New Jersey Sentencing Factors Lawyer

After a Defendant pleads guilty too or is convicted of a criminal offense in New Jersey, the Judge must impose a sentence. The said sentence may be to a probationary term, drug court, pre trial intervention, state prison or county jail sentence but before the Judge can impose said sentence, they must take into consideration the aggravating factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1. Therefore, before a Judge may impose a sentence for a conviction of say possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, carjacking, armed robbery or unlawful possession of a gun they must analyze the said factors. Also under N.J.S.A. 2C:44-2 is mitigating factors. An important distinction here is that the Judge is not bound to take any of these factors into consideration before imposing a sentence. An experienced criminal defense attorney can have a tremendous impact on a defendant’s sentence by putting forth on the record their balance of the aggravating and mitigating factors. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has over 100 years of combined experience on staff, including over twenty-five years of prior prosecuting experience. If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense like arson, assault by auto, death by auto or possession of prescription drugs we can help. Here is some important information with regards to the aggravating and mitigating sentencing factors.

Sentencing Factors: N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1

A sentencing Judge must balance the aggravating and mitigating factors listed below prior to imposing any discretionary sentence. As stated above, although the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice dictates that it is mandatory that the Judge consider the aggravating factors, they did not make it mandatory for the Judge to consider the mitigating factors.

Aggravating Factors

  1. Nature and Circumstance of the Offense and the Role of Defendant
  2. Gravity and Seriousness of the Harm Inflicted on the Victim
  3. Risk Defendant will Commit Another Offense
  4. Depreciate the Seriousness of the Offense—Public Trust or Position of Trust
  5.  Organized Crime
  6. Defendant’s Prior Criminal Record and the Seriousness of the Offenses
  7. Paid for Offense or Pecuniary Incentive
  8. Victim Law Enforcement, Correctional Officer Firman or Because a Public Servant
  9. Need to Deter
  10.  Fraud Against Division State Government
  11.  Fine would be Perceived as Cost of Business
  12.  Victim Over the Age of 60 Disabled
  13.  Commission of Offense while Using Stolen Motor Vehicle

Mitigating Factors

  1. No Serious Harm Caused or Threatened
  2. No Serious Harm Contemplated
  3. Strong Provocation
  4. Substantial Grounds Tending to Justify or Excuse
  5. Victim’s Conduct Facilitated
  6. Defendant has or will Compensate the Victim
  7. No History Delinquency or Criminal Activity
  8. Circumstances Not Likely to Recur
  9. Character and Attitude of Defendant
  10.  Likely to Respond to Probation
  11.  Imprisonment Excessive Hardship
  12.  Willingness to Cooperate with Law Enforcement
  13.  Youthful Offender Substantially Influenced by More Mature Person

None of the aforementioned factors may be used in determining a defendants sentences unless there is credible evidence in the record to support the sentencing court’s findings that the circumstance exists. Once the Judge has determined which aggravating and mitigating factors apply, they must then balance those factors. Prior to imposing the sentence, the Judge must set forth on the record a statement of the aggravating and mitigating factors it found applicable and how they were balanced.

Powerful Bergen County Criminal Defense Firm

The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced Bergen County Criminal Defense Firm, with a long track record of success. If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense in towns like Paramus, Fair Lawn, River Edge, Elmwood Park, Hackensack, Fort Lee or Palisades Interstate Park we can help. Please contact any one of our Bergen County Offices for a free initial consultation with any one of our eight criminal defense attorneys on staff.