What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony in New Jersey?

Individuals who commit crimes can face significant penalties. These penalties can vary depending on the type of crime they commit. There are different levels of criminal charges, including felonies, disorderly persons, petty disorderly persons, and ordinances. Disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses can also be referred to as misdemeanors. While each crime has its own consequences, they are all treated very seriously. If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor, it is important to retain the services of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to represent your case.

What is a Felony?

In New Jersey, felonies are broken down into four separate categories, called degrees. The first degree is the most serious kind of crime while the fourth degree is the least serious. The different degrees of felony charges and the penalties that are associated with them are as follows:

  • First-degree crimes: This can include crimes such as rape, manslaughter, and murder. They can result in a prison sentence between 10 years to life in addition to a fine up to $200,000.
  • Second-degree crimes: This can include crimes such as aggravated arson, sex crimes, white-collar crimes, gun crimes, aggravated assault, and drug crimes. They can result in a prison sentence between five to 10 years and a fine up to $150,000.
  • Third-degree crimes: This can include crimes such as possession of a controlled substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, certain assault offenses, and drug crimes. They can result in a prison sentence between three to five years in addition to a fine up to $15,000.
  • Fourth-degree crimes: This can include crimes such as theft offenses, contempt of court, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. They can result in a prison sentence up to 18 months as well as a fine up to $10,000.

What is a Misdemeanor

In New Jersey, we do not have offenses called misdemeanors. Instead our less serious offenses are called disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses. These charges can be described as follows:

  • Disorderly Persons: This can include crimes such as simple assault, shoplifting, possession of marijuana under 50 grams, and resisting arrest. It can result in up to six months in jail as well as a fine up to $1000. 
  • Petty Disorderly Persons: This can include disorderly conduct and harassment. It can result in up to 30 days in jail as well as a fine up to $500.

Contact our Firm

If you or someone you know would like to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact REM Katcher Law Group P.C. today.