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What Happens After Someone Pleads Guilty or is Found Guilty in NJ?
Once someone pleads or is found guilty of a crime in New Jersey the case will then proceeds to the sentencing phase. It is during the sentencing phase where the individual will learn their fate. If the individual is to be sentenced on an indictable crime, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony, then a formal sentencing date will be set, which is typically at least sixty days out. The main reason for the delay is so that a pre-sentence report can be developed. This report will highlight the facts and circumstances surrounding the final charge and give an in-depth evaluation on who the individual to be sentenced. This report will be one of the main tools the judge reviews in order to determine what the appropriate sentence is.
However, if the individual is to be sentenced on a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) then the sentence will take place immediately. Regardless of the charge that the individual is to be sentenced on, the Judge will listen to the arguments of both defense counsel and the prosecutor as well as comments from the victim if one exists. They will then balance the aggravating and mitigating factors and determine what the appropriate sentence is, whether it be custodial sentence, probation or simply fines and penalties. For more information on the sentencing procedures in New Jersey, please see below.
What Factors Will the Judge Look at When Determining Sentence
More often then not the type of charge and its degree could strongly indicate what the sentence could be. For example, if the individual pleads or is found guilty of a crime of the first or second degree there is a presumption of incarceration, which means more likely than not the judge will impose a term of prison. However, if the individual pleads or is found guilty of a crime of the third or fourth degree there is a presumption against incarceration, provided they have no prior criminal history. But that non-presumption does not include a county jail sentence, which could be up to 364 days.
In addition to the type of charge, there are several “acts” that could also dictate the sentence as well, like the Graves Act, the No Early Release Act and Brimage. Each one of these “acts” require that the individual be sentenced to a term of imprisonment and that the term must include a parole ineligibility period. Here are some helpful resources for review when it comes to potential sentences in New Jersey:
As indicated above, the degree of the charge can play a major role in the underlying sentence. So, here is some helpful resources on the different degrees of crimes in New Jersey.
- Indictable Offense (felony)
- Disorderly Persons Offense (misdemeanor)
- Township Ordinance
- First Degree Felony
- Second Degree Felony
- Third Degree Felony
- Fourth Degree Felony
Local Criminal Defense Attorneys in Mercer County NJ
If you have been charged with a criminal offense and would like to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys, then please contact our Hamilton office at 609-789-0779. Our Mercer County criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to aggressively challenge the evidence presented against our clients in order to achieve a desirable outcome. We serve all of Mercer County, including West Windsor, East Windsor, Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Robbinsville, Lawrence, Princeton and Hightstown. Our initial consultations are always free of costs, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.