Law Offices of Peter G. Aziz & Associates LLC
973-928-0577
Serving Legal Needs
In New Jersey.

Racial disparities in misdemeanor sentencing

About 80 percent of the people arrested each year in New Jersey and around the country are charged with misdemeanors, according to figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The vast majority of these cases are resolved by plea agreements rather than trials. Unfortunately, this often leads to harsher treatment of African American defendants.

Researchers and civil rights advocates who have studied misdemeanor sentencing have discovered that white defendants are 75 percent more likely than black defendants to see the charges against them dismissed, dropped or reduced. They also claim that the fines and fees commonly handed down in these cases unfairly punish poor defendants. Those charged with misdemeanors are routinely ordered to cover the costs of supervision, DNA collection and toxicology testing. If the defendant lacks the means to pay, they're often incarcerated.

A misdemeanor conviction can sometimes be the beginning of a downward spiral for poor defendants. Those who are unable to pay their fines can be pushed further into debt by additional court and jail fees. According to advocacy groups, many municipalities rely on the money generated by minor misdemeanor cases to cover a large part of their law enforcement and criminal justice budgets. This has been compared to a form of regressive tax that places an undue burden on the poor.

Being convicted of even a minor misdemeanor can make it more difficult to rent an apartment or find a job. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to mitigate these consequences by pointing out mitigating circumstances to prosecutors during plea negotiations. Examples of mitigating factors include a previously unblemished criminal record, full-time gainful employment, genuine remorse and the support of family and friends.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Contact the Firm

Request A Free Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

1115 Clifton Ave.
Suite 204
Clifton, NJ 07013

Phone: 973-928-0577
Fax: 201-497-2013
Clifton Law Office Map

1 Kinderkamack Road
Suite 104
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Phone: 973-928-0577
Fax: 201-497-2013
Map & Directions