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Assertive New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Fights for Fair Sentencing

Respected Garden State attorney works toward no-jail or low-jail sentences for clients

In 2004, the New Jersey Commission to Review Sentencing was established with the goal of adopting sentencing guidelines that promote fairness to defendants while protecting public safety. When a defendant is convicted in New Jersey, the presiding judge abides by the Code of Criminal Justice but can make a punishment less or more severe depending on numerous considerations relating to the crime and to the defendant. At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we are dedicated advocates for our New Jersey clients through every step of the criminal justice system, and we know how to make the most persuasive case for leniency based on careful analysis and presentation of mitigating factors.

Experienced law firm explains possible punishments for defendants

In New Jersey, a felony-level crime is called an “indictable offense.” The state’s Sentencing Guidelines provide for four levels of severity:

  • First degree crime — Possible prison term of 10 to 20 years
  • Second degree crime — Possible prison term of 5 to 10 years
  • Third degree crime — Possible prison term of 3 to 5 years
  • Fourth degree crime — Up to 18 months in prison

Prison is mandatory only for crimes of the first and second degree. Courts often spare defendants from prison sentences for third- and fourth-degree convictions, though exceptions are made if a judge believes imprisonment is necessary to protect the public. Sentences that involve aggravating factors are also more likely to include incarceration.

Non-indictable crimes are either disorderly persons offenses, carrying a jail term of up to six months, or petty disorderly persons offenses, punishable by up to 30 days.

Determined New Jersey defense lawyer argues for fair and reduced sentences

Except where a law imposes a mandatory minimum sentence for a crime, the New Jersey Sentencing Guidelines give judges have considerable discretion to reduce sentences based on mitigating factors, also known as extenuating circumstances. These can include:

  • The defendant’s status as a first-time offender
  • The defendant’s minor role in the crime
  • The victim’s comparative culpability
  • A lack of serious harm caused or threatened
  • Provocation, stress or emotional problems leading to the crime
  • The defendant’s past history of suffering abuse
  • Cooperation with authorities
  • The defendant’s remorse and conduct taken to right the wrong, such as victim compensation

Weighing against leniency are any aggravating factors cited by the prosecution, such as:

  • The victim suffered serious harm
  • The offense was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner
  • The offense involved a stolen motor vehicle
  • The victim was particularly vulnerable due to age, disability or some other reason
  • The victim was a law enforcement officer or other public servant
  • The defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence
  • The defendant was likely involved in organized crime
  • The defendant is a repeat offender or likely to become one

Prosecutors supply judges with a sentencing memorandum that typically will describe aggravating factors in vivid detail. It is essential to have your own advocate to give an equally forceful presentation of all positive circumstances that argue for sentence reduction. As experienced defense attorneys, we also prepare strong cases for leniency that we use in negotiating with prosecutors for a sentence reduction.

Contact a skilled New Jersey felony and misdemeanor defense attorney today

At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we make sure that all factors favoring a reduction of your sentence are presented to the prosecutor and to the court and are given due consideration. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, call us at 866-221-1270 or contact us online to arrange for your initial consultation with a qualified defense lawyer. We have offices in Marlton, Hackensack, Newark and New Brunswick.