Criminal Defense Attorney, Atlantic County, NJ

Being arrested or charged with a crime in Atlantic County, NJ, can be quite a serious matter, even for a so-called minor offense. It can be disruptive to your life, your family, and your daily routine, and it presents a lot of uncertainty for the future—and even more so if convicted. How do you handle yourself in the Atlantic County courts? Could your job be jeopardized? What becomes of your children? How would a criminal record affect your life—whether or not you see any jail time?

Joseph D. Lento is a New Jersey criminal defense attorney with an excellent track record and plenty of experience in the New Jersey court systems in general. The following information is provided by the Lento Law Firm to arm you with the knowledge to alleviate some of these concerns and help you understand your path forward.

What Happens When You're Charged with a Crime in Atlantic County, NJ

When you face criminal charges, the first thing to understand is that regardless of whether these charges result in a conviction, there will be some impact on your life and family—at least for the short term. While New Jersey criminal reforms have pretty much eliminated bail requirements for most cases, the courts will still evaluate your “risk”. They may impose certain conditions and restrictions as part of your “conditional release” while you await trial. Below are just a few of the possible limits they may prescribe:

  • You may be mandated to stay at your current job (or actively seek employment if unemployed).
  • You may be assigned to someone else's custody while awaiting trial.
  • You may be given a curfew.
  • You may be required to check in periodically with local law enforcement.
  • Consumption of alcohol or recreational drugs may revoke your conditional release.
  • You may face restrictions on where/when you can travel.
  • If your alleged crime involved violence against a friend or loved one, you may be slapped with a restraining order forbidding you to see them.
  • If you are deemed a high “flight risk,” the judge may set non-monetary bail and keep you in jail (known as “pre-trial detention”).

Not everyone faces such restrictions, and some are simply released on their own recognizance—but you need to be aware of the possibility that you may face some of these restrictions pending trial. A good defense attorney can often negotiate to minimize the level of restriction you will deal with.

What Happens if You Are Convicted?

If your pre-trial period seems disruptive, being convicted of the charges is even more so. Conviction of a crime in New Jersey can result in any/all of the following repercussions:

  • Fines, probation, and/or jail time.
  • Job loss and financial difficulty. You obviously can't work if you are incarcerated, and criminal charges could cost you your job even if you don't go to jail. Either way, providing for your family may become more challenging.
  • Limited future job prospects. A criminal conviction on your record can limit which types of jobs you can work; it can also have an impact on who is willing to hire you.
  • Custody challenges. Sometimes a criminal conviction can play negatively in child custody disputes—and in some cases can result in losing custody or visitation rights altogether.

How Misdemeanors and Felonies Are Defined in New Jersey

New Jersey uses different terms than most states to describe misdemeanors and felonies—although they are effectively handled the same way in the courts. In New Jersey, misdemeanors are known as disorderly persons offenses, and felonies are referred to as indictable offenses. Let's discuss the differences between these and give some examples.

What Are Disorderly Persons Offenses?

In New Jersey, disorderly persons offenses are considered “minor” crimes calling for lesser penalties, not unlike misdemeanors in other states. Some examples of disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey include:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Harassment
  • Simple assault
  • Bad check writing
  • Shoplifting (less than $200)
  • Resisting arrest

If you are charged with a disorderly persons offense in Atlantic County, NJ, you will appear in the Municipal Court for your local jurisdiction, whether it's Egg Harbor, Folsom, Hamilton Township, Atlantic City, etc. Penalties for disorderly persons offenses typically involve lesser fines and/or community service, probation, and occasionally some jail time. First-time offenders generally don't face jail time for disorderly persons offenses, but it's still possible to be sentenced a maximum of $1000 in fines and six months in jail.

Again, an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can often work with the courts to mitigate the penalties for conviction, or even to have the charges dismissed.

Indictable Offenses in New Jersey

New Jersey is one of only a few states in which prosecutors must obtain a grand jury indictment to charge you with a felony-level crime. For that reason, the state refers to these crimes as indictable offenses rather than felonies. If you have been charged with an indictable offense in Atlantic County, your trial will be held in Superior Court either in Atlantic City or Mays Landing.

Indictable offenses in New Jersey are categorized by degrees (Fourth, Third, Second, and First) with penalties of increasing severity for each. For example, a Fourth-Degree indictable offense carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines, while a First-Degree offense could result in life in prison and fines up to $200,000.

Examples of indictable offenses in New Jersey include:

  • Burglary
  • Forgery
  • Arson
  • Drug distribution
  • Marijuana possession (more than 6 ounces)
  • Aggravated assault
  • Extortion
  • Criminal restraint
  • Sexual assault/rape
  • Armed robbery
  • Manslaughter
  • Homicide

About Atlantic County, New Jersey Courts

New Jersey's court system has a fairly simple hierarchy in which certain crimes are handled in specific courts according to severity. Let's discuss the specific types of courts you may encounter if charged with a crime in Atlantic County.

Municipal Courts in Atlantic County

Municipal Courts are considered the lowest tier in the New Jersey court system. They handle minor traffic and vehicle offenses along with any crime calling for less than six months in jail (i.e., disorderly person offenses). If you're charged with an indictable offense, your preliminary hearing will probably take place in Municipal Court to determine whether to move your case to Superior Court for trial. There are no jury trials in Municipal Court. Both sides present their case before the presiding judge who issues a ruling.

There are 19 Municipal Courts located throughout Atlantic County. If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, you will appear in one of these courts according to where your alleged offense took place:

Absecon Municipal Court

500 Mill Road, Absecon, NJ 08201

Phone: 609-641-0663 ext. 129

Atlantic City Municipal Court

2715 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Phone: 609-347-5560

Brigantine Municipal Court

1417 West Brigantine Avenue, Brigantine, NJ 08203

Phone: 609-266-0440

Corbin City Municipal Court

2100 Tuckahoe Road, Petersburg, NJ 08270

Phone: 609-628-2011 ext. 235

Egg Harbor City Municipal Court

500 London Avenue, Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215

Phone: 609-965-0700

Egg Harbor Township Municipal Court

3515 Bargaintown Road, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234

Phone: 609-926-4195

Estell Manor Municipal Court

148 Cumberland Avenue, Estell Manor, NJ 08319

Phone: 609-476-4338

Folsom Municipal Court

1700 12th Street, Folsom, NJ 08037

Phone: 609-561-0711

Galloway Township Municipal Court

300 East Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway, NJ 08205

Phone: 609-652-3700 ext. 1

Hamilton Township Municipal Court

6101 13th Street, Mays Landing, NJ 08330

Phone: 609-625-6621

Hammonton Joint Municipal Court

100 Central Avenue, Hammonton, NJ 08037

Phone: 609-567-4300 ext. 3

Longport Municipal Court

2305 Atlantic Avenue, Longport, NJ 08403

Phone: 609-823-2731 ext. 112

Margate Municipal Court

9001 Winchester Avenue, Margate, NJ 08402

Phone: 609-822-1998

Mullica Township Municipal Court

4528 White Horse Pike, Elwood, NJ 08217

Phone: 609-561-6696

Northfield Municipal Court

1600 Shore Road, Northfield, NJ 08225

Phone: 609-641-2832 ext. 125

Pleasantville Municipal Court

18 North 1st Street, Pleasantville, NJ 08232

Phone: 609-484-3661

Port Republic Municipal Court

City Hall

143 Main Street, Port Republic, NJ 08241

Phone: 609-652-9321

Somers Point Municipal Court

1 West New Jersey Avenue, Somers Point, NJ 08244

Phone: 609-927-9088

Ventnor City Municipal Court

6201 Atlantic Avenue, Ventnor, NJ 08406

Phone: 609-823-7906

Superior Courts in Atlantic County

Superior Courts in New Jersey are the “jury trial” courts, handling both civil and criminal cases. If you have been charged with an indictable offense and your case goes to trial, it will be held at the following Superior Court location in Atlantic County:

Atlantic County Superior Court

Atlantic County Criminal Courts Complex

4997 Unami Blvd, Mays Landing, NJ 08330

Phone: 609-402-0100

What if I Wish to Appeal My Verdict?

You have the right to appeal a conviction whether your case takes place in Municipal or Superior Court. Your attorney will first appeal your case to the Appellate Division of Superior Court and, if applicable, to the New Jersey Supreme Court. There are no juries in these courts, no calling of witnesses, and no presenting of additional evidence; they simply review the case for errors and ensure due process was served. Appeals can result in significant additional expense, and they aren't always feasible. Your attorney can advise you as to whether it's in your best interests to appeal a case.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in New Jersey

If you're facing criminal charges in Atlantic County, New Jersey, no matter how minor, the ramifications for you and your family can be significant. For this reason, you want to go into the process with the best possible advantage—and that means hiring a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney. Joseph D. Lento has successfully defended many clients in Atlantic County courtrooms, and he will draw upon his extensive experience in New Jersey courts to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 for more information.

​​​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.