Murder is one of the most serious crimes a person can be charged within New Jersey. If you've been charged, it's imperative you retain a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately. The stakes are too high to put your future in just anybody's hands. Contact the Lento Law Firm today for legal representation you can trust.
The importance of being informed in this predicament cannot be overstated. It's crucial you understand the gravity of these charges and the penalties you'll be exposed to if convicted. The Lento Law Firm has provided an overview of murder laws in New Jersey.
What Constitutes Murder in New Jersey?
Murder is a form of criminal homicide. What distinguishes murder from other types of homicide, such as manslaughter, is intent. In order to be found guilty of murder, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the defendant planned or intended to kill. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3, murder is constituted when:
- The defendant purposely causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death, or
- The defendant knowingly causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death, or
- It is committed when the defendant, acting alone or with one or more persons, is engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit robbery, sexual assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking, criminal escape or terrorism, and in the course of such crime causes the death of a victim.
New Jersey does not require the prosecution to prove that a defendant had devised a plan to convict them with murder. As long as the defendant intended to cause death to another in that moment, a conviction is possible.
Defining “Serious Bodily Injury”
Serious bodily injury is defined as bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Murder Penalties in New Jersey
The legal penalties imposed for murder are some of the most severe in the state of New Jersey.
A person convicted of this offense will either be subjected to the death penalty or a term of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole.
Potential Defenses for Murder
An indictment for a murder charge is determined by the prevalence of a number of factors. Attorney Joseph Lento of the Lento Law Firm has an adept knowledge of the elements of a case that must be proven to prosecute a defendant of murder, and therefore understands the potential defenses to assert to disprove these elements. A defense can be so convincing that it leads to a defendant's sentence being reduced or downgraded. A solid defense can even lead to the dismissal of your case altogether. The following defenses could possibly be asserted in your case if applicable:
You were defending yourself. Claims of self-defense are common to defend murder charges. Self-defense essentially acknowledges that the defendant did do what they've been accused of, however, they were justified using deadly force in order to combat against another person's imminent use of force. The elements of imminent harm and whether or not an appropriate amount of force was used will be assessed by the jury to determine if this defense is permissible.
The prosecution has mistaken your identity. In murder cases and other homicide crimes, attorneys often utilize the defense of mistaken identity. The use of this defense implies that the prosecution has charged the wrong person with murder. In these cases, an alibi is usually asserted to support this defense.
This was an accidental killing. If it is proven that a killing happened on accident, then it technically doesn't constitute murder. If this is the case and this defense is utilized effectively, a charge may be downgraded to voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
Insanity. Pleading insanity means that the defendant was unable to cognitively assess what they were doing and did not realize that the act was unlawful. If this defense is properly asserted, a defendant may be excluded from criminal liability.
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
As you know, murder charges are taken incredibly serious in just about every state, including New Jersey. A conviction of this crime will always result in incarceration, not to mention the damage a criminal conviction can have on your post-conviction life. In order to avoid a murder conviction and the legal penalties that come with it, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Here's a word of advice: you should never discuss the circumstances of an incident without an attorney present. If the police attempt to question you, it's in your best interest to decline this questioning and immediately request an attorney. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty, and a prosecutor must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you. You need an attorney who will challenge them at every possible turn as they try to pin this crime on you. If they don't have a solid case, there should be motions that stop them from moving forward.
If you're looking for quality legal representation, the Lento Law Firm is the ideal firm for you. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and credentials to defend and counsel people who've acquired murder charges. He will provide you with options in this predicament, build a solid defense and work towards getting your charges reduced or dropped. Mr. Lento keeps flexible office hours and is willing to work around your schedule. To set up a consultation or for more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm either online or by phone at 888-535-3686.