What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

The traditional definition of a felony is a crime that is punishable by a year or more in jail. A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by imprisonment of less than one year. Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. In New Jersey there are different degrees of Felonies:

First degree criminal offenses:
If found guilty of a 1st-degree offense such as murder, aggravated sexual assault, or drug distribution (large quantities) you will be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

Second degree criminal offenses:
If convicted of robbery without a weapon, certain sexual assaults, aggravated assault, distribution of smaller quantities of drugs, or another 2nd-degree crime you will be sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison.

Third degree criminal offenses:
If found guilty of possession of cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin, possession of a handgun, certain thefts, aggravated assault, or another third-degree crime you may be sentenced to serve up to 5 years in prison.

Fourth degree criminal offenses:
Unauthorized use of a vehicle, some charges involving assault and threat crimes or possession of marijuana, criminal sexual contact, or another 4th-degree crime you may be sentenced to serve up to 18 months in prison.

Municipal/Disorderly Persons Offenses:
In New Jersey lesser offenses are heard by the Municipal Court in the township, city, or municipality where the offense allegedly took place. If convicted of possession of marijuana, shoplifting, simple assault, harassment, or disorderly conduct you may be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail.

What is the role of the grand jury?

The grand jury decides whether there is sufficient evidence to indict a suspect and continue the criminal proceedings against him or her. The indictment is the formal process of charging a person with a crime. The grand jury reviews the evidence and may hear testimony in deciding whether to indict someone, but the grand jury makes no decision about guilt or innocence. All states use the grand jury system to some extent, though there may be differences in procedures and number of jurors.

What is the role of the prosecutor?

The prosecutor is the attorney who represents the federal, state or local government in a case against a criminal defendant. The title of the prosecutor varies by jurisdiction, but some common titles include district attorney, county attorney, city attorney, United States attorney and state attorney. The prosecutor has the public duty to punish those committing crimes, balanced with the duty to fairly try such individuals.

What is the difference between probation and parole?

Probation is a type of criminal sentence that allows a person to stay in the community rather than serve time in prison, as long as he or she complies with certain conditions, such as regularly reporting to a probation officer, refraining from alcohol and drugs and not committing further crimes. Parole is the supervised release of a prisoner from incarceration into the community before the end of his or her sentence. Conditions of parole are similar to those of probation.

What is restitution in the criminal context?

Depending on the applicable federal or state laws, part of a criminal sentence may include the payment of restitution to the victim or victims for their related losses. Restitution may include compensation for property damage or loss, medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost income or funeral expenses. Part of the philosophy behind criminal restitution is to give the criminal offender a direct part in making things whole with his or her victim.

What is white collar crime?

White collar crime refers generally to nonviolent financial crimes involving fraud or other dishonesty committed in business or commercial contexts. Examples include insider trading, embezzlement and tax evasion. White collar crime is sometimes described as “paper crime” or crime that is committed in white collar workplaces as opposed to jobs in blue collar industries.

General Information

Seeing those lights flashing behind you is an all to common feeling of anxiety. Sometimes it leads to major consequences and can lead to a loss of your driving privileges.

Many people just assume that if I’m drunk I’m sunk. Do not assume that there is nothing that can be done to defend a DWI or a traffic ticket. A common reaction is: what can an attorney do for me? Seeing that the consultation is free why not inquire and find out. You’re not the first person to make this mistake. In fact many others, including well known people, have gotten a DWI. The important thing is to keep your cool and get good legal representation. Here at the Riviere Advocacy Firm, LLC we can advise you legally and formulate a defense to your DWI charge. The only scientific way to determine whether a driver is under the influence is through blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Your BAC can be tested with a simple Breathalyzer test. The Breathalyzer tests in New Jersey are not always correct and sometimes make mistakes just like human beings.

In fact the police administering the Breathalyzers also make mistakes. Call the firm today and we will investigate all possible mistakes that may have been made in processing your DWI/DUI charge. If our firm takes your case, it is because we believe we can improve your position. Our firm will examine all records that we obtain through discovery, carefully examining if there was proof of intoxication and whether the blood or breath test was accurate. If you refused the Breathalyzer, we will explain how that affects your driving record.

If you are experiencing a problem with your driving privileges due to a recent driving infraction to include DWI, speeding, etc., our firm can help you maintain those privileges; we can help restore those same privileges. I have included a schedule of the points that me be placed on your license below. Scroll down to see what your points consequences you may be facing.

NJSA Point Schedule

NJSA Section Offense Points
New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway
27:23-29 Moving against traffic 2
27:23-29 Improper passing 4
27:23-29 Unlawful use of median strip 2
All roads and highways
39:3-20 Operating constructor vehicle in excess of 45 mph 3
39:4-14.3 Operating motorized bicycle on a restricted highway 2
39:4-14.3d More than one person on a motorized bicycle 2
39:4-35 Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk 2
39:4-36 Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk; passing a vehicle yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk 2
39:4- 41 Driving through safety zone 2
39:4-52 Racing on highway 5
39:4-55 Improper action or omission on grades and curves 2
39:4-57 Failure to observe direction of officer 2
39:4-66 Failure to stop vehicle before crossing sidewalk 2
39:4-66.1 Failure to yield to pedestrians or vehicles while entering or leaving highway 2
39:4-66.2 Driving on public or private property to avoid a traffic sign or signal 2
39:4-71 Operating a motor vehicle on a sidewalk 2
39:4-80 Failure to obey direction of officer 2
39:4-81 Failure to observe traffic signals 2
39:4-82 Failure to keep right 2
39:4-82.1 Improper operating of vehicle on divided highway or divider 2
39:4-83 Failure to keep right at intersection 2
39:4-84 Failure to pass to right of vehicle proceeding in opposite direction 5
39:4-85 Improper passing on right or off roadway 4
39:4-85.1 Wrong way on a one-way street 2
39:4-86 Improper passing in no passing zone 4
39:4-87 Failure to yield to overtaking vehicle 2
39:4-88 Failure to observe traffic lanes 2
39:4-89 Tailgating 5
39:4-90 Failure to yield at intersection 2
39:4-90.1 Failure to use proper entrances to limited access highways 2
39:4-91-92 Failure to yield to emergency vehicles 2
39:4-96 Reckless driving 5
39:4-97 Careless driving 2
39:4-97a Destruction of agricultural or recreational property 2
39:4-97.1 Slow speed blocking traffic 2
39:4-97.2 Driving in an unsafe manner (points only for third or subsequent offense within five years of most recent 39:4-97.2 conviction) 4
39:4-98 Exceeding maximum speed 1-14 mph over limit 2
Exceeding maximum speed 15-29 mph over limit 4
Exceeding maximum speed 30 mph or more over limit 5
39:4-105 Failure to stop for traffic light 2
39:4-115 Improper turn at traffic light 3
39:4-119 Failure to stop at flashing red signal 2
39:4-122 Failure to stop for police whistle 2
39:4-123 Improper right or left turn 3
39:4-124 Improper turn from approved turning course 3
39:4-125 Improper u-turn 3
39:4-126 Failure to give proper signal 2
39:4-127 Improper backing or turning in street 2
39:4-127.1 Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing 2
39:4-127.2 Improper crossing of bridge 2
39:4-128 Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing by certain vehicles 2
39:4-128.1 Improper passing of school bus 5
39:4-128.4 Improper passing of frozen dessert truck 4
39:4-129 Leaving the scene of an accident – no personal injury 2
Personal injury 8
39:4-144 Failure to observe stop or yield signs 2
39:5C-1 Racing on highway 5
39:5D-4 Moving violation committed out-of-state 2

Surcharges: Why do I get surcharges?

Your record is reviewed every time points are added to it. If you accumulate six or more points within three years from your last posted violation, you will receive a $150 surcharge plus $25 for each additional point. Additional surcharges may also apply:

  • $100 for driving without a license
  • $250 for driving with a suspended license
  • $100 for failure to insure a moped
  • $250 for operating an uninsured vehicle
  • $1,000 for DWI, 3 years
  • $1,000 for Refusal to take breathalyzer test, 3 years

If you do not pay your surcharges, MVC will suspend your driving privileges indefinitely and take action in the State Superior Court.