In New Jersey, the No Early Release Act which is commonly referred to as “NERA” applies to certain violent crimes. Essentially, if NERA applies in your case then the judge will impose sentence that requires you to serve 85% of your incarceration without being eligible for any parole. This is a staggering repercussion because most convicted offenders will be released after serving only a small portion of their sentence. For instance if you are sentenced to 3 years then you will often be release after 9 months once you become eligible for parole. However, if NERA applies then you will be have to serve at least 2 years and 6 months before being eligible for parole for the same 3 year sentence. NERA is a technical and often complicated application of law that we often to refer to as a common “pitfall” that can often trap the less experienced or unrepresented defendants. NERA sentencing applies to Murder, Manslaughter, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Kidnapping, Carjacking, Burglary, Vehicular Homicide, Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer, and Arson. At Proetta & Oliver, our attorneys have dealt with NERA cases and we are well aware of all the steps and requirements with its application and the strategies of getting around it. If you would like to learn about how we may be able to help you, contact us at (908) 838-0150 for a free consultation with an experienced criminal attorney or to schedule an appointment at any one of our offices.
NERA Crimes in New Jersey
If you have been arrested for a violent crime such as the examples listed above, you could most likely be exposed to an extended sentence based on the No Early Release Act (NERA). Generally speaking, NERA applies to all 2nd Degree aggravated assault crimes and even certain 3rd degree aggravated assault charges depending on the facts. Moreover, NERA does not draw a distinction between defendants based on their prior record or lack thereof – even if you have never been in trouble before, NERA will apply. In fact, the only real way to avoid the application of NERA is to negotiate a plea to a lower offense where NERA does not apply or to be found not guilty of the charge altogether. NERA regulations will then be applied by the judge at the defendant’s sentencing hearing, when the judge decides the length of incarceration. It is important to note that for purposes of NERA, a “violent crime” takes place when the defendant uses or threatens to use of a deadly weapon that is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury. “Serious bodily injury” can mean a number of different things including an injury that causes substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or impairment and loss of the function of any appendage or organ. At the Proetta & Oliver our lawyers very experienced in handling cases involving NERA implications and mandatory incarceration. In fact, our attorneys have been able to secure probation and even Pre-Trial Intervention for our clients facing NERA crimes by negotiating with the prosecutor to come to a plea agreement for a lower and lesser charge. If you would like to speak with a criminal defense lawyer about your case, contact our office today at (908) 838-0150 to set up a free consultation today.