Criminal Defense Attorney, Ocean County, NJ

Being charged with a crime in Ocean County, NJ, can be highly disruptive to many aspects of your life, including your job, your family, not to mention your freedom. If you are convicted, the ramifications only get worse. Even minor crimes can result in fines, jail time, income issues, and much more. If you've recently been arrested or summoned to court, you may feel concerns about your uncertain future. What can I do to defend myself against the charges? How does this charge affect my job, my family, my criminal record? What if I go to jail? What will become of my children?

Knowledge is power, so to help alleviate some of these uncertainties, the Lento Law Firm has compiled the following information about defending against criminal charges in Ocean County. We'll discuss what to expect before your trial, the ramifications of a conviction, and, most importantly, what you can do to improve your chances for a more positive outcome.

Being Charged with a Crime in Ocean County, NJ

Even before your case goes to trial, you need to be prepared to make some adjustments in your life after you've been arrested or charged with a crime. Although bail requirements have pretty much been eliminated in the State of New Jersey thanks to criminal justice reforms, your release from jail pending your trial is still considered conditional. If you're released on your own recognizance, life can basically return to normal until your trial date. However, in many cases, the judge may place certain restrictions or conditions upon your release. For example:

  • You may be required to check in with local law enforcement periodically.
  • You may be given limits on where and when you can travel.
  • You may be required to limit or avoid alcohol intake.
  • You may be placed in the custody of a designated person until your trial date.
  • You may be given a curfew.
  • You may be required to be gainfully employed (or actively seek employment, if you are unemployed.
  • You may be hit with a restraining order forbidding you to contact certain family members or loved ones—particularly if your alleged crime involved that person.

In cases where the defendant is deemed a “flight risk,” the judge may still assign bail in certain instances—or they may simply require you to stay in custody until your trial (“pre-trial detention”). Regardless of the possible limitations, a good criminal defense attorney can work on your behalf to minimize these limitations and disruptions pending your trial.

Ramifications of Being Convicted?

If your criminal charges result in a conviction, the consequences may only get worse for you. If convicted, you may expect any/all of the following to happen:

  • Sentencing that may include probation, fines, community service, and/or jail time.
  • Financial challenges for yourself and your family. Obviously, if you're incarcerated, you can't earn a living—but even if you avoid jail, the complications surrounding your arrest and conviction may jeopardize your job.
  • Limitations on future job prospects. Having a conviction on your record may prohibit you from working at certain jobs. In addition, some employers run a criminal background check on prospective employees, and they may be reluctant to hire someone with a conviction.
  • Custody issues. In some cases, a criminal conviction can be used against you in custody disputes over your children. In other cases, your custody and/or visitation rights may even be revoked.

Categories of Crimes in New Jersey

New Jersey is different from most states in that it doesn't classify crimes as “misdemeanors” and “felonies.” Instead, it uses the term disorderly persons offenses for misdemeanors and indictable offenses for felonies. Let's talk a bit more about the differences.

What Are Disorderly Persons Offenses?

Disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey carry the same weight and similar penalties as misdemeanors in other states. These are considered “minor” offenses that typically include mild sentences. Examples include:

  • Simple assault
  • Resisting arrest
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Obstruction
  • Shoplifting (small dollar amount)
  • Harassment
  • Writing bad checks

In Ocean County, NJ, if you're charged with a disorderly persons offense, you will be summoned to the Municipal Court for the jurisdiction in which the alleged crime occurred, whether in Toms River, Plumsted Township, Harvey Cedars, etc. Most disorderly persons offenses receive penalties such as probation, community service, and small fines, but you can still be fined up to $1000 and serve up to six months in jail for these types of crimes. If you have an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney representing you, the attorney may be able to negotiate at this stage for lighter sentencing and possibly even dismissal of the charges.

Indictable Offenses in New Jersey

Felony-level crimes are called indictable offenses in New Jersey, in part because New Jersey is one of only a few states that requires a grand jury indictment for any and all felonies. In Ocean County, trials for indictable offenses take place at the Ocean County Superior Court in Toms River.

Examples of indictable offenses in New Jersey include the following:

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

Indictable offenses are classified as Fourth, Third, Second, and First Degree offenses, each carrying progressively harsher sentences. If you're convicted of a Fourth Degree offense, the maximum penalty is 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000. For a First Degree offense, you may receive up to life in prison and fines up to $200,000.

Courts in Ocean County, New Jersey

The straightforward configuration of the New Jersey court system makes it fairly easy to know which courts will handle certain types of crimes. Let's give an overview of the types of courts in Ocean County you may encounter.

Municipal Courts in Ocean County

Municipal Courts represent the lowest rung of the ladder in the New Jersey court system. They deal primarily with minor offenses (like traffic tickets) as well as virtually all disorderly persons offenses. These courts also host preliminary hearings for indictable offenses before sending these cases up the ladder to Superior Court for trial. Municipal Courts do not hold jury trials; both sides simply present their case to the judge for a ruling and/or sentencing.

As one of New Jersey's most populous counties, Ocean County is served by 32 Municipal Court locations:

Barnegat Light Municipal Court

6805 Long Beach Boulevard, Brant Beach, NJ 08008

Phone: 609-361-6661

Barnegat Township Municipal Court

900 West Bay Avenue, Barnegat, NJ 08005

Phone: 609-698-0080 ext. 110

Bay Head Municipal Court

83 Bridge Avenue, Bay Head, NJ 08742

Phone: 732-892-4737

Beach Haven Municipal Court

300 Engleside Avenue, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

Phone: 609-492-0111 ext. 228

Beachwood Municipal Court

1600 Pinewald Road, Beachwood, NJ 08722

Phone: 732-286-6000 ext. 120

Berkeley Township Municipal Court

631 Pinewald-Keswick Road, PO Box B, Bayville, NJ 08721

Phone: 732-240-6661

Brick Township Municipal Court

401 Chambers Bridge Road, Brick, NJ 08723

Phone: 732-262-1226

Eagleswood Township Municipal Court

665 Radio Road, Little Egg Harbor, NJ 08087

Phone: 609-296-7241

Harvey Cedars Municipal Court

7606 Long Beach Boulevard, Harvey Cedars, NJ 08008

Phone: 609-494-9026

Island Heights Municipal Court

One Wanamaker Municipal Complex

PO Box 797, Island Heights, NJ 08732

Jackson Township Municipal Court

102 Jackson Drive, Jackson, NJ 08527

Phone: 732-928-1205

Lacey Township Municipal Court

818 West Lacey Road, Forked River, NJ 08731

Phone: 609-693-1100 ext. 2262

Lakehurst Municipal Court

5 Union Avenue, Lakehurst, NJ 08733

Phone: 732-657-4151

Lakewood Municipal Court

231 3rd Street, Lakewood, NJ 08701

Phone: 732-364-2500 ext. 5988

Lavallette Municipal Court

Lavallette Municipal Building

1306 Grand Central Avenue, Lavallette, NJ 08735

Little Egg Harbor Municipal Court

665 Radio Road, Little Egg Harbor, NJ 08087

Phone: 609-296-7241

Long Beach Township Municipal Court

6805 Long Beach Boulevard, Brant Beach, NJ 08008

Phone: 609-361-1000

Manchester Township Municipal Court

1 Colonial Drive, Manchester, NJ 08759

Phone: 732-657-8121 ext. 3400

Mantoloking Municipal Court

340 Drum Point Road, Brick, NJ 08738

Phone: 732-475-7398

Ocean Gate Municipal Court

801 Ocean Gate Avenue, Ocean Gate, NJ 08740

Phone: 732-269-3166 ext. 22

Ocean Township Municipal Court

50 Railroad Avenue, Waretown, NJ 08758

Phone: 609-693-3332

Pine Beach Municipal Court

599 Pennsylvania Avenue, PO Box 425, Pine Beach, NJ 08741

Phone: 732-349-6453

Plumsted Township Municipal Court

121 Evergreen Road, New Egypt, NJ 08533

Phone: 609-758-2241 ext. 117

Point Pleasant Beach Municipal Court

2233 Bridge Avenue, PO Box 25, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742

Phone: 732-899-1636

Point Pleasant Municipal Court

2233 Bridge Avenue, PO Box 25, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742

Phone: 732-899-1636

Seaside Heights Municipal Court

116 Sherman Avenue, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751

Phone: 732-830-2202

Seaside Park Municipal Court

George E. Tompkins Municipal Complex

116 Sherman Avenue, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751

Ship Bottom Municipal Court

1621 Long Beach Boulevard, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008

Phone: 609-494-2171 ext. 118

South Toms River Municipal Court

19 Double Trouble Road, South Toms River, NJ 08757

Phone: 732-349-1141

Stafford Township Municipal Court

260 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ 08050

Phone: 609-597-1000

Surf City Municipal Court

813 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, NJ 08008

Phone: 609-494-3984

Toms River Municipal Court

255 Oak Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753

Phone: 732-797-3914

Tuckerton Municipal Court

420 East Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ 08087

Phone: 609-296-2036

Superior Courts in Ocean County

As the primary trial courts in the New Jersey court system, Superior Courts hold jury trials for all indictable offenses, as well as family law and civil suits. If you're charged with an indictable offense in Ocean County, your trial will take place at the criminal division of the Ocean County Superior Court:

Ocean County Superior Court

Ocean County Justice Complex

120 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753

Phone: 732-929-2042

Appeals Court/NJ Supreme Court

If you and/or your attorney feel your verdict was unfair in Municipal or Superior Court, you have the right to appeal. Your attorney will first appeal your case to the Appellate Division of Superior Court, and then, if applicable, at the New Jersey Supreme Court. In both of these court types, no witnesses are called or jury selected, and you will not appear. Your attorney will file written briefs and possibly present oral arguments, but these sessions exist only for reviewing cases for errors. The judges will overturn the verdict or submit corrections only if they see a legitimate reason to do so.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey

Since so much is at stake when you are accused of a crime in New Jersey, your choice of a New Jersey criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome. Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience in the courts in New Jersey, and he has a long track record of success defending his clients against charges in all these courts. If you've been accused of a crime in Ocean County, New Jersey, call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today to learn more about how we can help.

​​​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.

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