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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience practicing attorney
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I got arrested today for public lewdness in NJ. This is my

Customer Question

I got arrested today for public lewdness in NJ. This is my first time getting arrested. The officer told me since this is my first offense...that I have nothing to worry about. I do have a court date on March 18th. My question is How much will my summons be and will I have a jail term.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

DearCustomer- The worst person to get legal advice from is a police officer so I would not say you "have nothing to worry about". On the other hand, if you have no record, it is unlikely you will go to jail on a first offense. Due to the fact that the penalties include possible jail it cannot be ruled out.

 

The best advice I can offer is for you to get an attorney and plead not guilty. You will then have an opportunity to have a pre trial with the prosecutor and obtain a possible plea bargain. Also it will be possible to have a better idea of the sentence involved.

 

I don't understand your question "how much will my summons be?" since there is no cost involved with a summons. If you are fined it could be anywhere in the range from $250 to $1000 but my guess would be in the $300-$400 range plus court costs. It is just impossible to know exactly what any court will do in a given case.

 

David Kennett - JD - Attorney at Law

Dave Kennett and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for writing back. I am sorry for term summons. I meant to say fine. If I plea guilty will my fine still be $300.00 - $400.00? If i plea not guilty how long will this trial last?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

Remember, I said it was my best guess about the fine,not that it would definitely be that amount. A trial of this nature couldn't possible last more than a couple of hours, if that. Unless there are a bunch of witnesses it will just be the police officer. I doubt seriously that this will ever go to trial. I am only suggesting that you plead not guilty in order to get into a position to get a possible plea bargain.

 

Dave

Dave Kennett and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I performed a lewed act in a bathroom. It was just me and the police officer in the bathroom. He told me to wash my hands and then he cuffed me. If I go to trial the judge is going to honor the officer's word.

It was a sting operation...they were more men getting arrested while I was sitting in a cell. It was horrible!

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

I understand and I'm not telling you to go to trial. Of course they will accept the officer's testimony. As I said, you need to plead not guilty in order to get the best possible deal as far as a possible plea bargain. You really need to get an attorney and if you can't afford one ask for one to be appointed by the court.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
So if plead not guilty instead of paying $1000.00 I can pay less because its my first offense?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

I cannot tell you what the ultimate fine might be. It is rare that the court would assess the maximum on a first offense not matter how you plead. Whether you plead guilty or not it should have nothing to do with the fine you may have to pay.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I don't want to have a misdemeanor on my record. I prefer to have a summary offense. I should plead not guilty for that. Correct?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

I would plead not guilty and that gives you the opportunity to talk with the prosecutor to get the best possible deal. I cannot promise you will automatically get what you want but if you plead guilty you are at the mercy of the court with no say in the matter.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hello, I just got out of court today and I couldn't plead "not guilty". I wanted to but the prosecutor and the judge were not nice to me at all.

I would have had to come back to court with a attorney or get a public deffender for $250.00

I pleaded guilty and my fine was $750.00 all together with court fees came to $908.00   I paid $350.00 down payment and took a payment plan.

I was so scared at court today....I hope this persons orderly offense doesn't haunt me in the future.

P.S thanks for all your advice
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hello, I just got out of court today and I couldn't plead "not guilty". I wanted to but the prosecutor and the judge were not nice to me at all. I would have had to come back to court with a attorney or get a public deffender for $250.00 I pleaded guilty and my fine was $750.00 all together with court fees came to $908.00 I paid $350.00 down payment and took a payment plan. I was so scared at court today....I hope this persons orderly offense doesn't haunt me in the future. P.S thanks for all your advice
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

I'm sorry about the not guilty plea but they would have let you plead not guilty but then there would have been a different day for the trial. In any event, assuming you get no further offenses you will probably be able to get this expunged from your record after a few years. The likelihood of winning at trial is slim in most of these cases so you probably came out of this as best as could be expected.

 

It makes me angry when I hear that a judge is not nice. They are supposed to be impartial and treat the public with respect. Not all live up to that standard.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
To be totally honest the judge was nice. He was not nice to me because it was a sexual and (gay) crime.

The price of being gay $908.00
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.
Still, that is not right. Sorry for your misfortune. - Dave

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