Robbery charges in New Jersey should be taken very seriously, as the penalties if convicted are extremely harsh. It is not uncommon for someone to be wrongly accused of robbery. Every person who is arrested or charged with a criminal offense is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A criminal conviction can impact a person’s reputation, job, future employment opportunities, and other aspects of their life. Those in need of legal guidance may want to consider reaching out to Yates Law, LLC at (551) 237-8921.
What Is Robbery?
Robbery is a higher form of theft that carries penalties that are much more severe for those found guilty. Robbery offenses include two key components – theft along with a threat or act of violence. Robbery is either charged as a first- or second-degree offense, depending on whether the alleged perpetrator was armed or inflicted/attempted to inflict injury while committing the alleged crime. In New Jersey, there are two degrees of robbery a person may be charged with including:
- Second-degree robbery incurs prison time ranging between five and 10 years for those convicted
- First-degree robbery incurs prison time ranging between 10 and 20 years for those adjudicated guilty
New Jersey has a No Early Release Act (NERA) which robbery offenses are subject to. This means that a defendant found guilty will not be eligible for parole until 85% of the sentence has been served.
Armed Robbery Charges in New Jersey
Armed robbery is first-degree robbery, the most serious of these offenses. While carjacking is a robbery offense that may carry as much as 30 years in prison, it is a specific type of robbery separate from what we are covering in this space.
In armed robbery the defendant alleged of committing the offense uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon. Deadly weapons may include:
- Baseball bats
- Brass knuckles
- Any device, instrument, or item capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death
It is important to keep in mind that a deadly weapon does not have to be capable of substantially harming another person, if the victim perceives it to be deadly or the perpetrator acts as though a “fake” weapon (gun, knife) is in fact real. Even a BB gun can be considered a deadly weapon depending on the circumstances surrounding the robbery event. New Jersey broadly defines what deadly weapons may consist of. Robbery is also one offense that is considered a crime with bail restrictions according to the State of New Jersey. Those who have been arrested for armed robbery may want to consider seeking skilled legal guidance with Yates Law, LLC.
According to New Jersey law, carjacking occurs when the alleged perpetrator:
- Uses force or inflicts injury on the individual in control or possession of a vehicle
- Threatens the owner or individual with imminent bodily injury
- Commits/threatens to commit a crime of the first or second degree, or
- Operates a vehicle or generates its operation with the operator or individual in possession of the vehicle inside lumion 11 crackeado
Carjacking is one of the most serious types of robbery, a first-degree offense that may result in between five and 30 years in prison. No probation is offered even for first time offenders, who will serve a minimum of five years behind bars.
Robbery and Aggravated Theft
Robbery is ultimately an elevated theft crime in which the consequences or injury inflicted upon another person is more severe than what is normal in a typical theft case. There are three categories of conduct that occur upon committing a theft that may trigger a charge for robbery, which may result in fines of up to $100,000 in addition to prison time outlined above. These include:
- Using force or causing bodily injury during the commission of a theft
- Putting an alleged victim in imminent fear of bodily injury using threats
- Threatening to or committing a first- or second-degree crime during the course of committing a theft such as using a deadly weapon or inflicting death or serious bodily injury
In New Jersey “bodily injury” is considered an impairment of physical condition, illness, or pain. A simple theft charge could be elevated to a charge of robbery if a person points a gun or shouts out a threat after attempting theft while running away. This is true whether the theft was successful or just attempted.
Defending Robbery Charges
There are several potential defenses used on behalf of defendants facing robbery charges in New Jersey. The defense strategy determined best for each defendant depends on the circumstances and facts of the case. A seasoned robbery defense attorney will provide legal guidance and work with the client to reach the best outcome possible, whether that involves having charges dropped or reduced, or obtaining an acquittal.
Prosecutors have the burden of proving guilt in all criminal defense cases. It must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Attempted or committed theft
- While completing the theft, used or threatened to use force
- The threatened or committed force took place while the defendant was fleeing the scene or in the process of the theft
- The act was committed intentionally
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Some defenses that may prove effective in defending robbery charges include:
- False witness testimony
- A solid alibi
- Mistaken identity
- Illegal search and seizure and/or arrest or other police misconduct
- Unable to establish the alleged victim owned the property involved in the theft
Being accused of robbery is serious and should never be taken lightly. Whether charged with first- or second-degree robbery, armed robbery, or carjacking, the penalties are life-changing. In addition to substantial prison time, those convicted will have a criminal record that affects every aspect of their lives. Every person has legal rights that must be protected from the onset. Those who are facing robbery charges in New Jersey may want to consider seeking legal representation. Yates Law, LLC is available for those who want to schedule a consultation at (551) 237-8921.