Carjacking in New Jersey is considered a violent and dangerous crime, in the same classification as murder, manslaughter, and rape. This means that anyone who is facing a carjacking charge is also facing the very real potential that they could spend the next thirty years or more behind bars. New Jersey prosecutors and police officers have developed a no-mercy and aggressive stance towards those who are accused of carjacking and will often pursue the maximum possible penalties.
If you or a loved one has been charged with carjacking in Cape May, you need an experienced, aggressive, and committed attorney by your side. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to aggressive client advocacy, no matter how complex or serious the charges may be. We will fight hard to defend your liberties and will leave no stone unturned when examining the evidence against you. Our knowledgeable legal team has over 45 years of combined experience representing both adults and juveniles, and we are proud to offer free initial consultations.
Carjacking Defense Lawyers in Cape May, New Jersey Can Help With Your Case
Carjacking is a serious offense in New Jersey dictated by the New Jersey criminal code N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2. Under this statute, the state is required to establish and ultimately prove two crucial elements: First, the state must demonstrate that a motor vehicle was taken without consent and with the intention of depriving the true owner of the vehicle. Second, there must be a showing of one of the following four acts:
infliction or use of bodily force to obtain control of the vehicle;
threats (e.g. express or implied such as where a gun is exhibited) or knowingly placing an occupant in imminent fear of bodily injury;
the accused committed a first or second-degree crime during the course of obtaining control of the vehicle (e.g. committed an aggravated assault on a rescuer); or
the defendant took the car while occupants remained in the vehicle.
Carjacking charges are considered some of the most serious charges in the State. Carjacking charges are so serious not only because they have been deemed a first-degree crime, but also because they are composed of both a theft charge and an assault charge.
What are the Potential Penalties for Carjacking?
Carjacking is in a class of crimes that include murder, robbery, and rape. As a first-degree crime equivalent to a felony in other states carjacking carries some of the most stringent penalties. Anyone who is convicted of carjacking should be aware that they face decades behind bars, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, exceedingly high bail, as well as other collateral consequences of their conviction.
N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2 classifies carjacking as a first-degree crime. Anyone who is convicted of a first-degree crime in New Jersey can be sentenced to a prison term of anywhere between 10 and 30 years. This is one of the most compelling reasons why anyone charged with carjacking should consider having an experienced attorney at their side. An experienced attorney will be able to negotiate with the prosecutors to not pursue the maximum term. However, even under the best circumstances a person who is convicted of carjacking in New Jersey will face a mandatory five-year prison sentence per N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2 (b). While this may seem like an exceedingly lengthy stay in prison a person who is facing a carjacking charge should also consider that the No Early Release Act specifically mandates that a person who is convicted of carjacking serve 85 percent of their sentence. This means that if you are sentenced to the 10 years you will not be eligible for release until you have served eight and a half years.
Carjacking is considered a violent crime in New Jersey which means that the judge can impose incredibly high bail. The New Jersey bail guide recommends that anyone who is charged with carjacking should have their bail set between $100,000 and $250,000 and are not entitled to make a ten percent payment securing their release. While New Jersey just enacted sweeping bail reform changes, it is likely that because of the nature of carjacking charges these diversionary programs and bail reductions will not be considered during the judges’ determination.
As a first degree crime, anyone who is charged with and subsequently convicted of carjacking can face up to $200,000 in criminal fines and penalties. This penalty alone can be enough to change a person’s life and can be a burden that they carry for the rest of their lives. And in addition to these fines established by statute, a person charged with and convicted of carjacking can also be required to pay restitution to the victim for the loss and damage to their property.
Facing Vehicle Theft Charges in Cape May?
A charge for carjacking can change the rest of your life. Prosecutors across the state have approached these charges very seriously and are often reluctant to negotiate. However, the experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are prepared to fight for you. Our knowledgeable legal team has over 45 years of combined experience For a free and private consultation, call our law offices right away at (609) 616-4956.