Six Things That Can Make Criminal Penalties More Severe
Being charged with any type of crime in Middlesex County is a serious matter. Even an otherwise minor offense could result in serious penalties and having an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney on side will make a big difference. We can investigate your case, review the evidence against you, and negotiate with law enforcement officials and prosecuting attorneys to have your charges reduced or dismissed. However, it is important to be aware that some cases are likely to be tried more aggressively than others and a conviction may result in enhanced penalties. In these cases, it is of the utmost importance to begin immediately strategizing a strong legal defense.
Factors That Increase Criminal Charges and Penalties
With any type of criminal charges, the New Jersey Statutes outline the penalties involved in the event of a conviction. These generally vary based on the exact type of crime committed, the circumstances involved, and the potential harm done. The following are six scenarios in which the penalties you could be facing are likely to be more severe:
- Committing an alleged crime when there is a victim involved. Violent offenses are generally more serious than non-violent crimes. Even if you did not intend for anyone to get hurt, the fact that someone did get hurt escalates the situation. For example, driving under the influence (DUI) is a fairly common charge that could result in fines and loss of driving privileges. However, injuring someone else while driving drunk could result in an automatic jail sentence.
- Committing an alleged crime against special victims. In Middlesex County, the Special Victims Unit handles crimes against children and sexual crimes against adults. These charges come with automatically heavier sentences. Other situations in which the type of victim involved increases the penalties include domestic violence, crimes against the elderly or vulnerable individuals, and crimes against a police officer or other government official.
- Having a weapon in your possession. Having a gun, knife, or other weapon in your possession at the time you are stopped or arrested for a crime increases the overall penalties you could face. For example, it could increase petty theft charges to armed robbery or add weapons violations to the other charges you face.
- Having prior offenses. Anytime you have a prior criminal record or have committed a previous offense, it will increase your penalties. You only get so many chances to avoid a jail sentence, whether the charge involves traffic violations or more serious criminal matters such as assault, burglary, or drug charges.
- Crossing state lines. Once a crime crosses state lines, federal authorities will then get involved. As a result, you could find yourself facing a mandatory minimum prison sentence. This is often the case with internet crimes, drug distribution, kidnapping, robbery, and other types of charges.
- Resisting arrest or not appearing in court. Any time you interact with law enforcement officials, you need to follow instructions. Not doing so could result in charges of resisting arrest, which is a serious criminal offense. It can escalate something as minor as a traffic ticket to a far more serious matter. As headlines about officer-involved shootings show, it could also put your health and safety in jeopardy. Be mindful that if you receive a summons to appear in court, not doing so could result in a warrant for your arrest being issued by the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office.
Get Our Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorney on Your Side
At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we believe the best defense begins early in your case. To get our Milltown criminal defense attorney working on your behalf, contact our office and request a consultation today.