NJSA 2C:2-5 Affirmative Defenses
Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents individuals charged with criminal and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey.
Affirmative defenses 2C:2-5. Defenses generally Conduct which would otherwise be an offense is excused or alleviated by reason of any defense now provided by law for which neither the code nor other statutory law defining the offense provides exceptions or defenses dealing with the specific situation involved and a legislative purpose to exclude the defense claimed does not otherwise plainly appear.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:2-5, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
2C:2-6. Liability for conduct of another; complicity a. A person is guilty of an offense if it is committed by his own conduct or by the conduct of another person for which he is legally accountable, or both.
b. A person is legally accountable for the conduct of another person when:
(1) Acting with the kind of culpability that is sufficient for the commission of the offense, he causes an innocent or irresponsible person to engage in such conduct;
(2) He is made accountable for the conduct of such other person by the code or by the law defining the offense;
(3) He is an accomplice of such other person in the commission of an offense; or
(4) He is engaged in a conspiracy with such other person.
c. A person is an accomplice of another person in the commission of an offense if:
(1) With the purpose of promoting or facilitating the commission of the offense; he
(a) Solicits such other person to commit it;
(b) Aids or agrees or attempts to aid such other person in planning or committing it; or
(c) Having a legal duty to prevent the commission of the offense, fails to make proper effort so to do; or
(2) His conduct is expressly declared by law to establish his complicity.
d. A person who is legally incapable of committing a particular offense himself may be guilty thereof if it is committed by another person for whose conduct he is legally accountable, unless such liability is inconsistent with the purpose of the provision establishing his incapacity.
e. Unless otherwise provided by the code or by the law defining the offense, a person is not an accomplice in an offense committed by another person if:
(1) He is a victim of that offense;
(2) The offense is so defined that his conduct is inevitably incident to its commission; or
(3) He terminates his complicity under circumstances manifesting a complete and voluntary renunciation as defined in section 2C:5-1 d. prior to the commission of the offense. Termination by renunciation is an affirmative defense which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of evidence.
f. An accomplice may be convicted on proof of the commission of the offense and of his complicity therein, though the person claimed to have committed the offense has not been prosecuted or convicted or has been convicted of a different offense or degree of offense or has an immunity to prosecution or conviction or has been acquitted.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:2-6, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
2C:2-7. Liability of corporations and persons acting, or under a duty to act, in their behalf a. A corporation may be convicted of the commission of an offense if:
(1) The conduct constituting the offense is engaged in by an agent of the corporation while acting within the scope of his employment and in behalf of the corporation unless the offense is one defined by a statute which indicates a legislative purpose not to impose criminal liability on corporations. If the law governing the offense designates the agents for whose conduct the corporation is accountable or the circumstances under which it is accountable, such provisions shall apply;
(2) The offense consists of an omission to discharge a specific duty of affirmative performance imposed on corporations by law; or
(3) The conduct constituting the offense is engaged in, authorized, solicited, requested, commanded, or recklessly tolerated by the board of directors or by a high managerial agent acting within the scope of his employment and in behalf of the corporation.
b. As used in this section:
(1) "Corporation" does not include an entity organized as or by a governmental agency for the execution of a governmental program;
(2) "Agent" means any director, officer, servant, employee or other person authorized to act in behalf of the corporation;
(3) "High managerial agent" means an officer of a corporation or any other agent of a corporation having duties of such responsibility that his conduct may fairly be assumed to represent the policy of the corporation.
c. In any prosecution of a corporation for the commission of an offense included within the terms of subsection a. (1) of this section, other than an offense for which absolute liability has been imposed, it shall be a defense if the defendant proves by a preponderance of evidence that the high managerial agent having supervisory responsibility over the subject matter of the offense employed due diligence to prevent its commission. This paragraph shall not apply if it is plainly inconsistent with the legislative purpose in defining the particular offense.
d. Nothing in this section imposing liability upon a corporation shall be construed as limiting the liability for an offense of an individual by reason of his being an agent of the corporation.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:2-7, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
a. Except as provided in subsection d. of this section, intoxication of the actor is not a defense unless it negatives an element of the offense.
b. When recklessness establishes an element of the offense, if the actor, due to self-induced intoxication, is unaware of a risk of which he would have been aware had he been sober, such unawareness is immaterial.
c. Intoxication does not, in itself, constitute mental disease within the meaning of chapter 4.
d. Intoxication which (1) is not self-induced or (2) is pathological is an affirmative defense if by reason of such intoxication the actor at the time of his conduct did not know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong. Intoxication under this subsection must be proved by clear and convincing evidence.
e. Definitions. In this section unless a different meaning plainly is required:
(1) "Intoxication" means a disturbance of mental or physical capacities resulting from the introduction of substances into the body;
(2) "Self-induced intoxication" means intoxication caused by substances which the actor knowingly introduces into his body, the tendency of which to cause intoxication he knows or ought to know, unless he introduces them pursuant to medical advice or under such circumstances as would afford a defense to a charge of crime;
(3) "Pathological intoxication" means intoxication grossly excessive in degree, given the amount of the intoxicant, to which the actor does not know he is susceptible.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:2-8, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by L.1983, c. 306, s. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1983.
2C:2-9. Duress a. Subject to subsection b. of this section, it is an affirmative defense that the actor engaged in the conduct charged to constitute an offense because he was coerced to do so by the use of, or a threat to use, unlawful force against his person or the person of another, which a person of reasonable firmness in his situation would have been unable to resist.
b. The defense provided by this section is unavailable if the actor recklessly placed himself in a situation in which it was probable that he would be subjected to duress. The defense is also unavailable if he was criminally negligent in placing himself in such a situation, whenever criminal negligence suffices to establish culpability for the offense charged. In a prosecution for murder, the defense is only available to reduce the degree of the crime to manslaughter.
c. It is not a defense that a woman acted on the command of her husband, unless she acted under such coercion as would establish a defense under this section. The presumption that a woman, acting in the presence of her husband, is coerced is abolished.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:2-9, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
2C:2-10. Consent a. In general. The consent of the victim to conduct charged to constitute an offense or to the result thereof is a defense if such consent negatives an element of the offense or precludes the infliction of the harm or evil sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense.
b. Consent to bodily harm. When conduct is charged to constitute an offense because it causes or threatens bodily harm, consent to such conduct or to the infliction of such harm is a defense if:
(1) The bodily harm consented to or threatened by the conduct consented to is not serious; or
(2) The conduct and the harm are reasonably foreseeable hazards of joint participation in a concerted activity of a kind not forbidden by law; or
(3) The consent establishes a justification for the conduct under chapter 3 of the code.
c. Ineffective consent. Unless otherwise provided by the code or by the law defining the offense, assent does not constitute consent if:
(1) It is given by a person who is legally incompetent to authorize the conduct charged to constitute the offense; or
(2) It is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect or intoxication is manifestly unable or known by the actor to be unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature of harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute an offense; or
(3) It is induced by force, duress or deception of a kind sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:2-10, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
2C:2-11. De minimis infractions
The assignment judge may dismiss a prosecution if, having regard to the nature of the conduct charged to constitute an offense and the nature of the attendant circumstances, it finds that the defendant's conduct:
a. Was within a customary license or tolerance, neither expressly negated by the person whose interest was infringed nor inconsistent with the purpose of the law defining the offense;
b. Did not actually cause or threaten the harm or evil sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense or did so only to an extent too trivial to warrant the condemnation of conviction; or
c. Presents such other extenuations that it cannot reasonably be regarded as envisaged by the Legislature in forbidding the offense. The assignment judge shall not dismiss a prosecution under this section without giving the prosecutor notice and an opportunity to be heard. The prosecutor shall have a right to appeal any such dismissal.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:2-11, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
2C:2-12. Entrapment a. A public law enforcement official or a person engaged in cooperation with such an official or one acting as an agent of a public law enforcement official perpetrates an entrapment if for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of an offense, he induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such offense by either:
(1) Making knowingly false representations designed to induce the belief that such conduct is not prohibited; or
(2) Employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such an offense will be committed by persons other than those who are ready to commit it.
b. Except as provided in subsection c. of this section, a person prosecuted for an offense shall be acquitted if he proves by a preponderance of evidence that his conduct occurred in response to an entrapment. The issue of entrapment shall be tried by the trier of fact.
c. The defense afforded by this section is unavailable when causing or threatening bodily injury is an element of the offense charged and the prosecution is based on conduct causing or threatening such injury to a person other than the person perpetrating the entrapment.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:2-12, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by L.1979, c. 178, s. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
2C:3-1. Justification an affirmative defense; civil remedies unaffected a. In any prosecution based on conduct which is justifiable under this chapter, justification is an affirmative defense.
b. The fact that conduct is justifiable under this chapter does not abolish or impair any remedy for such conduct which is available in any civil action.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:3-1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
2C:3-2. Necessity and other justifications in general a. Necessity. Conduct which would otherwise be an offense is justifiable by reason of necessity to the extent permitted by law and as to which neither the code nor other statutory law defining the offense provides exceptions or defenses dealing with the specific situation involved and a legislative purpose to exclude the justification claimed does not otherwise plainly appear.
b. Other justifications in general. Conduct which would otherwise be an offense is justifiable by reason of any defense of justification provided by law for which neither the code nor other statutory law defining the offense provides exceptions or defenses dealing with the specific situation involved and a legislative purpose to exclude the justification claimed does not otherwise plainly appear.
L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:3-2, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.
Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea
1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)
2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:
3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.
4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.
5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.
6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.
7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.
8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3
9. You could be put on Probation.
10. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your driver's license for 6 months - 2years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.
11. You may be required to do Community Service.
12. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.
13. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.
14. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.
15. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1
16. You may lose your right to vote.
The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.
Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:
If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.
NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;
(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;
(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;
(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.
2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:
a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;
(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;
b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;
(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;
c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;
d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;
If facing any criminal charge, retain an experienced attorney immediately to determine you rights and obligations to the court. Current criminal charge researched by Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. 732-572-0500
Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee, GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us or New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htm
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,
2053 Woodbridge Avenue,
Edison, NJ 08817,