No Early Release Act

Hudson County No Early Release Act Attorneys

Under New Jersey Law, individuals convicted of certain crimes will be subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (otherwise known as “NERA”), a criminal statute that prohibits defendants from being let out of prison before serving at least 85% of their total jail term. Prior to serving 85% of the total sentence, the individual will not be eligible for parole. NERA is included in the New Jersey Criminal Code to enhance the punishments for certain serious crimes. NERA is applicable to a small subset of first and second degree crimes; it is not applicable for any third or fourth degree crimes. In essence it makes an already serious situation much worse. Typically speaking, a defendant sentenced to what is known as a “flat” sentence (one not subject to NERA & stipulated parole ineligibly term) would do approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of their sentence before they can become eligible for parole.

Upon release, after serving the 85% minimum, persons become eligible for release, but their release from prison is not guaranteed at that time. If the defendant meets certain prison and parole requirements, they will be placed in a program of supervised release known as parole. The parole period for first degree crimes will generally be five years unless otherwise prescribed. The parole period for second degree crimes is typically three years unless otherwise specified.

What Crimes are Subject to the No Early Release Act in NJ?

  1. Murder
  2. Aggravated Manslaughter
  3. Manslaughter
  4. Vehicular Homicide
  5. Aggravated Assault
  6. Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer
  7. Kidnapping
  8. Aggravated Sexual Assault
  9. Sexual Assault
  10. Robbery
  11. Carjacking
  12. Aggravated Arson
  13. Burglary (2nd Degree)
  14. Extortion
  15. Booby Traps in Drug Manufacturing Facilities
  16. Strict Liability for Drug Induced Deaths
  17. Terrorism
  18. Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons
  19. First Degree Racketeering

The NERA provisions are mandatory for the crimes listed above. Additionally, when individuals are charged with an “attempt to commit” or “conspiracy to commit” any of the above criminal offenses, the NERA provisions are also mandatory. When NERA applies, it changes the criminal punishments dramatically. NERA can double or even triple the prison sentence an inmate must serve for a given crime. Typical prison terms in New Jersey are significantly shorter than the court imposed sentence. Persons sentenced to a term of ten (10) years can often be released in five (5) years or less. As stated above, in some cases, defendants can serve as little as 33% of their imposed sentence.

Hudson County NJ Criminal Defense Firm

At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our team of experienced criminal trial attorneys understand the implications and sentencing factors that contribute to New Jersey criminal charges. If you are facing charges for a crime that implicates the No Early Release Act, then you are looking at a potentially long jail sentence. Therefore, obtaining legal counsel may be in your best interests. If have been charged with any of the aforementioned crimes and would like to speak to an experienced Hudson County criminal defense attorney about your options, please contact our Jersey City office directly at (201) 309-1800. Our office always provides free initial consultations and we are available 24/7 to answer any questions that you might have.