Bias Intimidation, N.J.S.A. 2c:16-1

Bias Intimidation, N.J.S.A. 2c:16-1, New Jersey, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, drunk driving, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyerGunfire at a Jersey City kosher market recently left a police officer, two suspects, and three bystanders dead. Subsequently, the investigation revealed alleged online hate as the drifters’ motive. Perhaps unsurprisingly, officials adopted the label domestic terrorism for the violence, which began a mile away at a cemetery. After opening fire at the market, the pair held off armed police and federal officials for four hours with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, per the news.

Additionally, less than a week later, a Jersey City man allegedly threatened to “bomb all of the Jews” there. He made the alleged threats during a phone call with a welfare worker. Indeed, the judge did not release the suspect on bail. Instead, she ordered him detained during the entire prosecution.

Furthermore, Highland Park police are investigating the appearance of sidewalk graffiti outside a local synagogue. But the cops have declined to say when witnesses spotted and reported the graffiti. Moreover, Mendham police and Morris County Sheriffs are investigating a toppled menorah. Naturally, some news reports have not ruled out the possibility that natural forces caused it.

And all this has lead to one conclusion for government authorities, Jewish citizens, and many others. Anti-Semitism motivated these acts. Consequently, these circumstances have resulted in elevated concerns. More significantly, they have placed leaders on high alert to thwart future acts of violence. Unfortunately, however, this means only an increased police presence at area synagogues, per the news.

How long can dependence on police persist? How long will departments dedicate resources to this form of deterrence? When will lawmakers and judges realize the refrain call a cop rings hollow in the aftermath of tragedy? How can individuals in New Jersey, unyielding in the face of intimidation, protect themselves when the police are absent?

Bias Intimidation Statute, N.J.S.A. 2c:16-1

Bias Intimidation

A person is guilty of the crime of bias intimidation if he commits, attempts to commit, conspires with another to commit, or threatens the immediate commission of an offense specified in chapters 11 through 18 of Title 2c of the New Jersey Statutes; N.J.S.2C:33-4; N.J.S.2C:39-3; N.J.S.2C:39-4 or N.J.S.2C:39-5,

  1. with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity; or
  2. knowing that the conduct constituting the offense would cause an individual or group of individuals to be intimidated because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity; or
  3. under circumstances that caused any victim of the underlying offense to be intimidated and the victim, considering the manner in which the offense was committed, reasonably believed either that (a) the offense was committed with a purpose to intimidate the victim or any person or entity in whose welfare the victim is interested because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity, or (b) the victim or the victim’s property was selected to be the target of the offense because of the victim’s race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity.


Bias intimidation is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense referred to in subsection a. is a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense. Otherwise, bias intimidation is a crime one degree higher than the most serious underlying crime referred to in subsection a., except that where the underlying crime is a crime of the first degree, bias intimidation is a first-degree crime and the defendant upon conviction thereof may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 15 years and 30 years, with a presumptive term of 20 years.


Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provision of law, a conviction for bias intimidation shall not merge with a conviction of any of the underlying offenses referred to in subsection a. of this section, nor shall any conviction for such underlying offense merge with a conviction for bias intimidation. The court shall impose separate sentences upon a conviction for bias intimidation and a conviction of any underlying offense.

Additional Penalties.

In addition to any fine imposed pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-3 or any term of imprisonment imposed pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, a court may order a person convicted of bias intimidation to one or more of the following:

  1. complete a class or program on sensitivity to diverse communities, or other similar training in the area of civil rights;
  2. complete a counseling program intended to reduce the tendency toward violent and antisocial behavior; and
  3. make payments or other compensation to a community-based program or local agency that provides services to victims of bias intimidation.

Did the cops charge you with Bias Intimidation?

New Jersey Attorney Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide confidential consultations in all cases involving Bias Intimidation under N.J.S.A. 2c:16-1.