Criminal Mischief

What Are Indictable Versus Non-Indictable Offenses in New Jersey Law

Indictable and non-indictable offenses are a few new legal terms recently adopted in New Jersey law. Currently, New Jersey no longer uses the term “felony,” instead they now use “indictable offense or crime.” An indictable offense conviction becomes a part of your permanent record. For this reason, it is important to hire a New Jersey criminal attorney immediately. If convicted of an indictable crime, the outcome can have lasting effects. Most importantly, indictable offenses affect your chances of receiving a job. They also impact approval for a home loan or apartment lease in the future.

What Is an Indictable Offense?

According to New Jersey law, indictable offenses are the equivalent of felonies in other states. Courts classify charges into first, second, third and fourth-degree charges. A first-degree offense is the most serious of all charges. “Indictable” means that a grand jury has found enough evidence against the defendant to make them face trial. It also refers to the state’s obligation to conduct a grand jury investigation before charging the defendant.

Offenses usually carry a sentence of six months or more in jail. If sentenced for over a year, you will carry out the sentence in state prison. Furthermore, a grand jury must decide if there is enough evidence to charge the subject. If officers accuse you of an indictable crime, you should contact a New Jersey criminal attorney immediately.

First-degree and Second-degree Offenses

Offenses that are considered first-degree crimes include murder, manslaughter, drug distribution, aggravated assault, and rape. First-degree crimes also carry a ten to twenty-year sentence with twenty, twenty-five and thirty years for specific crimes. Additionally, a subject charged with a first-degree indictable crime may face a fine of up to $200,000.

Second-degree crimes include sex crimes, aggravated arson, burglary, robbery with a weapon, kidnapping, white collar crimes and drug crimes. An individual facing a Second-degree charge may face between five and ten years in prison with a fine of up to $150,000.

Third-degree and Fourth-degree Offenses

Instances of third-degree crimes include arson, robbery, driving under the influence, drug possession, possession of a handgun, theft and aggravated assault. These charges often carry a three to five-year sentence with a fine of up to $15,000.

Fourth-degree crimes include stalking, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, assault and threat charges, possession of marijuana, criminal sexual contact, DUI offenses, and forgery. These charges can carry up to eighteen months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

What Is a Non-Indictable Offense

A non-indictable offense can be either a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense. They may also carry a sentence of fewer than six months. The Municipal Court system handles all non-indictable offenses instead of a grand jury. Additionally, a jury trial is not offered to a defendant accused of a non-indictable offense. These offenses are also equal to a misdemeanor offense in other states.

When facing legal issues, it’s important to know and understand the terms used. As you can see, indictable offenses in New Jersey law are equal to felony charges in other states. Furthermore, non-indictable offenses are equal to misdemeanor offenses. For most, it can be confusing or overwhelming to understand these two terms. If you or someone you know receives a charge for an indictable offense, contact a New Jersey criminal attorney. For further information, contact Leon Matchin at (833) 732-7320, or email him at

Let’s connect!

Fill out the form on the right and get in touch with us.

Free Consultation

Free Consultation