If someone is found guilty of an indictable crime or even a disorderly persons offense, the court almost always has the discretion to impose a term of incarceration in state prison or the county jail. The page goes over the basics when it comes to jail terms. The starting point in educating someone on imprisonment for a criminal offense is the law in New Jersey authorizing this punishment is N.J.S. 2C:43-6. The following discussion and links to subtopics is intended to provide you with working knowledge on jail and prison sentences. Our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, offers an exceptional defense team that has decades of persuasive advocacy in avoiding and/or minimizing jail terms. A seasoned attorney on our staff, maybe one of our many former prosecutors, can assist you in a complimentary consultation at 973-710-1520.
Types of Terms of Imprisonment
New Jersey law provides for several varieties of prison terms. Each type is briefly discussed below and you may also refer to N.J.S. 2C:43-2 which sets forth the parameters in more detail.
• Ordinary Term of Imprisonment. This is what is often referred to as a flat sentence meaning that there are no stipulations as to the minimum amount that must be served. Assuming an individual does not have any violations while in custody, the actual amount of jail/prison time served will be much less, typically somewhere in the neighborhood of one-third of the sentence. A flat prison sentence is 10-20 years for a first degree, 5-10 years for a second degree, 0-5 years for a third degree, 0-18 months for a fourth degree, and 0-6 months for a disorderly persons offense. For more detail on ordinary terms, click here.
• Mandatory Term of Imprisonment. A mandatory term, also termed as one with a period of parole ineligibility, carries with it a minimum amount of time an individual must serve in prison before he/she can even be considered for parole or release. The biggest areas of criminal law where this arises are weapons offenses falling under the mandatory sentencing under the Graves Act, CDS distribution falling under the Brimage Guidelines, and violent crimes falling under No Early Release Act. Mandatory terms and parole ineligibility are discussed in depth by clicking here.
• Extended Term of Imprisonment. The normal prison terms previously set forth may be “extended”, in those instances set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7. In some instances, an individual is subject to an mandatory extended term, meaning that the court must impose the higher sentence. Sometime, the extended term is discretionary thereby permitting the sentencing judge to go either way on imposition of an enhanced prison time. A more detailed discussion on extended terms is available by clicking here.
How Does The Court Determine The Proper Jail Time To Impose?
N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1 sets forth the criteria for determining the appropriate jail/prison term in a given case. These are what are called the aggravating and mitigating factors, and these must be weighed in imposing a sentence within the range permitted by law. In this regard, it should be noted that the presumptive sentence for a first degree is 15 years, 7 years for a second degree, 4 years for a third degree, and 9 months for a fourth degree. In order to sentence an individual to less than the presumptive sentence for a particular crime, it must find that the aggravated factors are outweighed by the mitigating ones.
Our Newark Criminal Lawyers Can Help You Avoid Unnecessary Jail Time
An attorney who is highly skilled in criminal defense can prove extremely persuasive in avoiding prison or unnecessary incarceration. Our lawyers, many of whom are former prosecutors, are astute in presenting the very best arguments to minimize or eliminate imprisonment altogether. Give us a call at 877-710-1520 for immediate assistance or to set up an appointment in our Newark Office.