Morristown Criminal Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges in Morristown, if you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), or if you or your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, you need to hire an experienced defense attorney. The prosecutors in Morristown aggressively pursue severe penalties in cases involving adult and juvenile defendants, and a conviction could impact all aspects of your (or your child’s) life for years – if not decades – to come.
Consider this: In New Jersey, all crimes carry the potential for jail time. A conviction for a petty disorderly persons offense, which is the lowest-level offense under New Jersey law, can land you in jail for up to 30 days with a $500 fine. If you have been charged with an indictable offense (which is roughly comparable to a felony in other states), you could be facing multiple years in prison and fines you will have to work to pay off for the rest of your life.
Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Gorman Can Fight Your Criminal, DUI or Juvenile Charges
Attorney Scott Gorman represents individuals charged with serious criminal offenses, DUI and juvenile offenses in Morristown. Regardless of the circumstances involved in your case, you have defenses available, and Scott can use his knowledge and experience to protect you to the greatest extent possible. Scott regularly defends clients who are facing charges for:
Facing domestic violence charges in Morristown is unlike facing charges for any other type of criminal offense. The consequences can be swift and severe; and, if you fail to assert an effective defense, you can lose certain rights even before your criminal trial.
The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice defines domestic violence as the commission of certain types of crimes against spouses, partners, children or other household members. This includes the crimes of:
- Simple assault
- Aggravated assault
- Child abuse
- Child endangerment
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Violating a domestic violence injunction
Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman represents individuals charged with all types of New Jersey drug crimes.. This includes cultivation, manufacturing, trafficking and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, prescription pills and other drugs. If you are struggling with substance abuse or drug dependence, Scott may be able to have your case transferred to Drug Court, where sentencing focuses on treatment rather than punishment.
Although DUI is classified as a traffic offense in New Jersey rather than a crime, a conviction can still mean jail time, substantial fines, loss of your driving privileges, and other severe penalties. Even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above 0.08 percent, you could still have a variety of defenses available.
While New Jersey’s juvenile justice system focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment, the consequences of being “adjudicated delinquent” are still significant. Potential sentences include detention, restitution, community service and counseling, and minors who have juvenile records can face various practical consequences as well. Attorney Scott Gorman defends juveniles in Morristown who are facing charges including:
- Simple or aggravated assault
- Drug crimes
- Sexual assault
- Shoplifting or theft
- Underage alcohol possession or consumption
Other Crimes Handled by Our Top Morristown Criminal Attorney
With extensive experience in criminal court, Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman offers strategic, aggressive, and trial-ready representation for individuals facing all types of criminal charges. Whether you are facing jail time for a first-time disorderly persons offense or you are looking at substantial prison time for an indictable crime as a repeat offender, Scott will fight vigorously to preserve your freedom and protect you from the life-altering consequences of a criminal conviction.
Disorderly Persons Offenses vs. Indictable Offenses in New Jersey
In New Jersey, crimes are classified as either “disorderly persons offenses” or “indictable offenses.” These classifications are similar to misdemeanors and felonies in other states. Disorderly persons offenses are further broken down into two classes of offenses, while there are four “degrees” of indictable crimes in New Jersey.
Penalties for Disorderly Persons Offenses (Misdemeanors) in New Jersey
Minor offenses are prosecuted as either disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses – with petty disorderly persons offenses being the least serious. However, these offenses still carry the potential for fines and jail time, and you will want to speak with a Bergen County criminal attorney if you have been charged with any type of crime:
- Disorderly Persons Offenses – Up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
- Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses – Up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine
Penalties for Indictable Offenses (Felonies) in New Jersey
Indictable offenses are the felony-level crimes in New Jersey. Maximum prison sentences start at 18 months for fourth-degree crimes and go all the way up to life behind bars. The potential fines for indictable offenses range widely as well – from $10,000 for a fourth-degree indictable offense to $200,000 for a first-degree crime:
- Fourth-Degree Indictable Offense – Up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Third-Degree Indictable Offense – Three to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine
- Second-Degree Indictable Offense – Five to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine
- First-Degree Indictable Offense – 10 to 20 years in prison and a $200,000 fine (for most crimes; the most-serious felonies carry up to 30 years in prison or life behind bars)
New Jersey Terms of Imprisonment
Under New Jersey law, criminal offenses are broken down as first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree crimes, with the first-degree being the most serious offenses. These crimes are commonly referred to as “felonies” in other states. In general, first-degree crimes are punishable by terms of incarceration of between ten and twenty years. Second-degree crimes carry terms of incarceration of five to ten years. The range of terms of incarceration for third-degree crimes is between three and five years. Finally, fourth degree crimes may result in up to eighteen months in State Prison.
Not every conviction results in a term of incarceration that is consistent with these ranges. Your attorney may be able to convince a sentencing judge that a reduced term of imprisonment or no imprisonment at all is appropriate given the particular circumstances of your case.
A Morristown Criminal Attorney Can Help You Fight Financial Penalties
The potential fines associated with crimes can range from the substantial to the astronomical. In general, the maximum fines for various crimes are as follows: $200,000 for a first-degree crime, $150,000 for a second-degree crime, $15,000 for a third-degree crime, and $10,000 for a fourth-degree crime. These fines are in addition to other mandatory assessments such as mandatory payments to the Victims of Crime Compensation Board and the Safe Neighborhoods Services Fund. Also, if your crime involves one or more victims, you may be required to pay compensation for the victims’ financial loss that was related to the crime.
Our Morristown Criminal Lawyer Explains Some of Your Potential Defenses
Whether you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense or you are awaiting trial on multiple felony-level charges, you need to put together a comprehensive and cohesive defense strategy. While there are many potential defenses to criminal charges in New Jersey, not all of these defenses apply in all cases. In order to give yourself the best chance of securing a “not guilty” verdict (or avoiding trial all together), you need to present the right defenses the right way.
When you choose The Gorman Law Firm, Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman will use his experience to build and execute a defense strategy focused on the specific facts of your case. Depending on exactly what those facts are, some of the defenses he may be able to assert on your behalf include:
In many cases, one of the best ways to prevent the prosecution from meeting its burden of proof is by showing that you were somewhere else (or with someone else) when the alleged crime was committed.
2. Self-Defense or Defense of Others
In certain cases involving allegations of domestic violence and other violent offenses, it will be possible to assert self-defense or defense of others. These defenses focus not on challenging the allegation that you engaged in criminal conduct, but instead on demonstrating that your conduct was justified under the circumstances involved.
3. Non-Voluntary Intoxication
Non-voluntary intoxication is a defense that can be asserted in various circumstances involving alcohol, prescription medications and other drugs.
4. Diminished Capacity
The defense of diminished capacity is similar to the defense of non-voluntary intoxication in that it can provide an excuse for engaging in conduct that would otherwise be criminal.
5. Duress or Necessity
The same is true for the defenses of duress and necessity. Duress involves being forced to engage in criminal conduct by someone else. Necessity involves breaking the law because you had no choice but to do so.
6. Lack of Evidence
If the prosecution doesn’t have the evidence it needs to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then it cannot meet its burden of proof and the jury cannot convict you.
7. Inadmissible Evidence Will be Blocked by Your Morristown Criminal Attorney
The same is true if the prosecution has evidence but its evidence is legally inadmissible. This could be the case, for example, if the police searched you without a warrant or solicited a confession without first reading your rights.
8. False Allegations
If you have been falsely accused by the alleged victim (or anyone else), then demonstrating that the allegations are false could be all that is needed to secure an acquittal.
9. Prosecutorial Miscues
From presenting surprise charges or evidence to violating your protection against double jeopardy or ex post facto law enforcement, there are various prosecutorial miscues that can provide defenses to criminal charges as well.
10. Other Constitutional Violations
Finally, if the police or prosecutors violated any of your other constitutional rights, a Morristown criminal attorney will be able to use the violation to protect you against an unjust conviction or sentence.
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs): Protecting Your Rights and Your Freedom
When can you have your criminal record expunged under New Jersey law?
In New Jersey, most criminal convictions become eligible for expungement 6 years after the completion of your sentence (including payment of all fines). However, there are some exceptions, and there are various circumstances that can prevent a person from being eligible to file. Getting your New Jersey criminal record expunged can truly be a life-changing experience; and, if you believe that your conviction is eligible, we encourage you to contact us for more information.
Should I still hire a Morristown criminal attorney if I know I am guilty?
Regardless of the circumstances of your case, you should never assume that you will be found guilty in court. The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and there are numerous hurdles that stand in the way of securing a conviction. Due to the severe consequences of being convicted, you need to do everything possible to protect yourself, and this starts with hiring an experienced Morristown criminal defense attorney. In addition, your attorney can negotiate to reduce the penalties that you will face.
What are the steps in a criminal case in Morristown?
The steps in a criminal case can vary depending on the particular circumstances involved in a case and how the case progresses (i.e. if you are able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain or your lawyer needs to take your case to trial). Additionally, certain events (such as the State’s attempt to introduce inadmissible evidence) may require your Morristown criminal lawyer to take additional steps in order to protect you. Generally speaking, however, the steps in a criminal case are:
- First appearance
- Pre-indictment proceedings
- Plea bargaining
- Seeking placement in a diversionary program
- Pre-sentence investigation
If I plead guilty to a crime, will this help reduce my sentence?
While many people believe that pleading guilty and therefore “accepting responsibility” for their actions will result in a reduced sentence, this is not necessarily the case. Moreover, regardless of the circumstances at hand, you should never assume that you will be found guilty in court. Before you make any decisions that could jeopardize your future, you need to discuss your case with an experienced Morristown criminal defense lawyer.
What should I do if there is a warrant out for my arrest?
If there is a warrant out for your arrest, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer immediately. In most cases, it will be in your best interests to turn yourself in to the police rather than waiting to be arrested (which will happen eventually), and your defense attorney will be able to negotiate the terms of your surrender in advance. If you do not surrender, you run the risk of being arrested anywhere at any time, including at work or while you are spending time with your children.
Can the police search my car or home without a warrant?
In some circumstances, yes, the police can conduct a warrantless search in Morristown. However, there are a variety of potential issues with warrantless searches, and, if the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights, you may be able to have key evidence suppressed from your case.
How much does it cost to hire a criminal defense attorney in Morristown?
While you will need to pay your attorney’s legal fees, the costs of mounting a successful defense will almost always pale in comparison to the consequences of facing a conviction without legal representation. During your free initial consultation, we will be happy to discuss the potential costs involved in engaging our firm as well as the risks involved in going to court unrepresented.
Come to Our Office for a Free Consultation with a Morristown Criminal Attorney
If you need legal representation in Morristown for a criminal, DUI or juvenile case, attorney Scott Gorman is here to protect you. Scott has more than a decade of experience fighting for clients in criminal, municipal, and family courts. Scott can help you understand what is at risk in your case, and he can defend you by all legal means available. Do not let one mistake alter the course of your life. Call 973-796-3800 now to discuss your case with Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman for free.