What is the No Early Release Act (NERA) in New Jersey?
The No Early Release Act, or NERA, is a criminal statute in New Jersey that prohibits defendants from being let out of prison before serving at least 85 percent of their total jail term. Individuals convicted of certain crimes will be subject to the sentencing guidelines outlined in the NERA statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, and will not be eligible for parole until 85 percent of their total prison sentence has been served. For some defendants, being charged with a violent crime govered by the No Early Release Act in New Jersey makes an already serious legal situation much worse.
If you have been charged with a violent crime in New Jersey, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Criminal charges for kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault, and other offenses may result in a lengthy term of incarceration and a mandatory period of parole ineligibility if you are convicted. The skilled criminal defense lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm help clients fight charges for NERA crimes throughout New Jersey, including in Hackensack, Newark, Paterson, Morristown, Camden, Jersey City, and New Brunswick. For a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney who can help, contact us today at (201)-556-1570 or send us a message.
What crimes are governed by the No Early Release Act NERA in New Jersey?
NERA is applicable to a subset of first degree and second degree crimes; however, it is not applicable to any third degree or fourth degree crimes. If your crime is on the following list, it is subject to the requirements outlined in the No Early Release Act (NERA) in New Jersey:
- N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3 – Murder;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4 – Aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5 – Vehicular homicide;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b) – Aggravated assault;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:12-11(b) – Disarming a law enforcement officer;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1 – Kidnapping;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 – Aggravated sexual assault;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c)(1) – Sexual Assault;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 – Robbery;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2 – Carjacking;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1(a)(1) – Aggravated Arson;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 – Burglary;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5 – Extortion;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4.1 – Booby traps in manufacturing or distributing facilities;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9 – Strict liability for drug-induced deaths;
- N.J.S.A. 2C:38-2 – Terrorism; and
- N.J.S.A. 2C:38-3 – Producing or possessing chemical weapons, biological agents, or nuclear or radiological devices
What about NERA crimes involving “Attempt” or “Conspiracy?”
For the crimes listed above, courts will mandatorily apply the NERA statute. Further, any attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the crimes listed in the No Early Release Act statute will be subject to NERA penalties. Usually, a defendant sentenced to what is known as a “flat” sentence – one not subject to NERA and stipulated parole ineligibly term – would do approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of their sentence before they can become eligible for parole.
If the criminal charge falls under another minimum sentence requirement, does NERA apply?
Usually, NERA supersedes other mandatory minimum sentences that apply in a criminal case. In most cases, the NERA prison term exceeds any other parole ineligibility requirement under the New Jersey Criminal Code. Therefore, if a crime falls under NERA, the defendant will most likely serve at least 85 percent of the sentence imposed, regardless of other mandatory sentences. Our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys will work toward the most minimum sentence possible.
If granted Parole, is there a supervision period under NERA?
After serving the 85 percent minimum sentence mandated by the No Early Release Act, if the defendant meets certain prison and parole requirements, they will be placed in a program of supervised release known as parole. The parole period for first degree crimes in New Jersey will generally be five years. The parole period for second degree crimes is typically three years. It is important to note that consecutive sentences under NERA will carry consecutive periods of parole supervision. Also, time in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation center is not afforded credit as time served under NERA.
Contact a New Jersey NERA Crime Defense Lawyer Today
Don’t let criminal charges for a violent crime under the No Early Release Act ruin your life. The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at the Tormey Law firm understand the severe penalties you’re facing can threaten your reputation, your career, and your freedom. Contact us today at (201)-556-1570 for a free consultation with a criminal attorney who is well-versed in New Jersey NERA law. One of our lawyers is available immediately to assist you.