Robbery Defense in Burlington & Camden Counties
Robbery law is defined in New Jersey Criminal Code N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. In New Jersey, a robbery occurs when a person commits a theft and a second act or threat of violence at the same time. Such a second act includes:
- Inflicting bodily injury or using force upon another person
- Threatening another person with or purposely putting them in fear of immediate bodily injury
- Committing or threatening to immediately commit any crime of the first or second degree
If a person commits one of those acts in the course of committing a theft, while attempting to commit a theft or while fleeing after committing a theft, the theft becomes a robbery.
Robbery is typically a crime of the second degree. However, robbery can be a first-degree crime if a weapon is used or if the person attempts to kill or inflict serious bodily injury upon the victim.
There are also several subsets of robbery, including:
- Carjacking – Carjacking is a type of robbery in New Jersey. Carjacking is a first-degree crime and can lead to a sentence of 5 – 30 years. Serving at least five years in prison is mandatory for carjacking.
- Armed Robbery – Armed robbery includes all robberies committed using a deadly weapon, force, or immediate threat of bodily injury. Armed robberies are first-degree crimes in New Jersey. If a weapon was used, weapons charges mandate a prison sentence of at least three-and-a-half years.
Grading and Sentencing Ranges for Robbery
In New Jersey, the potential sentences for a person convicted of robbery are harsh. There are several grades of crimes — most notably first- and second-degree — that can equate to anywhere from 5 years to more than 20 years in prison.
The law states robbery in New Jersey starts as a second-degree crime, but can advance to a first-degree crime depending on the circumstances. A robbery advances to a first-degree crime if the person committing the robbery:
- Attempts murder
- Inflicts or threatens to inflict bodily injury
- Uses, threatens to use or is armed with a deadly weapon
First-degree robbery, including armed robbery, can lead to a sentence of 10 – 20 years in New Jersey State Prison. A second-degree robbery can lead to a sentence of 5 – 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.
If a firearm is used in the robbery, additional weapons charges will be added and the defendant will be subjected to a mandatory New Jersey State Prison sentence. In this case, according to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c), the defendant must serve a minimum of three-and-a-half years in New Jersey State Prison.
No Early Release Act
Additionally, any person convicted of robbery in New Jersey must serve 85% of the sentence before they are eligible for parole. This restriction is part of N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, also known as the No Early Release Act. The act was passed in 1997.
More broadly, the No Early Release Act requires defendants convicted of violent crimes serve most of their term before being released. Because robbery is defined as theft combined with a violent act, robbery is one of the offenses that falls under the No Early Release Act. This mandates all defendants convicted of a robbery charge serve at least 85% of their prison sentence before being eligible for parole.
Zealous and Aggressive Defense
The best way to avoid these penalties is to immediately hire an attorney who can advocate on your behalf, advise you of your rights and guide you through the criminal justice system. If you or someone you know is facing a robbery charge in New Jersey, speak with Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates. We can provide the guidance and counsel you need to make informed decisions and protect your rights.
As your advocate, we can better defend our clients when we are engaged at the early stages of a case. We provide clients with knowledge and advice to protect their rights and interests. Call us today at (609) 216-7400 to get a free consultation on your case.