Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

If Passed, How Will the New Prison Reform Bills Affect You?

If Passed, How Will the New Prison Reform Bills Affect You?

As civil unrest has engulfed the country, lawmakers here in New Jersey are urging for the passing of various prison reform bills in an effort to improve the criminal justice system. This would include everything from sentencing to incarceration. Find out what these bills are and how you could possibly be affected below. 

Ending Required Minimum Sentences

One major component of the proposed prison reform bills aim to end mandatory minimum sentences associated with certain non-violent drug and property crimes, such as shoplifting. The bill also aims to reduce the mandatory sentence associated with second degree robbery and burglary by half; currently, those who are convicted of second degree burglary or robbery face up to 10 years in prison. 

As it stands, these are the current minimum sentences that those convicted of the following crimes may face. These are outlined below:

  • Shoplifting: 
    • Disorderly persons offense: Monetary fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail
    • Fourth degree: Monetary fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in jail
    • Third degree: Monetary fine of up t $15,000 and up to 5 years in jail
    • Second degree: Monetary fine of up to $150,000 and up to 10 years in jail
  • Marijuana possession: 
    • Less than 50 grams of marijuana: driver’s license suspension, drug rehabilitation, $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail
    • More than 50 grams of marijuana: a fine of up to $15,000 and up to 18 months in jail
  • Narcotics Possession (heroin, cocaine, acid, opiates, and more):
    • Fines up to $25,000
    • Loss of driving privileges
    • Up to 5 years in prison
    • Mandatory enrollment and participation in drug education and rehabilitation programs

Possibilities of Early Release

When the Coronavirus first hit, New Jersey was one of the first states to grant temporary release to prisoners in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. One bill (S-2519), would create a system of “public health emergency credits” for similar situations. These “credits” would aim to reduce the prison terms of all inmates except sex offenders by eight months due to the current pandemic. The bill would aim to cut the sentences during any declared public health emergencies by four months for each month of the declared emergency, not totaling more than eight months. The Senate passed this bill, but it has not yet passed the Assembly. 

Contact An Experienced Pennsauken Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Charges In New Jersey

Were you arrested for a crime in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen has successfully represented clients charged with shoplifting, assault and drug-related offenses in Gloucester Township, Voorhees, Lindenwold, Haddon Township, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 858-1500 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 210 Haddon Avenue, Westmont, NJ 08108.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.