…but this is my first offense your honor, why do I get sentenced to jail. I won’t get arrested again… In New Jersey, some criminal and motor vehicle offenses have mandatory sentencing consequences that a Judge must impose. If you are convicted (or plead guilty) to those offenses, the Judge is required to impose the sentence even if this is your first offense. Mitigating factors can be argued by your lawyer to try to lower the overall sentence. For example, to have the Judge impose ‘concurrent’ sentences on additional charges, rather than ‘consecutive’ sentences. However, if the statute requires a loss of license, or a term of imprisonment, you need to be prepared to serve that sentence, even on a first offense. In most cases, a Judge will not ‘stay’ the imposed sentence while you file an appeal of the conviction. If you do file an appeal, in many cases the Appellate Courts in NJ will similarly decline to stay the imposed sentence. It is imperative that before you make any decision on whether to take your chances at trial or to negotiate and accept the lowest plea agreement the prosecutor will offer, you discuss with your criminal defense attorney the mandatory sentences which you are exposed to by the charges you are facing, potential trial strategies, legal issues that can impact the likelihood of you facing a conviction after trial.
SPECIALIZING IN CRIMINAL DEFENSE THROUGHOUT NEW JERSEY
Howard W. Bailey, Esq.
550 Broad Street, Suite 601
Newark, NJ 07102