Former Homicide Prosecutors & Other Highly Skilled Criminal Attorneys At Our Firm Are Ready To Discuss Your Murder Case
Homicide is a term that covers any death caused by a purposeful, knowing, reckless, or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. When the effort to kill another person is intentional, the criminal offense that arises is murder. This is unquestionably one of the most serious charges that an individual can face in New Jersey with penalties that include life imprisonment. Your loved clearly needs to be represented by an attorney with extensive trial experience if they want to have the best chance of avoiding a life of incarceration. It is wise that you do your research and are sure that the lawyer you hire possesses the attributes that are desperately needed when a client is charged with murder in NJ.
We are the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, a criminal firm with the know-how and skill to mount a potent defense to a murder offense. Our team of talented attorneys possesses:
- Over 200 years of combined experience defending violent crimes like murder, manslaughter, robbery and sexual assault
- Former county prosecutors who have spearheaded murder cases as Director of the Major Crimes Bureau, an entire Trial Division and as members of the Homicide Unit
- Ten lawyers that practice exclusively in criminal defense
- Certified criminal trial attorneys
- A long history of success in handling homicide-related charges
Contact us any time of day or night to discuss an arrest, upcoming detention hearing or initial appearance, extradition, or any other aspect of a murder offense. Attorneys are available immediately to help you at 877-450-8301.
New Jersey Murder Charge
The murder statute is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3 and outlines what is essentially two separate criminal charges: (1) murder based on purposeful or knowing conduct; and (2) felony murder. The headings below analyze each form of murder under this law.
I. Purposely or Knowingly Causing Murder In Violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-2a
Subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2) of 2C:11-3 are directed at murders where the actor either purposely or knowingly causes the death or serious bodily injury to another person and the resulting injuries result in death. There are three (3) distinct elements of proof that must be established by the prosecutor in order to convict a defendant for murder. First, there must have been a death. Second, death or serious injuries leading to death must have been caused by the accused. Third, the defendant must have acted either purposely or knowingly. Murder is committed is purposely if the actor has the conscious object to cause death or serious bodily injury. The commission of murder is knowing if the defendant is aware that death or serious bodily injury is practical certain from their conduct.
II. Felony Murder (Murder Committed During the Course of Certain Major Crimes) Under N.J.S.A. 2C:11-2b(2),(3) or (4)
The second way murder is committed is by causing the death of another person during the course of committing or fleeing one of the crimes set forth in subsection (a)(3) of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3. The offenses triggering exposure to a felony murder charge include robbery, sexual assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking, criminal escape, or terrorism. It is important to keep in mind that felony murder does not apply to conspiracy to commit one of these offenses but only to those who actively participate in the commission of the crime. To prove a charge for felony murder, the state must first establish that the defendant committed a predicate offense such as robbery. Second, the accused must have caused the death or serious injuries leading to death during the course or immediate flight from commission of the offense.
Prison Term for Murder in New Jersey
The sentence that is the baseline or minimum that someone can receive if convicted of the first-degree crime of murder is thirty (30) years without the possibility of parole (i.e. sentence of 30 years with no possibility of parole or sentenced for up to life imprisonment with 30 years of parole ineligibility). The term of imprisonment is enhanced to life without the possibility of parole if the victim was a police officer and was murdered during the course of his/her duties and if the victim was under eighteen (18) years old and the defendant committed the murder after subjecting the victim to aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual contact. The court must also impose life without the opportunity for parole if the homicide was committed for hire (i.e. payment of money), ordered by the leader of a narcotics trafficking network or the murder was committed during the course of an act of terrorism, and a jury finds that one of the following applies:
- The defendant has a prior conviction for murder;
- The defendant created a grave risk of death to another person (in addition to the victim);
- The defendant’s conduct was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, or an aggravated assault to the victim;
- The defendant committed the crime in return for money or procured the murder by paying money;
- The murder was committed for the purpose of escaping detection, apprehension, trial, punishment or confinement for another offense committed by the defendant or another;
- The murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit murder, robbery, sexual assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping, terrorism, or carjacking;
- The defendant murdered a public servant engaged in the performance of his official duties;
- The defendant was the leader of a narcotics trafficking network and committed, commanded or by threat or promise solicited the commission of the murder; or
- The homicidal act that the defendant committed or procured was in violation of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:17-2; or
- The victim was less than 14 years old.
Juvenile Waived Up to Adult Court for Murder. If the defendant to a murder charge is a juvenile who has been waived up to adult court, he/she is subject to a 30-year sentence without the opportunity for parole except for where: (1) the victim is a police office murder because of this status as a member of law enforcement; or (2) the victim is under 14 years old and was murdered after being raped or otherwise sexually molested by the accused. The juvenile is to be sentenced to life without parole if either of these circumstances applies.
Manslaughter versus Murder. You need intent to commit murder so any evidence that can negate this element, for example, intoxication, mental defect, or reasonable belief that self-defense was needed, can prove product in reducing a murder charge to manslaughter. You should also know that voluntary manslaughter can also come into play where an individual has a purpose to kill but is motivated by a sudden passion stemming from a provocation that would render any reasonable person to lose control.
Pretrial Detention. The presumption of pretrial release shifts to the defendant when the offense is murder. What this means is that a defendant charged with murder in New Jersey will have to present a compelling case in order to have the benefit of bail or release on pretrial supervision/monitoring.
Murder Defense Attorney in New Jersey
Logic should tell you that it is absolutely essential to hire a lawyer who is highly experienced in defending NJ murder charges. The stakes are clearly as extreme as they can be when someone is charged with murder so there is no room for a novice when it comes to representation of your loved one. You need someone not only knows how to try a murder case but also some who is skilled in the unique area of law. This is exactly what the criminal lawyers at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, can provide to you with former homicide prosecutors on staff. To speak to one of our accomplished attorneys immediately in a free consultation, call 877-450-8301.