Criteria for Imprisonment, N.J.S.A. 2c:44-1

criteria for imprisonment, sentencing factors, aggravating factors, mitigating factors, N.J.S.A. 2c:44-1, new jersey, criminal defense, attorney, lawyerNew Jersey law enumerates specific criteria for imprisonment. Furthermore, these criteria apply to every defendant convicted of an offense. Recently a man appeared in Mercer County Superior Court for an assault sentence, per nj dot com. But before the court imposed the sentence, the victim gave an impact statement. Describing herself as “almost dead,” she called the assault “senseless,” and said “every day” she thinks about it. Additionally, prosecutors said the defendant argued with his girlfriend, picked up a kitchen knife, and stabbed her several times. Ultimately, the girlfriend recovered from her injuries, which included a punctured lung. The court sentenced the defendant to a three year State Prison sentence and three years of parole supervision.

Criteria for Imprisonment

Aggravating Factors, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(a)

In determining a sentence for a person convicted of an offense, the court shall consider the following aggravating factors:

  1. The nature and circumstances of the offense, and the role of the actor therein, including whether or not committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner;
  2. The gravity and seriousness of harm inflicted on the victim, including whether or not the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim of the offense was particularly vulnerable or incapable of resistance due to advanced age, ill-health, or extreme youth, or was for any other reason substantially incapable of exercising normal physical or mental power of resistance;
  3. The risk that the defendant will commit another offense;
  4. A lesser sentence will depreciate the seriousness of the defendant’s offense because it involved a breach of the public trust under chapters 27 and 30, or the defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the offense;
  5. A substantial likelihood of the defendant’s involvement in organized criminal activity;
  6. The extent of the defendant’s prior criminal record and the seriousness of the prior convictions;
  7. The defendant committed the offense pursuant to an agreement that he either pay or be paid for the commission of the offense and the pecuniary incentive was beyond that inherent in the offense itself;

More Aggravating Factors

  1. The defendant committed the offense against a police or other law enforcement officer, correctional employee or fireman, acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority; the defendant committed the offense because of the status of the victim as a public servant; or the defendant committed the offense against a sports official, athletic coach or manager, acting in or immediately following the performance of his duties or because of the person’s status as a sports official, coach or manager;
  2. The need for deterring the defendant and others from violating the law;
  3. The offense involved fraudulent or deceptive practices committed against any department or division of State government;
  4. The defendant or others would perceive the imposition of a fine, penalty or order of restitution without also imposing a term of imprisonment merely as part of the cost of doing business, or as an acceptable contingent business or operating expense associated with the initial decision to resort to unlawful practices;
  5. The defendant committed the offense against a person who he knew or should have known to be 60 years of age or older, or disabled;
  6. While in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, the defendant used or was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle;
  7. The offense involved an act of domestic violence…committed in the presence of a child under 16 years of age; and
  8. The offense involved an act of domestic violence…and the defendant committed at least one act of domestic violence on more than one occasion.

Mitigating Factors, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(b)

In determining the appropriate sentence for a person convicted of an offense, the court may consider the following mitigating circumstances:

  1. The defendant’s conduct neither caused nor threatened serious harm;
  2. The defendant did not contemplate that his conduct would cause or threaten serious harm;
  3. The defendant acted under a strong provocation;
  4. There were substantial grounds tending to excuse or justify the defendant’s conduct, though failing to establish a defense;
  5. The victim of the defendant’s conduct induced or facilitated its commission;
  6. The defendant has compensated or will compensate the victim of his conduct for the damage or injury that he sustained, or will participate in a program of community service;
  7. The defendant has no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity or has led a law-abiding life for a substantial period of time before the commission of the present offense;
  8. The defendant’s conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur;
  9. The character and attitude of the defendant indicate that he is unlikely to commit another offense;
  10. The defendant is particularly likely to respond affirmatively to probationary treatment;
  11. The imprisonment of the defendant would entail excessive hardship to himself or his dependents;
  12. The willingness of the defendant to cooperate with law enforcement authorities;
  13. The conduct of a youthful defendant was substantially influenced by another person more mature than the defendant.


Domestic violence means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts inflicted upon a person protected under this act by an adult or an emancipated minor: Homicide N.J.S.A. 2c:11-1 et seq., Assault N.J.S.A. 2c:12-1, Terroristic threats N.J.S.A. 2c:12-3, Kidnapping N.J.S.A. 2c:13-1, Criminal restraint N.J.S.A. 2c:13-2, False imprisonment N.J.S.A. 2c:13-3, Sexual assault N.J.S.A. 2c:14-2, Criminal sexual contact N.J.S.A. 2c:14-3, Lewdness N.J.S.A. 2c:14-4, Criminal mischief N.J.S.A. 2c:17-3, Burglary N.J.S.A. 2c:18-2, Criminal trespass N.J.S.A. 2c:18-3, Harassment N.J.S.A. 2c:33-4, Stalking P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2c:12-10), Criminal coercion N.J.S.A. 2c:13-5, Robbery N.J.S.A. 2c:15-1, Contempt of a domestic violence order pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 that constitutes a crime or disorderly persons offense, any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person protected under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.), and Cyber-harassment P.L.2013, c.272 (C.2c:33-4.1).

Victim of domestic violence means any person who

  • is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present household member or was at any time a household member.
  • regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has a child in common, or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant.
  • has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.

New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on sentencing for all cases. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.