If you've been charged with a crime in Union County, New Jersey, you're probably feeling very worried about how that charge will affect you going forward. You could be facing jail time, probation, and a criminal record. You may be worried about losing your job or being separated from your children. In many cases, the fear comes from not knowing what will happen. For answers, call Joseph D. Lento, a criminal defense attorney in Union County, New Jersey. While being charged with a crime may be new to you, Joseph D. Lento has been representing clients for criminal charges in Union County for many years. He'll guide you through the process and help you resolve the situation in a way that causes the least possible impact on your life.
You've Been Charged with a Crime – What Happens Next?
The good news is that bail requirements have been eliminated for most cases in New Jersey. That doesn't mean there won't be consequences, though. You will likely be released from jail, but that release will probably be conditional. You'll likely have to follow some rules, depending on what level of risk the court believes you to be. These rules can include the following:
- You may have to report to law enforcement periodically.
- You may be required to follow a curfew.
- Travel may be prohibited.
- Drinking alcohol may be prohibited.
- Possession of a gun may be prohibited.
- You may be required to remain employed or seek employment.
- The court may appoint someone to be responsible for you/take custody of you.
- You may be placed under a restraining order.
In some cases, you may still be required to post bail, particularly if you are considered a flight risk. You could also be held in jail without release until trial.
What Happens if You Are Convicted?
There are a variety of consequences for a criminal conviction in New Jersey, depending largely on the charge. The consequences can include the following:
- You may be sentenced to serve time in jail or prison.
- You may be placed on probation and required to adhere to certain rules and check in periodically with a probation officer.
- You may be required to pay fines.
- You may face financial difficulties. In addition to having to pay fines, you could lose your job. If you are required to remain in prison, you will lose your income for the duration of your prison stay.
- You could lose custody of your children or have restrictions placed on visitation with your children.
Misdemeanors and Felonies in New Jersey
You've probably heard of misdemeanors and felonies and have a general idea of what those terms mean. The state of New Jersey uses different terminology for those same concepts. What you might know as a misdemeanor is called a “disorderly persons offense” in New Jersey, and a felony is known as an “indictable offense.”
What Are Disorderly Persons Offenses?
Like misdemeanors in other states, New Jersey considers disorderly persons offenses to be relatively minor crimes. Disorderly persons offenses can include:
- Shoplifting – less than $200 worth of goods
- Simple assault – intentionally causing bodily harm to another
- Resisting arrest
- Possession of drug paraphernalia – including prescription drugs without a valid prescription
- Writing bad checks
- Indecent exposure/lewdness
These are just some of the charges that are classified as disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey.
Indictable Offenses in New Jersey
Like felonies in other states, New Jersey considers indictable offenses to be serious crimes. Within this category, indictable offenses are divided into four degrees, with first-degree indictable offenses being the most serious. Indictable offenses can include:
- Possession of marijuana – more than 6 ounces
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Aggravated assault
- Shoplifting – more than $200 worth of goods
These are examples of the charges that are classified as indictable offenses in New Jersey – not a complete list.
About Union County, New Jersey Courts
The New Jersey court system is divided into Municipal Courts and Superior Courts. Disorderly persons offense cases are handled in Municipal Court. Municipal Courts do not have jury trials; all cases are decided by a judge.
Indictable offenses often have a preliminary hearing in Municipal Court and are then transferred to Superior Court for trial.
Municipal Courts in Union County
Berkeley Heights Court
360 Elkwood Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974
Clark Municipal Court
315 Westfield Ave., Clark, NJ 07066
Cranford Municipal Court
8 Springfield Ave., Cranford, NJ 07016
Elizabeth Municipal Court
1 Police Plaza, Elizabeth, NJ 07201
Fanwood Municipal Court
75 N. Martine Ave., Fanwood, NJ 07023
Garwood Municipal Court
403 South Ave., Garwood, NJ 07027
Hillside Municipal Court
1409 Liberty Ave., Hillside, NJ 07205
Kenilworth Municipal Court
567 Boulevard, Kenilworth, NJ 07033
Linden Municipal Court
301 N. Wood Ave., Suite 1, Linden, NJ 07036
Mountainside Municipal Court
1385 Route 22 East, Mountainside, NJ 07092
New Providence Municipal Court
360 Elkwood Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974
Plainfield Municipal Court
325 Watchung Ave., Plainfield, NJ 07061
Rahway Municipal Court
City Hall Plaza, Rahway, NJ 07065
Roselle Municipal Court
210 Chestnut Street, Roselle, NJ 07203
Union Municipal Court
981 Caldwell Ave., Union, NJ 07083
Westfield Town Municipal Court
425 E. Broad St., Westfield, NJ 07090
Winfield Municipal Court
12 Gulfstream Ave., Winfield, NJ 07036
Superior Courts in Union County
Union County Superior Court
2 Broad St., Elizabeth, NJ 07207
What if I Want to Appeal My Verdict?
If you disagree with the verdict in your case, you may have the option to file an appeal with the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. This does not mean that you will have an entirely new trial: the Appellate Court reviews the facts of your original trial, but does not hear new evidence, and there is no testimony by witnesses.
An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in New Jersey
If you've been charged with a crime in Union County, New Jersey, contact Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento. Call the office at 888-535-3686 to schedule an appointment today.