Indictable Offense: A Terrifying Synonym For Felony

Indictable Offense

An indictable offense is just a big fancy word

Indictable offenses are felony crimes.

If you are charged with an indictable offense, you will face prison time.

New Jersey has four categories of indictable offenses.

These categories are organized by degree.

For example, First-Degree, Second-Degree, Third-Degree & Fourth-Degree crimes.

Here’s an easy rhyme to remember which degree is the most severe.

First is the worst! See how it rhymes?

First-degree indictable offenses start with a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years in prison.

Check out this New Jersey Indictable Offense Chart

Indictable offenses and the grand jury

Before your indictable offense can move to trial, the government has to show the evidence they have against you to a grand jury.

The grand jury is made up of a group of “regular” people who will examine the evidence for your arrest and decide whether the government has “enough” of a basis (evidence) to bring “formal charges”.

A grand jury does not decide guilt or innocence.

Their role is to make sure that the government isn’t harassing citizens & making arrests willy nilly.

The grand jury is simply asked to answer the following question:
Does the government have enough evidence to make the arrest?

This standard is called “Probable Cause”.

In other words, the grand jury must determine if enough probable cause exists to charge you with the crime(s) that the government believes that you committed.

Once the grand jury votes in the government’s favor, your felony charges become official.

When the grand jury approves the indictment, this is called a “True Bill”.

When the grand jury rejects the indictment, this is called a “No Bill”.

If the grand jury No Bills the indictment in your case, the government can try again.

Show me an example of an Indictment

If the grand jury “True Bills” your indictable offense, it will return a document called an “Indictment”.

An indictment is the formal charging document in your case.

It will contain the following:

  1. Jurisdictional information about where you committed the alleged crime;
  2. Your first and last name;
  3. The date(s) when you allegedly committed the crime;
  4. The complaint number, prosecutor file number, and indictment number;
  5. The elements of the crime that you are alleged to have committed;
  6. The section of the criminal code where the crime can be found;
  7. The number of crimes you are being charged with referred to as counts.

 

Sample New Jersey Indictment

important Fact:

Grand jury proceedings are closed proceedings.
You cannot participate and tell your side of the story.
Under New Jersey law, the government needs to
provide “exculpatory” evidence for the grand jury to consider.
This means that good evidence about you or weak government evidence 
must be presented for the grand jury to consider.

See State v Hogan 144 NJ 216 (1996)

How long does the government have
to charge me with an Indictable Offense?

In the legal world, the time limit is called a criminal statute of limitations.

Under New Jersey law (NJSA – 2C:1-6), prosecutions must start within a certain period of time.

Below please find the time limits as they apply to each crime:

  • murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, terrorism, widespread injury or damage
    No statute of limitations
  • Bribery of government official, official misconduct, other related offenses:
    7 years
  • Every other indictable offense:
    5 years
  • Disorderly offense or petty disorderly offense:
    1 year
  • Criminal sexual contact or endangering the welfare of a child with the victim under 18:
    within 5 years after victim turns 18 or 2 years of discovery of the offense by the victim, whichever is later

Non-Indictable Offenses

In New Jersey, indictable offenses are crimes.

Non-indictable offenses are called Disorderly Person (DP) offenses, & Petty Disorderly Person (PDP) offenses.

An indictable offense is referred to as a felony in other jurisdictions & usually involves a prison sentence.

A disorderly persons offense is called a misdemeanor in other jurisdictions and the maximum jail time is 6 months and a fine up to $1,000.

Examples include:

Petty disorderly person offenses are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $500.

Read more:
Disorderly Persons Offenses & Municipal Ordinances: What’s The Difference?

  • Get Help With Your Indictable Offense

Meet with us to discuss your case, we offer FREE consultations.

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How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

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You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

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How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.

Reasonable Articulable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.

When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.

A mere “hunch” is not enough.

In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses. Prison terms start at a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with a 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. These cases can get “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.