What is a Third Degree Crime in New Jersey?
If you are charged with a third degree crime in New Jersey, you may have many questions about what it means and the potential penalties you are facing. Under New Jersey law, there are crimes of varying degrees that are graded based on the severity of the alleged offense. Since New Jersey does not recognize criminal offenses as felonies and misdemeanors, it has what is known as indictable crimes and disorderly persons offenses. An indictable crime is subject to indictment by a grand jury in Superior Court. When you are charged with a indictable crime, which is the equivalent of a felony, the degree is very important because it determines the severity of the consequences if you are convicted.
Penalties for Third Degree Crimes
Felonies are graded on a scale from first (most serious) to fourth (least serious) in New Jersey. In other words, third degree crimes are less serious than first or second degree crimes but more serious than fourth degree crimes. The potential penalties for a third degree crime in NJ include:
- A term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years
- A fine of up to $15,000
- A felony conviction on your criminal record
Common Charges for Third Degree Crimes
Depending on the specific case, there are a variety of criminal charges that may be graded as a crime of the third degree. Here are some examples of third degree crimes in New Jersey and circumstances that may lead to a third degree charge:
- Assault by auto if the offense results in bodily injury
- Terroristic threats
- Aggravated assault
- Cocaine possession
- Heroin possession
- Possession of some other controlled dangerous substances CDS
- Drug distribution (depending on the specific drug and the amount)
- Credit Card Fraud
- Obtaining CDS by Fraud
- Shoplifting and other theft crimes when the amount is between $500 but less than $75,000
- Unlawful possession of a rifle or shotgun
Presumption of Non-incarceration for Third Degree Crimes
It is extremely important to know that third degree crimes entail a presumption of non-incarceration in New Jersey. This means that if a third degree charge is your first offense, you can likely resolve your case through a diversionary program like Pretrial Intervention (PTI) or Drug Court. You could also be sentenced to probation instead of going to jail. It is imperative to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can explain all of your options and work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact New Jersey Third Degree Criminal Defense Lawyers for More Information
If you have been charged with a third degree crime in New Jersey, The Tormey Law Firm is a team of highly skilled criminal defense attorneys who handle third degree charges in courts across the state on a regular basis. Contact our offices in Morristown today at (908) 336-5008 or online for a free consultation. We serve Parsippany, Mount Olive, Randolph, Roxbury, Rockaway, Madison and throughout New Jersey.