Third Degree Crimes in Kearny, New Jersey
Kearny is a suburb of Newark located in Hudson County, New Jersey. Some may be familiar with Kearny due to its nick-name “Soccer Town USA” resulting from a large influx of Scottish immigrants in the 1800’s who enjoyed the sport. Those of us in the 21st Century may be more familiar with Kearny because it was the site of filming of some scenes from the HBO series The Sopranos. While the site of filming, known as Satriale’s Pork Store, has since been razed to make way for a parking lot, Kearny is still a bustling municipality in Hudson County. In very real life, crime occurs daily in Kearny and the seriousness of the offenses range from disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors) to indictable (felony) crimes. Among the myriad of criminal acts which may lead to arrests and charges for people in Kearny, third degree indictable crimes reign supreme in the area of felony offenses. If you have been accused of a third degree crime in Kearny, New Jersey, it is important to understand where these crimes fit into the overall sentencing structure of the New Jersey criminal legal system. Your next step should then be to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who has intimate knowledge of the Hudson County Superior Court and the strategic defenses that can be used to successfully defend against third degree charges. Call (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with a skilled Kearny criminal defense lawyer at Proetta & Oliver today.
Facing Third Degree Crime Charges in Kearny NJ
All crimes in New Jersey are heard in the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense was committed. In other words, if the offense was committed in Kearny, your case will be heard in the Hudson County Superior Court. All third degree criminal cases in Kearny will be heard here, unless downgraded to the local Kearny Municipal Court. A third degree crime is what other states may refer to as a felony. In New Jersey, we refer to felonies as indictable crimes and they are categorized as either being of the first, second, third, or fourth degree. The degree of the crime is delineated in accordance with the seriousness of the offense. The more serious the offense, the higher the level criminal designation it will receive, and the more state prison time is attached if the defendant is eventually found guilty.
Third degree crimes are relatively lower-level indictable crimes in the overall structure of criminal charges. Unlike first and second crimes, if you have no criminal record, there is no presumption that you must be sentenced to state prison. It is important to note, however, that this does not mean you are not at risk of imprisonment. If you have a prior criminal history and are convicted of a third degree crime, you may be sentenced to 3-5 years of incarceration. Moreover, even if you have no criminal record, the court is statutorily authorized to incarcerate you in the county jail for up to 364 days or order a five-year term of probation. The court may also order mandatory minimum fines, the cost of DNA testing, probation supervision fees, up to $15,000 in discretionary fines (and more for drug charges), lab fees, and potentially a driver’s license suspension.
How does the State Prove a 3rd Degree Crime in Kearny?
Before you can ever be sentenced, the prosecutor must prove that you violated the law. A violation of the law requires the state to prove that you committed a prohibited act, coupled with one or more of the requisite mental elements, namely, purposely, knowingly, or recklessly. There are countless examples of conduct constituting third degree crimes, which may arise in situations involving car chases, fights, drug use or sale, theft or fraud, and domestic violence. In Kearny and beyond, common third degree crimes include aggravated assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 causing serious bodily injury), possession of a controlled dangerous substance (N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-10 possessing drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, and eluding (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2, fleeing from police in a car risking injury). Other frequently filed third degree complaints in Kearny include:
- Shoplifting: items valued between $500 and $75,000;
- Criminal mischief: causing damage to another’s property valued at $500 to $75,000;
- Theft: permanently depriving someone of their property valued at $500 to $75,000;
- Burglary: entering a home, business, or structure with the intention of committing a crime therein (typically theft);
- Uttering a forged instrument: opening a fake credit card account, signing a check that doesn’t belong to you, filling out a fake prescription to obtain drugs (controlled dangerous substances);
- Aggravated assault on a police officer: committing an act of assault on a law enforcement officer or another public servant
Charged with a Third Degree Crime in Kearny, will I go to Jail?
If you have been charged with a third degree crime, there are ways that the case can be handled aside from having a trial or being sentenced to jail. For the purposes of inclusiveness, we have provided some general resolutions for third degree crimes here. For instance, Pre-trial intervention may be available to you if you are a first-time offender. If so, the charges will be dismissed after you successfully complete the program. Additionally, if you have a drug problem which led to the commission of the offense, you may consider obtaining treatment which would not only help you with dependency issues, but also serves to demonstrate that you are on the road to recovery and do not present a danger to the public. Another diversionary program available to those who have a record is called Drug Court. If, after a drug evaluation it is determined that you have a substance abuse issue, you will be deemed clinically eligible and may be sentenced to the program instead of jail. Among its many benefits, Drug Court allows for the immediate expungement of your entire criminal record upon successful completion of the program. In many cases, neither of the above options are appropriate, but there may be other options such as probation, a downgrade to a lower level offense, or a hybrid of the two. In some situations, there are viable defenses that can be raised to get the case dismissed outright or after trial. An experienced criminal attorney at our firm will advise you of the available options for intelligently navigating your case.
3rd Degree Criminal Charges in Kearny, Now What?
To be sure that you know and can pursue any and all available avenues in your case, you should seek the advice of an attorney as soon as you are charged with a crime in Kearny. The avenues taken in resolving your case are unique to you, but the person you rely upon should be knowledgeable about criminal law, and experienced providing defense in Hudson County. Our team is here to explain the process to you and assist with achieving the best outcome in the face of third degree criminal charges in Hudson County Superior Court. Contact us at (201) 793-8018 for a free initial consultation today.