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New Jersey Criminal Law Definitions

Important Criminal law definitions in New Jersey

Definitions are critical to any understanding of New Jersey criminal laws and can be found all throughout the New Jersey criminal code. Some may be found in the beginning of certain chapters, some may be found within the actual criminal statute and some may refer to other areas of the code. Definitions are essential to a total understanding of what the government has to prove for each specific crime in New Jersey.

Here are some definitions found in the New Jersey criminal code for terms referred to in other areas of this website.
“Attempt”. 2C:5-1(a) A person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if, acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for commission of the crime, he:

(1) Purposely engages in conduct which would constitute the crime if the attendant circumstances were as a reasonable person would believe them to be;

(2) When causing a particular result is an element of the crime, does or omits to do anything with the purpose of causing such result without further conduct on his part; or

(3) Purposely does or omits to do anything which, under the circumstances as a reasonable person would believe them to be, is an act or omission constituting a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in his commission of the crime.

“Bodily injury” means physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition. 2C:12-1(a)
“Significant bodily injury” means bodily injury which creates a temporary loss of the function of any bodily member or organ or temporary loss of any one of the five senses. 2C:12-1(d)

“Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. 2C:12-1(b)

“Deadly weapon” means any firearm or other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which in the manner it is used or is intended to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury or which in the manner it is fashioned would lead the victim reasonably to believe it to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury. 2C:12-1(c)

“Firearm” means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun, device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances. It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person. 2C:39-1f.

Kinds of culpability or Mental States are defined in 2C:2-2(b)

(1) Purposely. A person acts purposely with respect to the nature of his conduct or a result thereof if it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result. A person acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances if he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist. “With purpose,” “designed,” “with design” or equivalent terms have the same meaning.

(2) Knowingly. A person acts knowingly with respect to the nature of his conduct or the attendant circumstances if he is aware that his conduct is of that nature, or that such circumstances exist, or he is aware of a high probability of their existence. A person acts knowingly with respect to a result of his conduct if he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result. “Knowing,” “with knowledge” or equivalent terms have the same meaning.

(3) Recklessly. A person acts recklessly with respect to a material element of an offense when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation. “Recklessness,” “with recklessness” or equivalent terms have the same meaning.

(4) Negligently. A person acts negligently with respect to a material element of an offense when he should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the actor’s failure to perceive it, considering the nature and purpose of his conduct and the circumstances known to him, involves a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation. “Negligently” or “negligence” when used in this code, shall refer to the standard set forth in this section and not to the standards applied in civil cases.

The Bianchi Law Group, LLC

The Bianchi Law Group is made up of former trial prosecutors and other “of counsel” attorneys who have handled the investigations and prosecutions of most crimes in New Jersey and will defend you for all federal and state crimes in New Jersey.

Former Prosecutors

Founding Partner and Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi has returned to private practice after running the operations of the entire Morris County Prosecutor’s Office having served as the Morris County Prosecutor for 5 and 1/2 years (2007-2013). Mr. Bianchi was appointed as the Morris County Prosecutor by the Governor of the State of New Jersey and unanimously confirmed by the New Jersey Senate in 2007.

While serving as the Morris County Prosecutor, Mr. Bianchi ran the entire office’s operations, inclusive of all of its attorneys, detectives, and support staff with a budget of approximately 11 million dollars. His innovative programs and approach have led to numerous awards from State, Local, Municipal, business, and private entities. Robert Bianchi served on the Executive Board of the County Prosecutors’ Association and was one of the few prosecutors in many years to actually argue cases, motions, and sentences in court, and actually tried a murder case himself, which is extremely rare for a sitting county prosecutor.

Mr. Bianchi was previously a Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor (1989-1996) and thereafter a partner in the law firm Bianchi & Bianchi (1996-2007). Robert was one of the few attorneys in the State who qualified to handle death penalty cases when New Jersey had the death penalty. Read Robert Bianchi’s full biography here.

Partner David J. Bruno has also returned to private practice after serving as Morris County Assistant Prosecutor (2007-2013). As an assistant prosecutor, Mr. Bruno prosecuted murder, major crimes, white collar, internal affairs, domestic violence, and elderly abuse cases. Additionally, Mr. Bruno handled fraud and Major Crimes investigations and successfully tried a wide variety of trials including securing convictions for several high profile murder cases. Read David Bruno’s full biography here.

In December 2012, then Prosecutor Bianchi and Assistant Prosecutor Bruno worked together to secure a murder conviction against Jose Feliciano for the violent death of Father Edward Hinds in at St. Patrick’s Church in Chatham, New Jersey. Mr. Feliciano was sentenced to life without parole.

Together, Robert A. Bianchi, David J. Bruno and other “of counsel” attorneys make up an aggressive, ethical, and results-oriented New Jersey Criminal Defense firm who handle all criminal, municipal and DUI/DWI cases in New Jersey.

Partners Robert A. Bianchi and David J. Bruno are also both certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a criminal trial Attorneys.

In New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court has a certification committee which classifies certain New Jersey Lawyers as Certified Trial Attorneys. The process requires the prospective attorneys to satisfy a strict criteria including extensive jury trials, a primary focus in criminal law, an application submission, a peer review process, a character and background check and to pass a written examination. Only 250 of over 93,000 lawyers (less than 1%) are designated as certified criminal trial attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. This should be an important factor in finding a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to represent you. Many New Jersey Lawyers describe themselves as trial attorneys but most do not have the New Jersey Court’s distinction as Certified Criminal Trial Attorney.

Trial Ready New Jersey Criminal Lawyers

Like in all of our cases handled at the Bianchi Law Group, our experienced staff of trial attorneys and “of counsel” attorneys are there to make sure the Government can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If our attorneys cannot resolve the case with a dismissal or a fair and just plea bargain, our lawyers at The Bianchi Law Group will not hesitate to select a jury and take the case to trial. That is what we do and what distinguishes us from other attorneys. We are former prosecutors, trial tested, and certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as certified criminal trial attorneys… We will not hesitate to go to trial.

Contact Us Today for a Free Initial Consultation

Contact Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, Esq. and David J. Bruno, Esq. at The Bianchi Law Group, LLC online or call (862) 210-8570 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced New Jersey Defense Attorney.

At The Bianchi Law Group, we will take care to provide you Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases.

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4 York Avenue, 2nd Floor
West Caldwell, New Jersey, 07006
Phone: 862-210-8570

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