When a New Jersey resident is facing theft charges they can wonder what kind of punishment they may incur. It may surprise them that the theft charge they may be facing can change to robbery. So how can a New Jersey theft case turn into robbery?
New Jersey robbery
Under New Jersey law, a theft becomes a robbery if:
- The defendant inflicts bodily harm or other use of force during the robbery.
- The defendant threatens or puts the victim in fear of bodily harm.
- Commits or threatens to commit a crime of the first or second degree during the course of the theft.
The potential consequences of a robbery conviction include a decade or more in prison along with fines of over $100,000. In addition, robbery falls under the No Early Release Act (NERA).
In order to prove a robbery, the prosecution must prove the defendant:
- Committed or attempted to commit a theft;
- Inflicted bodily injury or used force against another person or threatened to commit a crime in the first or second degree;
- Engaged in the conduct during the theft;
- Acted purposely.
Criminal defense attorney
Because of the potential serious consequences of a robbery conviction, a person who is facing these charges should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. No matter the circumstances surrounding the arrest a defendant will need a skilled attorney on their side. An attorney can provide creative and strategic defenses to resolve criminal cases to the benefit of their clients. They will challenge the prosecutor at every possible turn and pursue motions to stop them from moving forward.