Sparta Carjacking Lawyers
Experienced Defense Attorneys Fighting Carjacking Charges in Sussex and Warren County, NJ
Carjacking in New Jersey is an extremely serious crime. In fact, carjacking is considered a first degree crime under New Jersey’s criminal statutes and a conviction carries enhanced penalties. Generally, first degree crimes such as carjacking in New Jersey also impose a presumption of incarceration for anyone convicted of the offense. If you are charged with carjacking, don’t hesitate to contact our Sussex and Warren County criminal defense attorneys at 973-755-1695 for a free consultation. Our team of criminal defense lawyers has successfully defended those accused of a multitude of first degree crimes in New Jersey, including in Frankford, Phillipsburg, Allamuchy, Belvidere, and elsewhere in Sussex or Warren County, New Jersey, and we are available 24/7 to help you or a loved one.
Carjacking Defined Under N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2
Pursuant to the New Jersey Criminal Code, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2 sets forth that a person is guilty of carjacking if in the course of committing an unlawful taking of a motor vehicle or in an attempt to commit an unlawful taking of a motor vehicle he: (1) inflicts bodily injury or uses force upon an occupant or person in possession or control of a motor vehicle; (2) threatens an occupant or person in control with, or purposely or knowingly puts an occupant or person in control of the motor vehicle in fear of, immediate bodily injury; (3) commits or threatens immediately to commit any crime of the first or second degree; or (4) operates or causes said vehicle to be operated with the person who was in possession or control or was an occupant of the motor vehicle at the time of the taking remaining in the vehicle. The statute further establishes that an act shall be deemed to be “in the course of committing an unlawful taking of a motor vehicle” if it occurs during an attempt to commit the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle or during an immediate flight after the attempt or commission.
Carjacking Term of Imprisonment in New Jersey
As mentioned above, carjacking is a crime of the first degree in New Jersey and upon conviction thereof a person may, notwithstanding the general sentencing guidelines, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between ten and thirty years. That is, the usual applicable ten to twenty-year sentencing provision for first degree crimes does not apply to carjacking. Moreover, mandatory minimums apply to carjacking because the law states that a person convicted of carjacking shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment and that term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term of at least five years during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Thus, the penalties for carjacking in New Jersey are more severe than other first degree crimes and if you are facing allegations of carjacking in Sussex or Warren County you should get in touch with our criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible to discuss your defense.
What Are the Aspects of Carjacking Offenses According to New Jersey Law?
Under New Jersey law, carjacking is defined as the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle from the person or immediate presence of another, using force or intimidation, and intending to deprive the owner of the vehicle. There are several aspects of carjacking offenses according to New Jersey law. Carjacking involves taking a motor vehicle, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, or any other type of motorized vehicle. The taking of the motor vehicle must involve the use of force or intimidation against the owner or occupant of the vehicle. This can include physical force, the use of weapons, or threats of harm. The person taking the motor vehicle must intend to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the vehicle. This can include taking the vehicle for personal use, selling it, or using it to commit other crimes. The vehicle must be taken from the person or immediate presence of the owner. This means the owner must be physically present or nearby when the car is taken. The taking of the vehicle must be without the permission of the owner. If the owner gives permission, even under duress, it is not considered carjacking.
How Does Physical Force or Threat Relate to These Cases?
Physical force is an essential element of carjacking in New Jersey. To be considered carjacking under New Jersey law, taking a motor vehicle must involve using force or intimidation against the owner or occupant of the car. Physical force can include actions such as punching, kicking, or restraining the victim and using weapons to threaten or harm the victim. In addition, using physical force or threat during a standard motor vehicle theft can also affect the severity of the offense and the penalties upon conviction. Under New Jersey law, armed carjacking is a first-degree crime that can result in a much longer sentence and minimum period without parole. It’s important to note that even the threat of physical force or the use of intimidation can also constitute carjacking under New Jersey law. Using threats or intimidation to take a motor vehicle from another person’s immediate presence without their consent can still be considered carjacking.
The critical difference between car theft and carjacking is that car theft typically involves taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. In contrast, carjacking involves using force or intimidation to take a car from its owner or operator. In a car theft case, the perpetrator may break into the vehicle, hotwire it, or use other methods to take it without the owner’s knowledge or consent. Taking the car is considered theft, and the perpetrator may be charged with various theft-related offenses, such as theft of a motor vehicle or joyriding. In contrast, carjacking involves taking a vehicle directly from its owner or operator through force, threat, or intimidation.
Role of Weapons in Carjacking Cases
Weapons are often involved in carjacking cases and can significantly impact the severity of the offense and the penalties upon conviction. In New Jersey, if a weapon is used or displayed during the commission of an offense involving the theft of a car, it can be classified as carjacking. If a weapon is used during the commission of the crime, it can elevate the offense from auto theft to carjacking, which carries enhanced consequences. Weapons commonly used in carjacking cases include firearms, knives, and other weapons that can threaten or intimidate the victim. The use of a weapon during a carjacking can not only increase the severity of the offense but also put the victim’s life in danger.
Other Charges Associated with NJ Carjacking Cases
In addition to carjacking or armed carjacking charges, several other charges are common in New Jersey. Carjacking often involves taking personal property, such as wallets, cell phones, or other valuables, in addition to the motor vehicle. If force or intimidation is used to take the property, it can result in charges of robbery in addition to carjacking. If physical force is used during the carjacking, the perpetrator may also face charges of assault or aggravated assault, depending on the severity of the injuries sustained by the victim. If the perpetrator has a weapon illegally, they may also face charges of unlawful possession of a weapon in addition to carjacking or armed carjacking. If multiple individuals are involved in carjacking, they may face conspiracy charges involving an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. While the carjacker may not intend to take victims with them, if there are small children in the car or the driver is forced to the passenger side, there may not be time to remove them before absconding with the vehicle. Thus, kidnapping charges can be applied to the carjacker when assessing criminal charges.
Because carjacking charges are often combined with other violent crimes, an individual can be exposed to many prison sentences that could run consecutively. If it is the defendant’s third first-degree crime, they could be sentenced to life without parole under the NJ Persistent Violator Law, also known as the three-strikes rule.
Potential Counterarguments for Carjacking Offenses in New Jersey
There are several defenses that a criminal defense attorney may present to defeat a carjacking offense in New Jersey. To be convicted of carjacking, the perpetrator must intend to take the motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. If the defendant can show that they did not intend to take the motor vehicle, it may help defeat the carjacking charge. If the victim or witnesses misidentified the defendant as the perpetrator, presenting a defense based on mistaken identity might be possible. If the defendant can show that the motor vehicle owner consented to them taking the vehicle, it may help defeat the carjacking charge.
To be considered carjacking under New Jersey law, taking a motor vehicle must involve using force or intimidation against the owner or occupant of the car. If the defendant can show that no force or coercion was used during the taking of the vehicle, it may help to defeat the carjacking charge. Suppose the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated during the investigation or arrest, such as illegal search and seizure or Miranda violations. In that case, presenting a defense based on constitutional violations might be possible.
Talk to Our Hopatcong Carjacking Defense Lawyers Today
Carjacking is one of the most severe crimes in New Jersey and is considered a first-degree crime, making it more difficult to obtain pretrial release than many other crimes which require the support of a seasoned defense lawyer to advocate for your case in Andover, Frankford, Mansfield, Phillipsburg, and other towns in Sussex and Warren County. Request a free initial consultation right away to find out how one of the lawyers on our New Jersey carjacking defense team will battle for your freedom and legal rights. Call us right away at 973-755-1695 to speak with a lawyer today.