If you have been charged with a fourth degree crime in Toms River, you are facing serious consequences. For anyone charged with a fourth degree crime in Toms River, this means that you will be prosecuted for an indictable offense in the Ocean County Superior Court. Such offenses are commonly referred to as felonies in other jurisdictions. In New Jersey, all felonies, including charges for fourth degree crimes, are punishable by heavy financial penalties and potentially years in State Prison. When you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for a 4th degree indictable offense, you need a strong defense, knowledgeable legal counsel, and aggressive representation. The attorneys at Proetta & Oliver have been defending clients charged with felonies, including fourth degree crimes, in Toms River and New Jersey for many years. We have the practical know-how and experience you need on your side to defend your innocence and protect your good name. For a free consultation with a lawyer who can help explain more about fourth degree charges and what to expect in Toms River, contact us at (848) 238-2100. A member of our legal team is available immediately to assist you.
Facing Fourth Degree Criminal Charges in Toms River NJ
In New Jersey, crimes range from first through fourth degree. Basically, first is the worst and most serious felony offense that you can be convicted of, while a fourth degree crime is the least serious but is still considered a felony. A fourth degree offense is considered a lower-level offense by courts because the possible state prison sentence is much less than that of a first, second, or even third crime. However, fourth degree crimes are still more serious than municipal court charges known as disorderly persons offenses.
Despite it being a lower-level felony, if convicted, you can be sentenced to as much as 18 months in state prison for a fourth degree crime. The court can also sentence you to county jail for as much as 364 days with an additional term of probation. Unfortunately, if sentenced to state prison, once you get out, you may have difficulty when seeking employment with a felony on your criminal record, which can be further compounded by mandatory and discretionary fines. In the very least, the court is required to order you to pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Fund Fee, a $50 Victims of Crime Agency Assessment Fee, a $30 Law Enforcement Officer’s Training and Equipment Fund Penalty, a $500 Drug Enforcement Demand Reduction Penalty (DEDR) in drug cases, and to pay for DNA testing. Additionally, if the court wishes to compound an already difficult situation, it could order you to pay up $10,000 in fines for fourth degree charges. These fines, if left unpaid, can result in a judgement and can be levied against your wages and tax refunds.
Fortunately, before you are sentenced or even convicted of a fourth degree charge, you will have an opportunity to be heard in court. In Toms River, all felony offenses, including fourth degree crimes, are heard in Ocean County Superior Court, Criminal Part, located at 118 Washington Street Toms River, NJ 08754. Your first court date will be a First Appearance. While it is likely that you will already know the nature of your charges prior to your first appearance, at this court proceeding the court will formally advise you of the charges against you as well as your legal rights. You should have an attorney with you at this stage, as the case will quickly pickup speed after this event. First appearances are commonly held for various fourth degree crimes, ranging from aggravated assault to possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana.
Top 4th Degree Crimes in Toms River, New Jersey
Some examples of the most frequently charged fourth degree crimes in Toms River and Ocean County are set forth below. There are numerous facts and circumstances giving rise to fourth degree felony charges. Some of these facts result in the following charges:
Acts constituting fourth degree crimes are not considered the most egregious in New Jersey and the law takes that into account when authorizing the judge to make decisions regarding sentencing. Fortunately, as such, not all cases involving fourth degree crimes result in state prison sentences. In fact, because a fourth degree offense is the lowest level felony that you can be charged with in New Jersey, there is a presumption against incarceration in New Jersey State Prison. This, coupled with many other options, makes a fourth degree offense possibly easier to resolve without a jail term or even a conviction, depending on the circumstances of your case.
How to Resolve a Toms River Fourth Degree Offense
As noted above, there is a presumption of non-incarceration if convicted of a fourth degree offense in Toms River or elsewhere in New Jersey. The presumption against incarceration applies if you have never been convicted or plead to an offense previously. This means that it is highly unlikely that the court will sentence you to state prison if you are convicted as a first time offender. Notably, the term “incarceration” refers to State Prison sentences and does not exclude a sentence to county jail for up to 364 days. However, before you are ever sentenced to any jail, the case may be resolved through court programs such as Pre-Trial Intervention, Drug Court, probation, or a downgrade.
If you qualify for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), the charges will be dismissed upon successful completion of the program. The basic requirements are that you remain arrest-free, report as directed, do not test positive for any substances for which you do not have a prescription, and abide by all other terms set forth in the Pre-Trial Order of Postponement. Similarly, you may agree to plead to an offense and be given a term of probation. During probation, much like PTI, you must satisfy all conditions as ordered by the court. If you abide by the terms of your probation, you may never be ordered to serve any jail time. Once probation is completed, the term will be up and you are free to move on with your life.
Of course, there are other programs that are available as well. For instance, you may wish to take part in Drug Court and receive substance abuse treatment in lieu of jail. If you are deemed legally and clinically eligible for the program, the State of New Jersey will pay for your treatment. In most cases, your entire criminal record will be expunged if the program is successfully completed. Sometimes, neither PTI nor drug court can be accomplished and the case is just simply downgraded to a misdemeanor offense (disorderly persons offense) which lessens the potential consequences. A downgrade can be considered a positive outcome because the charge is no longer a felony and your case can be resolved in Toms River Municipal Court, as opposed to at the Superior Court level.
Defense Lawyers for Clients Charged with Fourth Degree Crimes in Toms River, New Jersey
Are You Facing Charges for a Fourth Degree Crime in Toms River NJ? No matter what the case, our office will take your needs into consideration and work towards resolving the case with the best outcome possible. If no agreement to a lesser charge or program can be had, we will try your case in front of a jury and put the state to its proofs. Contact our local criminal defense law office today for a free consultation concerning your fourth degree charges and options. Simply call (848) 238-2100 now to consult a lawyer who can help.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.