Criminal Defense in New Jersey

Most states divide criminal offenses into misdemeanors and felonies.  New Jersey uses slightly different language, calling misdemeanors “disorderly persons offenses” and felonies “indictable crimes.”  While the wording may be different, the potential penalties are the same: debilitating fines, years or decades of incarceration, and a host of assorted consequences such as driver’s license suspension, mandatory community service, substance abuse counseling, and probation.  In addition to facing these court-ordered penalties, you will also receive a criminal record, which can haunt your loan, housing, and job searches for years to come.

Regardless of your age, criminal history, or the type of offense you are being charged with, misdemeanor and felony allegations are extremely serious matters which can negatively impact every aspect of your life.  If you have been arrested in New Jersey, you need legal representation from a trusted and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer like Joseph Lombardo. Joseph has over 20 years of experience handling a wide array of felony and misdemeanor charges on behalf of adults and juveniles alike, and serves communities including Atlantic City, Atlantic County, Cherry Hill, Mays Landing, Vineland, Linwood, Hammonton, and Winslow Township.

From the moment of arrest through the trial itself, Joseph will put his extensive dual experience as a municipal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney toward building a tactical defense strategy. In case of an emergency, Joseph is on-call 24 hours a day to make jail or detention center visits. Call (609) 418-4537 for a free and private case evaluation.

criminal defense attorney

Types of Charges Defense Attorney Joseph Lombardo Handles

Over the past two decades, attorney Joseph Lombardo has represented adult and juvenile clients charged with numerous types of felonies and misdemeanors.  Joseph handles criminal offenses including but not limited to the following:

  • Drug Crimes 
    • Drug Sales
    • Possession with Intent to Distribute
    • Prescription Drug Charges
    • Simple Possession
    • Transportation
  • Fraud
    • Bank Fraud
    • Embezzlement
    • Forgery
    • Identity Theft
    • Insurance Fraud
    • Mortgage Fraud
  • Sex Crimes
    • Indecent Exposure
    • Lewdness
    • Prostitution
  • Theft
    • Burglary
    • Grand Theft
    • Motor Vehicle Theft
    • Petty Theft
    • Retail Theft
    • Robbery
    • Theft of Services
  • Weapons Crimes
    • Brandishing and Discharging
    • Concealed Weapons
    • Gun Possession

In addition to fighting a variety of criminal charges, Joseph also handles related legal matters including but not limited to the following:

  • Bail Hearings
  • Conditional Discharge Applications
  • Criminal Record Expungement
  • Parole Violation and Parole Revocation Hearings
  • Pre-Trial Intervention Applications
  • Probation Violation and VOP Hearings

joseph lombarod

Fines and Sentences: Criminal Penalties in NJ

The fines, sentences, and other criminal penalties you face depend on the way your charges are categorized.  Some crimes are always categorized a certain way, while others can become more or less severe depending on the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors.

While each charge must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, some typical mitigating factors include lack of intent to cause harm, acting in self-defense, acting negligently or carelessly, and being a first-time offender.  By comparison, common aggravating factors include causing extremely serious injury, using a dangerous weapon, acting intentionally or recklessly, having a record of prior offenses, committing the offense in a designated school zone, and/or endangering a child during the commission of the alleged crime (such as having a child passenger in an alleged DUI).

Some states use alphabetic labels to distinguish criminal categories, such as “Class A,” “Class B,” and so forth.  New Jersey uses numeric degrees.  The lower the degree, the more serious the crime (and potential consequences).  For example, a first degree crime is considered more serious than a third degree crime.

The New Jersey criminal courts may impose the following maximum penalties, depending on the way the underlying offense is graded:

  • Petty DP Offense
    • Fine — $500
    • Incarceration — 30 days
  • DP Offense
    • Fine — $1,000
    • Incarceration — 6 months

Offenses which are more serious than DP offenses are considered to be indictable crimes, subject to the following maximum penalties:

  • Fourth Degree Crime 
    • Fine — $10,000
    • Incarceration — 18 months
  • Third Degree Crime
    • Fine — $15,000
    • Incarceration — 5 years
  • Second Degree Crime
    • Fine — $150,000
    • Incarceration — 10 years
  • First Degree Crime 
    • Fine — $200,000
    • Incarceration — 20 years

As you can see, New Jersey unfortunately imposes some of the highest felony fines in the country. While many states hold fines for similar offense classes to the tens of thousands at most, New Jersey’s maximum criminal fines can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars — in addition to decades of incarceration in prison.

While the fines and incarceration are often the greatest cause for concern, they are far from the only penalties which may be imposed.  Depending on the type of crime involved in the charges, you may be subject to offense-specific penalties as well.  For example, many sex crime convictions require placement on the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry.  Likewise, a DWI conviction can result in the temporary suspension of your driver’s license.  Drug possession charges may lead to mandatory counseling for substance abuse, while crimes involving graffiti and vandalism often involve community service and volunteer work requirements.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in New Jersey, or if one of your loved ones has been arrested, you need dedicated legal representation on your side in court.  Don’t go up against the prosecutor alone: get trusted legal guidance from an aggressive defense lawyer who can fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.  To start exploring some of your potential options in a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call Joseph Lombardo right away at (609) 418-4537.

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