Degree of Crimes in New Jersey
In New Jersey, crimes described in N.J.S 2C:43-1 are classified by degrees and each degree has an enhanced penalty range.
Indictable Criminal Offense
A first, second, third, or fourth degree crime in New Jersey is considered an indictable criminal offense that must be handled by the Superior Court in the county in which the crime occurred. Indictable offenses are presented to a grand jury for indictment, i.e. the formal charging document which charges the defendant with the crime.
Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are the lowest level criminal offenses in New Jersey. These cases are handled in the Municipal Court and in the municipality in which the crime allegedly occurred. Disorderly persons offenses do not need to be presented to a grand jury for indictment and are prosecuted via complaints or summonses.
New Jersey Penalties
First Degree: 10-20 years in prison
Second Degree: 5-10 years in prison
Third Degree: 3-5 years in prison
Fourth Degree: Maximum of 18 months in prison
Disorderly Persons Offenses: Maximum 6 months in county jail
Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses: Maximum 30 days in county jail
In cases of third and fourth degree crimes, if a defendant has no prior criminal history, Pre-Trial Intervention in New Jersey (PTI) may be available.