What Constitutes Robbery in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, robbery is defined as a theft that occurs contemporaneously with a violent act or threat of violence, as established by criminal statute N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. Robbery is a very serious offense and anyone convicted will face years in prison and hefty fines.
The second act or threat that goes along with the theft in a robbery can include the following:
- Inflicting bodily injury or using force upon another person
- Threatening or purposefully putting the fear of bodily injury in another person
- Committing or threatening to commit a first or second degree crime
If any of these criteria are met in the act of attempting or actually committing a theft or fleeing after committing a theft, then the act is considered a robbery. Basically, robbery is theft through force or threat. The force involved can be merely yanking away someone’s purse or as extreme as shooting them. There are several subcategories of robbery, including carjacking and armed robbery.
Carjacking occurs in the event that someone attempts or actually commits the unlawful theft of a vehicle and does any of the following in the course of the theft:
- Inflicts bodily injury or uses force upon an occupant or person in possession or control of a motor vehicle.
- Threatens an occupant or person in control with, or purposely or knowingly puts an occupant or person in control of the motor vehicle in fear of, immediate bodily injury.
- Commits or threatens to immediately commit any crime of the first or second degree.
- Operates or causes said vehicle to be operated with the person who was in possession or control or was an occupant of the motor vehicle at the time of the taking remaining in the vehicle.
Carjacking is a crime of the first degree, meaning anyone convicted of carjacking faces hefty fines and long jail time.
Most of the time, robbery is considered a second degree crime. However, in the face a theft committed using a deadly weapon (any weapon capable of producing grievous injury or death), injurious force or the immediate threat of bodily harm, the crime will be considered a crime in the first degree. This is what is referred to as armed robbery. If a weapon was used, NJ weapons charges mandate a prison sentence of at least three and a half years.
Penalties for Robbery in New Jersey
The consequences for any type of robbery are severe. Robbery starts as a second degree crime but becomes a first degree offense if any of the following happen during the course of the crime:
- Attempted murder
- Inflicted bodily injury or a threat to inflict such injury
- The perpetrator is armed, uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon
First degree robbery has the following penalties associated with a conviction:
- Robbery in the First Degree
- Fines of up to $200,000
- Prison time of between 10-20 years
Second degree robbery still has heavy consequences including the following:
- Robbery in the Second Degree
- Fines of up to $150,000
- Prison time of between 5-10 years
New Jersey takes carjacking very seriously. It is considered a first degree crime and leads to the following penalties:
- Carjacking in the First Degree
- Fines of up to $200,000
- Prison time of between 5-30 years
- Mandatory sentencing of 5 years.
If the robbery or carjacking was committed using a firearm, expect additional charges that will include a mandatory sentence of 3 ½ years. Additionally, thanks to the No Early Release Act, violent crimes convictions such as those for robberies mandate that the convicted serve 85% of their sentence before they are eligible for parole.
What the Prosecution Needs to Prove
In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the following four points apply to your case:
- You attempted to or committed theft.
- You used or threatened to use force in the course of the theft.
- The use or threat of force actually occurred during the robbery or in the flight from the theft.
- You acted with intention.
All four must be established and they must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. At Schnedier Freiberger, we will work to show that the prosecution failed to adequately prove these points.
Faced With a Robbery Charge in New Jersey?
As first and second degree crimes, robberies have severe consequences. Therefore, you want a skilled criminal defense lawyer who knows how to handle cases of this magnitude. At Schneider Freiberger, we have decades of experience defending clients against serious charges like those found in robbery cases. Let us help you put together a solid defense.