Carjacking is one of the most serious crimes an individual may be charged with in New Jersey. It is basically the combination of three offenses, automobile theft, robbery and assault. Given the extremely violent and threatening nature of this violation, the law imposes extremely rigid penalties for anyone convicted of carjacking under N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2. In fact, the potential jail/prison time an individual faces under 2C:15-2 exceeds that which applies in most other first degree cases (i.e. up to thirty years). And Prosecutors and judges generally have little sympathy for those who engage in carjacking, especially given how deadly this crime can become (e.g. Short Hills Mall carjacking homicide).
The Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver is comprised of eight (8) attorneys whose practices are dedicated exclusively to the defense of those accused of violating the law. Most of the lawyers on our team are former prosecutors, including in the Essex County Prosecutors Office. We also possess over 100 years of combined experience handling cases like carjacking. An attorney is ready to fight the charge against you so that the very best outcome can be achieved. Call us at 973-710-1520 for an immediate free consultation.
Belleville NJ Carjacking Attorneys
What Does The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Need To Prove In Order To Convict You Of Carjacking?
A person can be convicted of Carjacking under N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2 in Essex County if the State proves beyond a reasonable doubt that:
1. During the course of an unlawful taking of a vehicle, or
2. During the course of an attempted unlawful taking of a vehicle; and
3. The defendant did one or more of the following:
(i) inflicted bodily injury or used force on the car’s occupant or person in possession of the vehicle,
(ii) threatened an occupant or person in possession of the vehicle, with the purpose or knowledge that the threat would put the person in fear of bodily injury;
(iii) committed or threatened immediately to commit a first or second degree crime; or
(iv) operated or caused the vehicle to be operated with the previous occupant of the motor vehicle remaining in the vehicle.
For purposes of N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2, a person will be deemed to act in the course of an unlawful taking if it occurs during an attempt to commit or immediate flight after attempting or committing the offense. A person commits an attempted unlawful taking, or an unlawful taking, when they attempt to dispossess a legal operator or owner of a motor vehicle. While the legalese of the statute may seem confusing, it essentially boils down to taking the vehicle without permission through threat or force. You should also know that NJ Law allows an individual to be convicted of carjacking even if the victim is not in the car at the time of the taking. New Jersey’s Judiciary has found that carjacking applies even in instances where the motorist is exiting or outside the vehicle.
What Penalties May Be Imposed By A Judge For Carjacking?
Carjacking is one of a number of offenses in NJ that has sentencing standards written into the statute beyond just specifying the degree of the crime. N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2 states that individuals convicted of this crime must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment between 10 and 30 years although 20 years in normally the cap for a first degree crime. Furthermore, individuals sentenced under this provision must serve a mandatory minimum term and are subject to the 85% parole ineligibility requirements of the No Early Release Act (“NERA”). In addition to the extreme punishment in terms of incarceration, individuals can face up to a $250,000 fine.
For immediate assistance with a pending carjacking, robbery or automobile theft charge, contact our Essex County Criminal Defense Firm in Newark NJ to speak with a highly experienced attorney.