Being charged with any form of criminal homicide in Galloway Township is a very serious matter, and the consequences are not only severe but can change your life forever. Homicide charges are extremely serious, and a criminal conviction could result in decades or even life in prison without the possibility of parole. When everything you value is at stake, you simply cannot afford to face the prosecution without dedicated legal support from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our highly knowledgeable homicide attorneys bring over 45 years of combined experience to every case we handle. We are well-versed in New Jersey’s homicide laws and have an in-depth understanding of the possible defenses against murder charges. We will challenge the evidence against you, coach and counsel you throughout every step of the legal process, and fight aggressively to have the charges reduced or dismissed. We represent clients throughout Atlantic County, Cape May County, Ocean County, Camden County, Burlington County, and the surrounding areas, with offices in Atlantic City, Northfield, and Wildwood.
Murder Charges in Galloway Township
A murder charge is a very serious matter and one that can change the course of your life forever. While New Jersey no longer imposes the death sentence, if you are convicted of murder you can face decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Because there is almost no criminal matter more serious than murder the State will have to prove the following in order to convict a person of murder:
A person is guilty of murder if he/she:
(1) caused the victim’s death or serious bodily injury that then resulted in the victim’s death;1 and
(2) the defendant did so purposely or knowingly.
N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(l) and 3a(2)
The State bears the burden of proving each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. In New Jersey, a reasonable doubt is an honest and reasonable uncertainty in a person’s minds about the guilt of the defendant. In order for the state to convict a person of murder, the jury will have to undertake and be given full and impartial consideration to all of the evidence. A reasonable doubt may arise from the evidence itself or from a lack of evidence. It is a doubt that a reasonable person hearing the same evidence would have. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof, for example, that leaves the jury firmly convinced of the defendant’s guilt. The elements of this crime can be incredibly fact based and an experienced criminal attorney will engage in a substantial investigation of all of the facts of the case in order to provide the jury with a more clear view of the evidence. One element that is notably missing from a murder hearing, is the element of motive. Although State prosecutors, must prove that the defendant acted either purposely or knowingly, the State is not required to prove a motive, which may seem foreign to many of those familiar with the criminal system.
Murder Penalties in New Jersey
If you are facing a murder charge, you should be aware that because of the severity of this crime in New Jersey, you may be facing life in prison. In the absence of certain mitigating factors, which will be discussed below, if the State proves that a defendant is guilty of the crime of murder, then the Judge must balance the aggravating and mitigating factors found in the New Jersey criminal code and sentence the defendant to a term of 30 years and life imprisonment, with a life imprisonment considered as 75 years and above. At the Law Office of John J. Zarych, we know that these charges are severe and know that the best way to build a solid defense is to engage in a thorough and detailed review and investigation of the facts.
While other crimes may be eligible for parole, in the case of murder, a person will not be eligible for parole until thirty years of their sentence has passed.
In addition, you may be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, meaning that at no point in your sentence will it be possible for you to be released from prison. In order for the Sentencing Judge to sentence a defendant to life without parole, the Grand Jury and a Petit Jury must find, beyond a reasonable doubt, an aggravating factor enumerated in the New Jersey Code at 2C:11-3(b)(4) and one of the following circumstances:
1. That defendant killed the person by their own conduct, OR
2. The Defendant procured the commission of the murder by payment or promise of payment of anything of pecuniary value, OR
3. The Defendant, as a leader of a narcotics trafficking network as defined in N.J.S.2C:35-3 and in furtherance of a conspiracy enumerated in N.J.S.2C:35-3, commanded or by threat or promise solicited the commission of the murder, OR
4. The Defendant committed a crime of terrorism and the murder occurred during the commission that terrorism.
Additionally, the Sentencing Judge may sentence the defendant to life without parole if the victim was a law enforcement officer or the victim is less than 14 years old and the defendant commits a sexual assault in violation of N.J.S.2C:14-2 or criminal sexual conduct in violation of N.J.S.2C:14-3.
Lowering or dismissing charges
The experienced murder and homicide defense attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Zarych can provide you with aggressive representation and have negotiated with prosecutors to have criminal charges lowered.
In New Jersey first degree murder may be lowered to manslaughter, which is divided into four categories:
2) Aggravated by causing death while attempting to evade the police;
3) Reckless manslaughter;
4) Heat of passion death as a result of reasonable provocation.
If a person is convicted of manslaughter they may still face severe penalties. Aggravated Manslaughter is still considered a crime of the first degree, with a penalty of 10 to 30 years in prison depending on the circumstances and a maximum $200,000 fine. While a charge of manslaughter for Reckless or Heat of Passion, is considered a crime of the second degree and can be punished by five (5) to ten (10) years in state prison and a fine that can reach $150,000.
In addition, based on the circumstances of your case we may invoke an affirmative defense such as diminished capacity, duress, lack of intent, insanity, voluntary intoxication, or involuntary intoxication.
Our Galloway Twp. Murder Defense Attorneys Can Help
Being charged with any form of criminal homicide is an incredibly distressing and upsetting experience, both for the defendant and his or her loved ones. Homicide charges are extremely serious charges, and a criminal conviction could result in decades or even life in prison without the possibility of parole. When everything you value is at stake, you simply cannot afford to face the prosecution without dedicated legal support from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. 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.