Necessity or Justification as a Defense

NJ Criminal Lawyer

New Jersey law provides for an affirmative defense known as necessity or justification. As the terms imply, this NJ criminal defense applies to those very limited instances where conduct, which would otherwise be criminal in nature, is excused because it was necessary or justified. For obvious reasons, the defense only applies when a narrow set of requirements have been met. These requirements were set forth in State v. Josephs, 174 N.J. 44, 102 (2002) wherein our Supreme Court reiterated that there must be:

  1. A perceived risk of harm on the part of the defendant;
  2. The threat or risk of harm was not created or contributed to by the actor;
  3. The harm was unavoidable absent violation of the NJ criminal statute in question; and
  4. The potential harm was significant and outweighs the goals to be protected by the criminal statute.

A NJ criminal lawyer at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is prepared to answer any questions you may possess regarding the defense of necessity or justification and the criminal process. Please do not hesitate to contact us as initial consultations are without charge.