Facing charges of any type of criminal homicide can be a distressing encounter for the defendant and his or her family. Homicide charges in New Jersey are serious. And, a conviction could lead to decades in prison or life imprisonment without a chance for parole. Since the stakes are high, you can’t afford to appear before the prosecution without devoted legal support from a skilled criminal defense attorney.
A Pleasantville NJ homicide attorney from the Law Office of Mathew V. Portella, LLC can help. Our law firm is well-versed in both federal and state homicide laws and understands the potential defenses to use against a murder charge. We’ll do all we can to challenge the proof against you, and have the charges dropped or decreased.
Types of Homicide Offenses
The New Jersey law divides homicide charges into three different offenses: murder, manslaughter and vehicular homicide. The three offenses have a charge for the death of another person. What separates them is the intent of the defendant when committing the alleged crime.
Under the N.J.S.A section 2C:11-3, murder is charged when the defendant intentionally causes death or severe bodily injury resulting in death. A severe bodily injury has a significant risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or extensive loss or functional impairment of a body part.
Murder may also be charged when a defendant causes someone’s death while committing, trying to commit or fleeing from the scene of certain crimes. Such crimes are: arson, automotive theft, kidnapping, burglary, sexual assault, criminal escape, robbery and terrorism.
Under N.J.S.A section 2C:11-4, manslaughter is charged when a homicide is committed recklessly or in the heat of passion caused by reasonable provocation. Manslaughter can become aggravated manslaughter if:
- The defendant recklessly causes death while showcasing extreme indifference to human life
- The defendant causes somebody’s death while fleeing or trying to elude a police officer
Vehicular homicide (death by auto) involves causing death through reckless driving of a vehicle or vessel according to N.J.S.A section 2C:11-5a. That applies to motorcycles, cars, trucks, scooters, airplanes, vans and boats.
Penalties for a Homicide Offense in New Jersey
New Jersey annulled the use of capital punishment (death penalty) in 2007. Nevertheless, homicide is still a very severe felony, or indictable offense, and offenders are subject to calamitous consequences.
Murder is considered a 1st-degree indictable offense. A person who is declared guilty of murder is either:
- Sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment without parole
- Given a prison sentence for a period ranging from 30 years to life. He or she must serve a minimum of 30 years of their sentence before qualifying for parole
- Sentenced to life imprisonment if the victim was a law enforcement officer, or below 14 years of age and the crime was performed during a sexual assault
Manslaughter is termed as a 2nd-degree indictable crime, whereas aggravated manslaughter is viewed as a 1st-degree offense. A manslaughter charge comes with a penalty of 5-10 years in prison, while aggravated manslaughter has a punishment of 10-30 years.
Vehicular homicide typically falls in the category of 2nd-degree crimes. However, it may be considered a 1st-degree offense if the defendant was driving on school property or a school crossing while intoxicated. Apart from a long prison sentence, vehicular homicide can lead to driver’s license suspension.
Contact a Knowledgeable Pleasantville NJ Homicide Attorney
Homicide charges come with serious consequences. So, it is absolutely crucial to retain the services of a highly knowledgeable Pleasantville NJ homicide attorney like those at the Law Office of Mathew V. Portella, LLC. For a free consultation and case review call us at (856) 310-9800 or reach out to us online.