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NJ Understanding Criminal Sentencing and Probation

A Person who is arrested and charged with a crime does not automatically go to jail or prison. You must be convicted of the crime. But even when incarceration is a potential penalty for the crime you allegedly committed, there are alternatives. Probation is one such alternative. But getting probation depends on the charge, the facts, and the circumstances as well as the persistence and the resourcefulness of the Defense Attorney.

If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, find a seasoned criminal defense attorney who understands what you are up against and will work with you to obtain the best outcome possible. Call Law Office of Charles Dawkins Jr., LLC at 908-962-9929 today, or simply fill out our online submission form to better understand the charges against you and how you can fight them. 

What Constitutes Probation in New Jersey?

Probation in New Jersey is a court order that allows an offender to serve their sentence in the community under supervision, rather than in jail. In exchange, the offender must comply with the conditions of the probation order. The court sets the specific conditions and length of the order, subject to any relevant laws.  

Probation is administered by probation officers who monitor and support offenders. The goal of probation is rehabilitation. For this reason, it's usually ordered for first-time or less serious offenses. 

Probation is different from parole. While parole also involves community supervision, it's granted by a parole board after an offender has served part of their jail sentence. Parole is a form of early release whereas probation is part of the court's initial sentence.

Generally in New Jersey a presumption of Non-Incarceration in New Jersey if a person is convicted of a third or fourth degree, who has no prior criminal conviction. N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1e.  The Judge always has discretion after hearing the criterion set forth in the sentencing guidelines.

How is Probation Ordered in New Jersey?

A court can order probation in one of two ways. Firstly, it can give an offender probation instead of jail time. The court does this by sentencing the offender to a suspended period of imprisonment and probation. If the offender completes their probation, they won't have to serve any time in jail. 

Alternatively, a court can order an offender to be released on probation after serving some time in jail. This usually leads to a reduction in the amount of jail time an offender is required to serve.

General Conditions of New Jersey Probation

The specific conditions of probation depend on the nature and seriousness of the offense and the personal circumstances of the offender. 

Under a probation order, a court may order an offender pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:45-1 et seq. :

  • Support his dependents and meet his family responsibilities
  • Find and continue gainful employment
  • To undergo available medical or psychiatric treatment and to enter and remain in a specified institution, when required for that purpose.
  • To pursue a prescribed secular course of study or vocational training.
  • To attend or reside in a facility established for the instruction, recreation, or residence for persons on probation
  • To refrain from frequenting unlawful or disreputable places or consorting with disreputable persons.
  • Not to have in possession any firearm or other dangerous weapon unless granted permission
  • To remain within the jurisdiction of the court and to notify the court or the probation officer of any change in his address or his employment.
  • To report as directed to the court or the probation officer, to permit the officer to visit his home, and to answer all reasonable inquiries by the probation officer.
  • To pay a fine
  • To satisfy any other conditions reasonably related to the rehabilitation of the defendant and not unduly restrictive of his liberty or incompatible with his freedom of conscience
  • To require the performance of community-related services
  • To be subjected to Internet access conditions pursuant to relevant subsection of Statute.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are many options available to a court when deciding the conditions of a probation order. Sex Offenders have additional restrictions that the Court may Order.

Violations of Probation in New Jersey

There can be serious consequences if an offender doesn't comply with the conditions of their probation. 

For minor or first-time violations, a probation officer may issue a formal warning. But more serious breaches will require the offender to reappear before a judge, who can order further probation, large fines, revoke the probation order, or send them to jail. 

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer in New Jersey?

If you are at risk of being sentenced to probation, it's important to seek the assistance of an experienced Law Office of Charles Dawkins Jr., LLC criminal defense lawyer. While probation may be preferable to jail, the conditions can be onerous and probation orders can last for many years. A criminal defense lawyer can make submissions on your behalf to the court to help you get better conditions under a probation order. 

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in New Jersey Today

If you are accused of violating a probation order, you can face serious penalties and are at risk of being sent to jail. Here at Law Office of Charles Dawkins Jr., LLC, we will represent you and defend you against these allegations to help you continue to serve your sentence in the community. Call 908-962-9929 today to schedule a Consultation to learn more.

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