Misdemeanors and Disorderly
Person Offenses in NJ
A Felony is called a “crime” in New Jersey. A Misdemeanor is generally called a Disorderly Person’s offense in New Jersey.
New Jersey does not call criminal offenses felonies or misdemeanors. An offense which would be a felony in other states is simply called a “crime” in New Jersey. A lower misdemeanor type criminal matter is under the “Disorderly Person” offense.
The following is the law in New Jersey as of 2004:
2C:43-1. Degrees of Crimes. a. Crimes defined by this code are classified, for the purpose of sentence, into four degrees, as follows:
(1) Crimes of the first degree;
(2) Crimes of the second degree;
(3) Crimes of the third degree; and
(4) Crimes of the fourth degree.
A crime is of the first, second, third or fourth degree when it is so designated by the code. An offense, declared to be a crime, without specification of degree, is of the fourth degree.
b. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a crime defined by any statute of this State other than this code and designated as a high misdemeanor shall constitute for the purpose of sentence a crime of the third degree. Except as provided in sections 2C:1-4c. and 2C:1-5b. and notwithstanding any other provision of law, a crime defined by any statute of this State other than this code and designated as a misdemeanor shall constitute for the purpose of sentence a crime of the fourth degree.
2C:43-2. Sentence in accordance with code; authorized dispositions. a. Except as otherwise provided by this code, all persons convicted of an offense or offenses shall be sentenced in accordance with this chapter.
b. Except as provided in subsection a. of this section and subject to the applicable provisions of the code, the court may suspend the imposition of sentence on a person who has been convicted of an offense, or may sentence him as follows:
(1) To pay a fine or make restitution authorized by N.J.S. 2C:43-3 or P.L. 1997, c.253 (C. 2C:43-3.4 et al.); or
(2) To be placed on probation and, in the case of a person convicted of a crime, to imprisonment for a term fixed by the court not exceeding 364 days to be served as a condition of probation, or in the case of a person convicted of a disorderly persons offense, to imprisonment for a term fixed by the court not exceeding 90 days to be served as a condition of probation; or
(3) To imprisonment for a term authorized by sections 2C:11-3, 2C:43-5, 2C:43-6, 2C:43-7, and 2C:43-8 or 2C:44-5; or
(4) To pay a fine, make restitution and probation, or fine, restitution and imprisonment; or
(5) To release under supervision in the community or to require the performance of community-related service; or
(6) To a halfway house or other residential facility in the community, including agencies which are not operated by the Department of Human Services; or
(7) To imprisonment at night or on weekends with liberty to work or to participate in training or educational programs.
c. Instead of or in addition to any disposition made according to this section, the court may postpone, suspend, or revoke for a period not to exceed two years the driver’s license, registration certificate, or both of any person convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense in the course of which a motor vehicle was used. In imposing this disposition and in deciding the duration of the postponement, suspension, or revocation, the court shall consider the severity of the crime or offense and the potential effect of the loss of driving privileges on the person’s ability to be rehabilitated. Any postponement, suspension, or revocation shall be imposed consecutively with any custodial sentence.
d. This chapter does not deprive the court of any authority conferred by law to decree a forfeiture of property, suspend or cancel a license, remove a person from office, or impose any other civil penalty. Such a judgment or order may be included in the sentence.
e. The court shall state on the record the reasons for imposing the sentence, including its findings pursuant to the criteria for withholding or imposing imprisonment or fines under sections 2C:44-1 to 2C:44-3, where imprisonment is imposed, consideration of the defendant’s eligibility for release under the law governing parole and the factual basis supporting its findings of particular aggravating or mitigating factors affecting sentence.
f. The court shall explain the parole laws as they apply to the sentence and shall state:
(1) the approximate period of time in years and months the defendant will serve in custody before parole eligibility;
(2) the jail credits or the amount of time the defendant has already served;
(3) that the defendant may be entitled to good time and work credits; and
(4) that the defendant may be eligible for participation in the Intensive Supervision Program.
2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:
a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;
(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;
b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;
(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;
c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;
d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;
e. Any higher amount equal to double the pecuniary gain to the offender or loss to the victim caused by the conduct constituting the offense by the offender. In such case the court shall make a finding as to the amount of the gain or loss, and if the record does not contain sufficient evidence to support such a finding the court may conduct a hearing upon the issue. For purposes of this section the term “gain” means the amount of money or the value of property derived by the offender and “loss” means the amount of value separated from the victim or the amount of any payment owed to the victim and avoided or evaded and includes any reasonable and necessary expense incurred by the owner in recovering or replacing lost, stolen or damaged property, or recovering any payment avoided or evaded, and, with respect to property of a research facility, includes the cost of repeating an interrupted or invalidated experiment or loss of profits. The term “victim” shall mean a person who suffers a personal physical or psychological injury or death or incurs loss of or injury to personal or real property as a result of a crime committed against that person, or in the case of a homicide, the nearest relative of the victim. The terms “gain” and “loss” shall also mean, where appropriate, the amount of any tax, fee, penalty and interest avoided, evaded, or otherwise unpaid or improperly retained or disposed of;
f. Any higher amount specifically authorized by another section of this code or any other statute;
g. Up to twice the amounts authorized in subsection a., b., c. or d. of this section, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction of any tax offense defined in Title 54 of the Revised Statutes or Title 54A of the New Jersey Statutes, as amended and supplemented, or of any offense defined in chapter 20 or 21 of this code;
h. In the case of violations of chapter 35, any higher amount equal to three times the street value of the controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog. The street value for purposes of this section shall be determined pursuant to subsection e. of N.J.S. 2C:44-2.
The restitution ordered paid to the victim shall not exceed the victim’s loss, except that in any case involving the failure to pay any State tax, the amount of restitution to the State shall be the full amount of the tax avoided or evaded, including full civil penalties and interest as provided by law. In any case where the victim of the offense is any department or division of State government, the court shall order restitution to the victim. Any restitution imposed on a person shall be in addition to any fine which may be imposed pursuant to this section.
2C:43-8. Sentence of imprisonment for disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses A person who has been convicted of a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense may be sentenced to imprisonment for a definite term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 6 months in the case of a disorderly persons offense or 30 days in the case of a petty disorderly persons offense.