Carjacking Charges and Penalties in Passaic County and Northern NJ
Criminal Defense attorneys with offices in Little Falls serving clients in Woodland Park, Wayne, and across Passaic County and Northern NJ
Carjacking is one of the most serious crimes in the New Jersey Criminal Code. Beyond that, carjacking is a unique crime because it is both an assault offense and a theft offense. New Jersey prosecutors interpret the carjacking statute broadly so that an individual can be charged with carjacking even if they never actually set foot inside the vehicle. That’s because the offender merely needs to control the vehicle, not operate it. This means that practically any use of force or threatening conduct while taking an automobile can result in carjacking charges. In fact, you can be charged with carjacking simply for threatening an occupant of the vehicle.
The Montanari Law Group is a highly respected law firm with a rich tradition in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Our criminal defense attorneys have more than 40 years of experience representing clients accused of carjacking in Mercer County, including Pennington, Lawrence, and Hightstown. We understand that your freedom is at stake; that’s why we will develop an advanced trial strategy to beat your carjacking charges and keep you out of prison. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start your defense.
Carjacking Charges in NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2
Carjacking in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2. A person may be charged with carjacking in a variety of circumstances that involve the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle:
- If they inflict bodily injury or use force upon an occupant or person in possession or control of the motor vehicle
- If they threaten an occupant or person in control of the vehicle with immediate bodily injury, or if they purposely or knowingly put an occupant or person in control of the vehicle in fear of immediate bodily injury
- If they commit or threaten immediately to commit any first-degree crime or second-degree crime
- If they operate or cause the vehicle to be operated while the driver or any occupant remains in the motor vehicle
Penalties for Carjacking in NJ
Carjacking is classified as a first-degree felony. First-degree crimes are ordinarily punishable by a sentence of 10–20 years in NJ State Prison. However, carjacking is considered one of the most serious crimes in the New Jersey Criminal Code. As a result, anyone who is convicted of carjacking in New Jersey is subject to an enhanced penalty of 10–30 years in NJ State Prison.
Carjacking is one of the enumerated offenses in the No Early Release Act (NERA). This means that anyone who is convicted of carjacking in New Jersey will be required to serve a minimum of 5 years or least 85 percent of their sentence – whichever is greater – before becoming eligible for parole.
Additionally, the bail amounts in carjacking cases are extraordinarily high; the bail for an individual charged with carjacking is typically set at $100,000 to $250,000. Moreover, NJ law does not allow a 10 percent cash bail option for defendants in carjacking cases. This means that anyone accused of carjacking in New Jersey could be required to spend a very long time behind bars before the trial ever begins.
Related Charges: Weapons Offenses and Aggravated Assault
When the carjacking offense involves the use of a deadly weapon, the offender can also be charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Not only can these charges result in mandatory minimum sentences to NJ State Prison; the sentences will probably be imposed consecutively, meaning that the offender could end up spending a very long time behind bars.
Additionally, since carjacking typically involves the use of force, it is not uncommon for a carjacking charge to be accompanied by charges of aggravated assault. Again, the sentences for these crimes may be imposed consecutively.
Free Consultation with Northern NJ Carjacking Lawyers
The lawyers at The Montanari Law Group, LLC are prepared to do whatever is necessary to fight your carjacking charges. Call us anytime at (973) 233-4396 to discuss your case over the phone, or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Little Falls office.