New Jersey Check Fraud Lawyer Explains If Bad Check Charges Can Lead to a Criminal Record
Number one, a plea and a sentence are two separate events. While they occur at the same time ordinarily, they are two separate events. When someone calls me up and says, “All I did was pay a fine” on whatever they’re talking to me about was their past record, that’s the sentence. The question is what was the plea to?
What did you actually plead guilty to, if anything, that put you in a position where the judge needed to extract money from you as a fine? The plea and the sentence are two separate events.
They’re two separate things that cast light on what occurred during the event that you entered into the plea. For instance, someone’s sentence is a year in jail. We all understand what a year in jail is. If somebody’s sentence was five years’ probation, we all understand that probation is a penalty.
Plea Negotiations: You May Not Be Sentenced to the Original Charge
If someone was sentenced to a fine, we all understand that that’s a penalty, but it doesn’t define what the plea was to. For example, if someone were to plead guilty in front of a judge to a disorderly conduct, which is a disorderly person’s offense under the New Jersey statute 2C:33-2, and are sentenced to a fine, the fact that they were sentenced to a fine doesn’t really define what they had pled guilty to.
Let’s just say that in the course of a case an individual was charged with some type of theft and it was prosecuted in the municipal court or even in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey, and they wound up with a plea, a plea deal, a plea bargain, where they pled guilty to a lesser offense of disorderly conduct, NJSA 2C:33-2.
That is a disorderly person’s offense and they would be sentenced based on what they pled guilty to, not what they were arrested for or charged with. If the original charge was a theft, let’s say in the fourth degree. The municipal prosecutor or the county prosecutor allowed a plea bargain to a disorderly person’s offense, so that’s the plea.
What Is the Individual’s Prior Criminal History?
The actual sentence is not as relevant to their criminal history as their plea is what they pled guilty to. To carry this one step further, As a New Jersey Check Fraud Lawyer, I would need to know if I’m handling a case for somebody in the future, what was your prior involvement with the law.
They say, “Well, I just paid a fine.” That doesn’t really answer the question, so I would have to dig a little deeper to find out the history, not unlike a doctor where a doctor takes a history from somebody and they say, “Well, I just went to the hospital for one day.”
As a New Jersey Check Fraud Lawyer, I would have to take a more extensive history and try to decipher exactly what occurred at the plea. Now if someone was found guilty or pled guilty to a disorderly person’s offense, the question then becomes can that event be expunged from their record?
In Some Cases, a Conviction Can Be Expunged after a Waiting Period
The answer is in most cases, a plea or a conviction can be expunged after a certain waiting period. There are a variety of waiting periods, and I’ll set them forth as follows. Expungements are a whole separate area of the law.
If Your Case Is Dismissed, You May File for an Immediate Expungement
Number one, if the case is dismissed, your expungement can be filed immediately. As an experienced New Jersey Check Fraud Lawyer, I would suggest that you seek out the assistance of an attorney for any expungement. If you pled guilty to a municipal ordinance, which is a town violation, the waiting period is two years, and for any other expungement, you should seek counsel to find out the exact waiting period for any other offense that you have pled guilty to.
If you or a loved one has been charged with fraud in New Jersey, contact New Jersey Check Fraud Lawyer Carl Spector for a free initial consultation. With over 28 years of experience as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, Attorney Spector will fight to protect your future and ensure the best possible outcome.