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What are the penalties for robbery in New Jersey?

New Jersey penalties for robbery tend to be harsh, especially if the accused person is facing first-degree charges. The severity of the penalties increases when the threat of bodily injury or death was involved in the case.

The New Jersey criminal code establishes robbery as a second-degree offense. Juries generally recommend second-degree robbery convictions when they believe that the accused person used force to commit a theft but that they were not armed with a deadly weapon during the incident. Like other second-degree crimes in New Jersey, robbery carries a prison term between five and 10 years upon conviction. A person convicted of robbery may also be required to pay a fine of up to $150,000.

Bodily injury or the threat of injury, the use of deadly weapons such as firearms and leading victims to believe that a deadly weapon is present are all aggravating factors that may elevate robbery charges to first-degree charges. Juries must convict an accused person of first-degree robbery if prosecuting attorneys prove to them that in the process of committing a theft, the person possessed a deadly weapon and intended to use it against a victim to kill or harm them. New Jersey sentencing guidelines establish a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years for first-degree crimes such as robbery. The court may also impose a fine of up to $200,000.

Long prison sentences and burdensome fines are standard for even second-degree robbery convictions. However, direct evidence that force was used or that the accused person possessed a deadly weapon and intended to use may not be present. Criminal defense attorneys may question witnesses' testimony or otherwise refute prosecutors' evidence against their clients. By doing this, defense attorneys may convince prosecutors to amend to lesser charges or drop charges completely.

Source: New Jersey Courts, "ROBBERY IN THE FIRST DEGREE", November 19, 2014

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