Facing a criminal charge is a stressful, and at times overwhelming, experience. If you have been charged with an offense or crime in Somerset, you are likely wondering what happens next. Every criminal defendant has a right to a speedy trial, so things may move quickly in your case.
The best step you can take to protect yourself is contacting an experienced Somerset criminal lawyer today. Criminal cases are time-sensitive, so it is important to call an experienced lawyer immediately after arrest.
Your attorney can begin investigating the facts, preparing your defense, and answering any questions you have about the case. A criminal defense attorney in New Jersey can defend you, protect your rights, and help you move forward.Felonies vs. Misdemeanors in Somerset
Many factors determine the penalties someone charged with an offense or crime may face.
One of the most important factors is the severity of the crime. In most states, criminal charges are classified as misdemeanors or felonies. The law considers misdemeanors as less serious offenses, while felonies are crimes that are more serious and therefore punished more harshly.
In New Jersey, misdemeanor offenses are legally referred to as petty disorderly persons (PDP) offenses, and disorderly persons (DP) offenses. New Jersey law refers to felonies as indictable criminal offenses.
A PDP is the least serious charge someone can face in Somerset. One example of a PDP is disorderly conduct. Most PDPs are punishable by a fine of $500 and up to 30 days in jail. In contrast, a more serious DP is punishable by fines up to $1,000, and a six-month jail sentence.
Examples of DP offenses include simple assault and possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana. Both types of disorderly persons offenses are tried before Municipal Court judges, rather than juries.
Unlike PDPs and DPs, an indictable criminal offense can lead to a long prison sentence upon conviction. These are the most serious crimes under state law, and include murder, rape, and driving under the influence (DUI). Given the severity of indictable criminal offenses, the legal process to charge someone with such a crime is complex.
Before someone is formally charged with an indictable criminal offense, a grand jury determines whether there is enough evidence to charge them. If there is, the case could proceed to a jury trial.
Those convicted of indictable criminal offenses face time in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and a permanent criminal record. Anyone facing these crimes should contact an experienced Somerset criminal defense lawyer right away.Criminal Defense Practice Areas
Conviction of any offense or crime in New Jersey can have a lasting impact on someone’s future. In addition to legal penalties, a criminal record can hinder job and educational opportunities for years.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys in Somerset are prepared to help clients through the legal process. Somerset residents facing any of the below charges should contact a Somerset criminal lawyer immediately:
- Drug crimes, including possession and distribution
- Assault, battery, and other violent crimes
- Internet crimes, including possession of child pornography
- Identity theft
- Resisting arrest
- Domestic violence
If you are facing a criminal charge, such as those listed above, contact a Somerset criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Your best chance at avoiding conviction and protecting your rights is to contact a criminal defense attorney. Do not hesitate, call an attorney immediately.