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What is the difference between first criminal offense and second criminal offense?

Union, NJ |

My friend was convicted of disorderly persons offense(criminal mischief) which it was his or her first offense and it was downgraded to ordinance violation and he had to pay a fine. My friend was charged with harassment for making threats or unwanted phone calls to his former friend because he was very angry at her. Basically I want to know what is the difference between first offense and second offense(harassment)

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Attorney answers 5


Simply put, my first offense there is a presumption against incarceration and the courts are more likely to be more lenient as is the state. When a second offense there is no longer a presumption against incarceration and you're what we've call a repeat offender. Hire an attorney as soon as possible.

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I agree with Mr. Kelsen.


If this a PDP the second offense will be treated a little more seriously. There could be a higher fine, maybe some jail (unlikely) or probation. But an ordinance may not be considered a prior.


The second offense renders one a repeated offender for a potentially steeper sentencing range upon conviction.

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In layman's terms, the difference is the philosophy that every can make one mistake and deserves a second chance. Not everyone believes people are entitled to two mistakes and third chances. So, the penalties become more serious and any benefit of the doubt is lost.

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