New Brunswick NJ NERA Defense Lawyers
Defense Attorneys for those charged with No Early Release Act offenses in Middlesex County, NJ
In the State of New Jersey, NERA refers to the No Early Release Act. This law is codified in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2 and it is a sentencing mandate applying to certain criminal offenses. If you have been charged with a crime to which NERA applies in New Jersey, you can spend many years behind bars as a result of a conviction. As a matter of fact, once convicted, you will be subject to the mandatory sentencing provisions under NERA. Per this law, a defendant faces substantial time in prison without parole eligibility, 85 percent to be exact. When charged with a first or second degree crime that entails No Early Release sentencing, one of your best options is to hire a criminal defense attorney who actively and regularly handles NERA cases. At the Middlesex County criminal law offices of Proetta & Oliver, our talented attorneys have negotiated deals and fought against the onslaught of overzealous prosecutions involving NERA offenses. To find out more about the specific components of the No Early Release Act, read on. To discuss your criminal charges in New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Piscataway, South Brunswick, Monroe or elsewhere in the Middlesex County area, contact our local Edison office at (732) 659-9600 today. A member of our team is available 24/7 to provide your free consultation.
What Crimes Qualify under NERA in New Jersey?
NERA, otherwise known as the No Early Release Act, is a sentencing provision that guides the court in how it must apply a prison term. Not all crimes are subject to the sentencing provisions of NERA, but many involving violence are. Sentences that are subject to NERA, as a general rule, do not include crimes that lack an element of violence. For example, crimes of shoplifting, theft, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and drug possession are not covered under the No Early Release Act when charged in isolation. On the other hand, the legislature has listed crimes that fall under NERA. Once identified as having committed one of these offenses, the court is required to sentence you to serve 85% of your sentence before eligible for release on parole. The included crimes under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2 are as follows:
- Aggravated assault of the second degree
- Vehicular Homicide
- Manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter
- Aggravated Arson
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Burglary of the second degree
- Causing a drug-induced death (strict liability)
- Disarming an officer
- Trafficking firearms
- Booby traps in a CDS manufacturing facility
- Racketeering of the first degree
- Child endangerment by causing or allowing a child to engage in sexual conduct with the understanding that it may be reproduced.
If you are charged with any of the above criminal offenses and found guilty, the court is forced to implement a NERA sentence.
What does it mean to be sentenced under NERA in NJ?
Any time a person is charged with and subsequently convicted of a crime under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, the court is required to sentence them to serve 85% of the imposed term in prison. Crimes for which NERA apply are of the second and first degree and each carries a specified time in state prison. For example, for a second degree crime, the court must sentence you to between 5 and 10 years in state prison and the NERA sentence requires that you serve 85% of the number of years imposed before you can become eligible for parole. So, if you were sentenced to 5 years (60 months) under NERA, you will serve no less than 51 months. This means that you will do almost the entirety of the sentence before the parole board can even consider releasing you. In a normal case that does not fall under NERA, you would serve approximately 18 months before parole consideration. In first degree cases, the sentencing range is 10 to 20 years, while it can be higher in cases of murder and other exceptional situations such as kidnapping and carjacking. Presumably, serving 85% of a 20-year sentence or even a 30-year sentence is a harsh penalty for anyone.
Contact an Edison Criminal Lawyer for Help with Your NERA Case
By now, you may be wondering what you can do when charged with a NERA crime, where the sentencing provision is mandatory. Despite the frightening nature of your situation, there are ways that our experienced criminal defense lawyers can help. For instance, we may support your best outcome by minimizing your overall exposure. Sometimes, this is done by pleading the case down to a crime that is outside of NERA, thereby negating the necessary for an 85% term. Also, if prosecutors failed to present exculpatory evidence at the grand jury presentation or otherwise failed to present evidence as it relates to each element of the crime in question, a motion to dismiss may be warranted. Based on the analysis of the case, this may mean standing your ground until the end and litigating the matter before a jury.
The future may seem bleak when charged with a NERA offense in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Don’t hesitate to get seasoned defense representation. At our local criminal defense firm, our lawyers will stand between you and the prosecutor, and employ all of our knowledge and skills to defend the charges against you. Whatever you choose to do when charged with a NERA crime or another serious indictable offense, your decision can and should be an educated one based on a discussion of the facts, the law, and any available defense avenues. Get a free consultation with an attorney who can further assist you 24/7. Call (732) 659-9600 today.
You can see from one of our many five star reviews that William A. Proetta and our firm truly care about providing the best service and outcome when handling your case. Here is an example:
“One of the best decisions I have ever made was going with Mr. Proetta to handle my case. He always made sure I was comfortable throughout the whole process and that I understood what was going on. His secretary was lovely and always made sure to call before each hearing to just remind me of them and always stayed on top of everything. Mr. Proetta got me the best outcome imaginable and was very straightforward with me the entire time. I can’t thank him enough for the amount of time he put into my case and the outcome he got for me. I cannot begin to express how happy I was with Mr. Proetta representing me. If you are looking for a kind, professional, knowledgeable, and straightforward lawyer.. look no further. I genuinely could go on and on about the nice things I could say about him. Rest assured if you are thinking of going with Mr. Proetta, you will also be making the best decision for yourself just like I did!” – 5 stars, Valerie