately leading to the charges being dismissed.
Can I Expunge a Fourth Degree Criminal Case in NJ?
It should be noted that whether the charges are dismissed or you are found guilty, the records of your arrest remain available to those running a background check, unless they are expunged. Records of your arrest and charges can complicate your employability. Employers may not tell you directly that they did not hire you because of the record of the arrest, but it certainly happens. If we obtain a dismissal by way of litigating the case or your successful completion of PTI, we can assist with filing for an expungement to erase any record of the case having happened. We can also help you to expunge the conviction following the minimum 5-year waiting period. This can further alleviate any potential fallout of a fourth degree charge if not corrected.
Need a Cranford Defense Attorney for Fourth Degree Crime
To speak with an attuned, well-versed criminal justice attorney about your arrest for a 4th degree criminal charge in Union County NJ, call (908) 838-0150 now. Consultations are free and provided at your convenience.