Each states has different systems for categorizing felonies within its
state borders. Some do this alphabetically. Others do this numerically.
While some have no true systems at all. The state of New Jersey chose
to break its felonies into different degrees. A felony in the first
degree is the most severe crime in New Jersey. Crimes under this
category include murder, rape, and manslaughter. While some top
categories in other states institute short prison terms, New Jersey
felonies in the first degree have the penalties of life in prison.
Felonies in the second degree are punishable by up to ten years in
prison. Many crimes in this category include drug crimes, extortion,
white-collar crimes, kidnapping, theft, sex crimes, burglary, and many
Felonies in the third degree often include embezzlement, theft, driving
under the influence, robbery, possession of a controlled substance, and
many others. Punishments for this category include up to five years in
The final degree category in New Jersey is that of felonies in the
fourth degree. Fourth-degree felonies are punishable by no more than
eighteen months of incarceration. Crimes under this category usually
include advanced driving offenses, theft, driving under the influence,
robbery, and many others.
It is possible for an individual to be convicted of more than one
felony degree and more than one offense for a single incident. For
instance an individual can be sentenced for assault and battery in one
degree category and robbery in another category. In these cases the
incarceration times will be added together.
Each state often has the same kind of offense in different categories.
This is possible because each crime is different with different
factors. For instance an individual may be convicted of driving under
the influence and be sentenced to a fourth-degree felony. A few years
later that same individual may be arrested and convicted of a
third-degree felony for driving under the influence.
The more prior offenses an individual has on his or her record, the
more severe current penalties can become. Any aggravating factors
around a crime can also increase a first offense of any crime. These
can include drunken behavior and violent behavior.
Unlike most other states, New Jersey allows some felony offenses to be
expunged from criminal history. However there are several kinds of
felony crimes that are not eligible for expungement. These include
arson, murder, sex crimes, robbery, manslaughter, the selling of
controlled substances, crimes against minors and children, and crimes
of public office.
In order to have a felony conviction expunged an individual must first
fulfill all the necessary requirements. New Jersey requirements include
no prior expunged charges in the state or any other state, no other
current charges pending expungement, no other criminal offenses in New
Jersey or other state, and the completion of incarceration and
probation as well as the payment of any fines.
New Jersey also has no statute of limitation in regards to rape and
murder. All other crimes committed in New Jersey have statute of
limitations of five years. Some exceptions may apply.