Cape May Courthouse Murder Defense Attorney

Murder is one of the most serious crimes you can be convicted of in New Jersey, and if you are facing a charge for this crime everything you say and do from the moment you are charged or arrested can affect your case.  Any violent crime requires an intensive and thorough analysis of the facts and requires an experienced criminal defense attorney to investigate all the possible defenses.

Murder and manslaughter charges can change your life forever.  Don’t wait another day to take legal action. To schedule a free, completely private legal consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away at (609) 616-4956.  Our phone lines are always open.  Se habla español.

New Jersey Murder Charges In Cape May Court House

New Jersey divides criminal homicide into three distinct offenses as follows:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Death by Auto (Vehicular Homicide)

These offenses share the common factor that they stem from the death of another human being. However, to distinguish them it is important to look at the intent behind each crime. New Jersey’s murder laws are set forth in N.J.S.A. § 2C:11-3.  Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:11-3, murder is charged in cases where the defendant (“actor”) knowingly or purposefully (intentionally or deliberately) causes death or serious bodily injury leading to death.  New Jersey defines “serious bodily injury” as any injury which “creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”

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In addition, under N.J.S.A . § 2C:11-3(3) murder can be charged with felony murder when a defendant either acting alone of with another is engaged in the commission of the following crimes:

  • Robbery or attempted robbery
  • Sexual assault
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Carjacking
  • Criminal escape
  • Terrorism

New Jersey Manslaughter Charges

Manslaughter is a lesser offense in New Jersey and is defined under N.J.S.A. § 2C:11-4, which states that a defendant will be charged with manslaughter in cases where criminal homicide was either:

(1) “committed recklessly” or

(2) “committed in the heat of passion resulting from a reasonable provocation.”

However, manslaughter can be elevated to aggravated manslaughter, which is considered a more serious offense, in cases where the defendant:

“Recklessly causes death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life.”

“Causes the death of another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.”  (This does not include passengers in vehicles.)

What are the Penalties for Murder?

The penalties for murder and homicide are some of the toughest penalties in New Jersey as they are some of the most serious offenses. However, while these crimes may carry some of the toughest penalties, the death penalty is not an option. The death penalty was abolished in New Jersey in 2007, however, a charge of murder can change a person’s life. It is important that if you have been charged with murder or homicide that you contact an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney immediately.

The penalties for murder are steep and N.J.S.A. § 2C:11-3(b)(1) establishes that murder is a first degree crime, and therefore any person who is convicted of murder will be sentenced to a minimum of thirty years. However, thirty years is the minimum sentence, and a conviction for murder can carry a life sentence in prison. Because of the severity of the charges a person who has been convicted of murder is not eligible for parole during their sentence. In certain circumstances a murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence such as when it was committed against a law enforcement officer who was killed during the course of their official duties. A murder conviction where the victim was under the age of fourteen will also result in a mandatory life sentence.

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Additionally if the court finds the following aggravating factors then there is a mandatory life sentence that will accompany a murder conviction:

  • If the defendant has been convicted of another murder
  • If in the commission of the murder the defendant purposely or knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person in addition to the victim.
  • If the murder was murder is considered to be outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman.
  • If the murder was committed because the defendant was paid to kill another

If you are convicted of felony murder, in addition to receiving a prison sentence, you could be fined up to $200,000 and ordered to pay restitution to cover funeral or possibly other expenses on behalf of the victim.

If you have been accused of murder it is important to act quickly and contact an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney before you speak with the police. While a murder charge may be extremely serious there are several defenses that a seasoned criminal defense attorney can employ to your benefit such as proving that there was no intention to kill, or that you acted in self-defense.

Contact a Cape May Courthouse Murder Defense Attorney

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.