Areas of Defense

Law enforcement throughout the state continues to allocate increasing amounts of resources toward dealing with crime. Those charged with a criminal offense need aggressive defense counsel that is familiar with the New Jersey legal system. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent years representing those who have made a mistake or been wrongfully accused. Each case is unique and an individual defense strategy must be employed to reach a positive outcome.

Data from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety provides an overview of the prevalence of crime in the state for 2018.

Criminal Offenses 2018 in NJ[1]














The Lento Law Firm has vast familiarity with the legal systems and established key relationships with prosecutors, judges and other members of the court staff. You deserve to have your rights acknowledged and have a comprehensive defense strategy implemented. We have years of experience in many of the areas of criminal practice below.

Domestic Violence: Including charges that involve assault, dating violence, and stalking. Interim measures such as restraining orders are commonly instituted by the court.

DWI: Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving under suspension, and vehicular assault. Law enforcement in New Jersey has continued to increase penalties for driving while intoxicated. Hundreds of officers across the state have now completed training to become “drug recognition experts” capable of detecting those operating under the influence of drugs.

Drug Crimes: May include drug abuse, possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and drug trafficking. Over 65% of those now entering U.S. jails suffer from some form of drug-related addiction or dependency.

Federal Crimes: Such as extortion, bribery, health care fraud, and public corruption.

Juvenile Offenses: Acts of delinquency including assault, firearms possession, vandalism, and theft.

Property Crimes: May include charges such as burglary, robbery, and motor vehicle theft. Many of these crimes are committed by those suffering from drug addictions.

Sexual Crimes: Acts of sexual assault, prostitution, or solicitation.

Violations of Parole/Probation: May include failing to meet their reporting requirements, violation of electronically monitored home incarceration, and more.

Weapons Charges: Examples may include possession of an assault weapon, unlawful firearms distribution, and possession of destructive devices.

White Collar Crime: Charges such as identify theft, forgery, and credit card fraud. In recent years, the internet had created a wealth of opportunities for criminal activity involving electronic financial transactions.

Rates of Crime[2] (per 100,000 people)


New Jersey

Incarceration Rate



Property Crimes



Violent Crimes



Criminal Justice Overview in New Jersey

In recent years, the criminal justice system in New Jersey has continued to evolve. The system is based on two key principles. Those accused are innocent until they are found guilty and they are entitled to a speedy trial. The state has been among the more active in reforming the criminal justice system. Most recently, New Jersey enacted a Criminal Justice Reform Act (CJRA) in 2017.

The CJRA attempted to reduce the inequality that existed among defendants based on their financial resources. Defendants who were poor were disproportionately faced with disadvantages. Those who were unable to post bail remained in jail separated from their families, their jobs, and other key support within the community. These defendants were not presented reasonable plea offers and had much lengthier sentences imposed.

Superior Court Cases

There are several key phases of a criminal case in New Jersey for those charged who remain in custody. The suspect must be indicted within a period of 90 days. The accused has a right to a trial no later than 180 days after indictment. The maximum time a defendant may be detained before a trial occurs is two years.

Offenses in New Jersey

The New Jersey Code classifies crimes into four degrees.

  • Crimes of the first-degree are punishable by over 10 years in prison
  • Second-degree offenses carry the potential for a sentence of between 5 to 10 years of incarceration
  • A conviction of a third-degree crime allows for a prison sentence that ranges from 3 to 5 years
  • Crimes of the fourth-degree are punishable by up to 18 months in jail

Disorderly Persons Offenses

Lesser offenses are heard in a municipal court and the maximum penalty that may be imposed is six-months in jail. These are offenses that are not subject to indictment or able to be tried by a jury.

Plea Agreements

An experienced criminal defense attorney will often engage in negotiations of a plea agreement. A plea bargain involves the defendant agreeing to enter a guilty plea with the understanding that lesser penalties will be imposed. The guilty plea may apply to a lesser charge that minimizes periods of incarceration.

Incarceration in New Jersey

The state is home to 19 jail facilities that are spread among 21 counties. The average jail population is roughly 15,200. The state prison system has an annual budget that exceeds $1 billion. Approximately 19,700 offenders are detained in the state's 10 prison facilities with a staff that exceeds 8,000. The state has roughly 140,000 people on probation and 15,000 on parole that are managed by community correctional agencies.

Asset Forfeiture

The state's laws are similar to those implemented at the federal level regarding asset forfeiture. In criminal actions, an individual convicted of an offense in New Jersey may have assets seized. Property seizures are applicable to vehicles, cash and real estate that are related to criminal activities.

Legal Defense in New Jersey

When defending criminal charges, each stage of the process presents an opportunity. Seasoned legal counsel will recognize errors in procedure that can lead to the dismissal of charges. Often the proper timing of pretrial motions can create dramatically weaken what appeared to be a strong case for the prosecution.

Criminal Defense Attorney in New Jersey

The Lento Law Firm represents clients facing all types of criminal charges. Our legal team is strongly committed to defending clients using customized strategies and a personalized approach. We encourage you to contact the office today for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.


​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today


When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.