Which Crimes are Felonies in New Jersey?
Posted by Scott Gorman - December 17, 2021

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in New Jersey, you might be wondering whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony. While facing any type of criminal charge is serious, felonies carry greater penalties than misdemeanors, and being labeled a “felon” can negatively impact all aspects of your life. So, which crimes are felonies in New Jersey? Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman explains:

New Jersey Does Not Label Crimes as Felonies and Misdemeanors

Unlike most states, New Jersey does not label crimes as felonies and misdemeanors. So, technically, there are no “felonies” under New Jersey law. Instead, felony-level offenses are called “indictable crimes,” and misdemeanor-level offenses are called “disorderly persons offenses” or “petty disorderly persons offenses.”

While knowing this is important for understanding your criminal case, there isn’t a practical difference between facing prosecution for an indictable crime in New Jersey and facing prosecution for a felony in another state. The penalties for indictable crimes start at 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine, and they can increase all the way up to life behind bars. Indictable crimes can carry other penalties as well; and, while some indictable crimes are eligible for expungement in New Jersey, many are not.

Examples of Common Felony-Level Charges in New Jersey

Similar to felonies in other states, New Jersey law establishes different “degrees” of indictable crimes. In New Jersey, there are four degrees of indictable crimes, with first-degree crimes being the most serious. Here are some examples of common charges in each degree:

  • Fourth-Degree Indictable Crimes – Marijuana possession (limited quantities), forgery, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, cyber harassment, aggravated assault, lewdness and stalking.
  • Third-Degree Indictable Crimes – Drug possession (limited quantities), arson, motor vehicle theft, aggravated criminal sexual contact, and burglary.
  • Second-Degree Indictable Crimes – Sexual assault, aggravated arson, robbery, and reckless vehicular homicide.
  • First-Degree Indictable Crimes – Aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault of a child under 13, armed robbery, aggravated manslaughter, murder and kidnapping.

It is important to note that certain factors can elevate crimes to higher degrees in many cases. For example, while aggravated assault is a fourth-degree indictable offense in most cases, using a deadly weapon, assaulting a police officer and other factors can elevate aggravated assault to a third-degree or second-degree indictable crime. These crimes carry significantly enhanced penalties, and they are subject to different defenses. As a result, it is extremely important to know the specific charge you are facing—and this is just one of several reasons why you should discuss your case with an experienced Morristown criminal attorney right away.

Arrested in NJ? Talk to Morristown Criminal Attorney Scott Gorman for Free

Have you been arrested for a crime in New Jersey? If so, Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman can help you understand what is at stake in your case, and he can use his experience to help protect you. To get started with a free and confidential consultation, call 973-796-3800 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

Published in Categories: Criminal Defense