After a person receives a sentence from a judge telling them that they will have to go to jail for an extended period of time, they often turn to their Atlantic City criminal defense attorney and ask about appealing the decision, and then if they will be eligible for parole. While there are many crimes and offenses that can land you in jail, not all of them are entitled to parole or an early release.
What is Parole?
You often hear people talking about parole in the movies, however, may not be sure what parole is or when can a person become eligible for parole. Parole in its simplest terms means that a prisoner is released either for a special occasion, temporarily, or permanently in accordance with the sentencing guidelines because of good behavior.
N.J. Stat. § 30:4-123.51 provides that each adult inmate sentenced to a term of incarceration in a county penal institution, or to a specific term of years at the State Prison or the correctional institution for women will become primarily eligible for parole after having served any judicial or statutory mandatory minimum term, or one-third of the sentence imposed where no mandatory minimum term has been imposed less commutation time for good behavior.
N.J. Stat. § 30:4-123.51 provides that each adult inmate sentenced to a term of incarceration in a county penal institution, or to a specific term of years at the State Prison or the correctional institution for women will become primarily eligible for parole after having served any judicial or statutory mandatory minimum term, or one-third of the sentence imposed where no mandatory minimum term has been imposed less commutation time for good behavior. If a sentence has no mandatory minimum term, then a person parole eligibility is determined based on one-third of the prison sentence, less any jail credits and time off a person may receive.
What is the New Jersey Early Release Act?
Many people who have been sentenced to jail, or who have served time in jail may be familiar with a certain piece of legislation in New Jersey called the No Early Release Act. This law is similar to several other state laws and was passed in responses to the Omnibus Crime Act of 1994. New Jersey NERA requires felons to serve a minimum of 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. This law prohibits the parole board from releasing certain felons before they have served a minimum of 85 percent of their sentences that have been imposed by a judge under the New Jersey sentencing guidelines. However, unlike the federal law, the New Jersey NERA program only applies to those offenders who are convicted of crimes of violence.
Can you receive Parole if you have been convicted of Vehicular homicide?
To be clear, vehicular homicide is one of the most severe criminal charges you can face in New Jersey. If you have been charged with this crime you should not hesitate to contact a NJ vehicular homicide defense attorney immediately. You may have to pay thousands of dollars of fines if you have been convicted of vehicular homicide, you may also be sentenced to a prison sentence of up to thirty years or longer depending on the charge.
In 2001, the New Jersey Legislature substantially amended the No Early Release Act , which is also known as NERA. Specifically, the New Jersey Legislature enacted N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2(a) which requires the court to fix “a minimum term of at least 85 percent of the sentence imposed as a result of an enumerated list of crimes. During the minimum time that is prescribed the defendant or a person who has been charged with vehicular homicide would not be eligible for parole. In addition, because vehicular homicide is often charged with other crimes it is important to note that some of the following crimes would also make a person be ineligible for parole to include the following:
- Vehicular homicide (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5)
- Murder (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3);
- Aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter (N.J.S.A. 2C:11- 4);
- Aggravated assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b));
- Disarming a law enforcement officer (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-11);
- Kidnapping (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1);
- Aggravated sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a));
- Sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b) and (c)(1));
- Robbery (N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1);
- Carjacking (N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2);
It is important to note that vehicular homicide has been included in this list. This is important for people to note and to be aware of when they are determining and forming their defense strategy. Specifically, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5(b)(1) requires a period of parole ineligibility between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or three years, whichever is greater if the defendant caused death while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, or with a blood alcohol level prohibited by N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, or while his or her driver’s license was revoked or suspended. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:11- 5(b)(2), the prosecutor must establish at a separate hearing, which may occur at the time of sentencing, the requisite fact for imposing a mandatory minimum sentence, and the court must find the fact by a preponderance of the evidence.
Work with an Experienced Atlantic City Criminal Defense Attorney Today
When the consequences are this serious, it is absolutely critical to work with a highly experienced homicide lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. For a free and private consultation, call us at (609) 616-4956 any time of day or night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.