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Defending Against a Murder Charge in New Jersey

June 14, 2021 | Posted In Criminal Law |

If you are facing a murder charge in New Jersey, it is not an exaggeration to say that your life is on the line. While New Jersey has gotten rid of the death penalty, a murder conviction can potentially carry a life sentence without the possibility of parole. As a result, you need to defend yourself by all means available, and you need to speak with a New Jersey murder lawyer right away.

While there are several possible defenses to murder charges in New Jersey, the defenses you have available will depend on the facts of your particular case. Your lawyer will need to carefully examine all of the facts to determine which defenses to assert on your behalf. Some examples of defenses a lawyer may be able to argue in your murder case include:

Innocence

While you don’t necessarily need to prove your innocence to avoid a conviction, if you can prove that you are innocent, this will certainly be a key defense strategy in your case. An alibi, witness testimony, video footage or photos, and various other forms of evidence may be available to prove that you weren’t present when the crime was committed.

Lack of Purpose or Knowledge

To secure a conviction for murder, the prosecution must be able to prove that you acted “purposely” or “knowingly.” If you did not purposely or knowingly cause the victim’s death, then you are not guilty of murder (though you could still be guilty of a lesser crime).

Third-Party Guilt

Your attorney can introduce evidence that other unknown or known individuals may have committed the murder instead of you and that the police did not do sufficient investigation to catch the real killer.

Self-Defense

Self-defense is a defense to murder charges in New Jersey. If you reasonably believed that the use of force was immediately necessary to protect yourself against unlawful force, and if you reasonably believed that the amount of force you used was necessary, then you are not guilty of murder under New Jersey law.

Insanity or Diminished Capacity

Insanity and diminished capacity are also defenses to murder charges in New Jersey. The insanity defense requires evidence that either (i) the defendant was not mentally capable of understanding the nature of their actions, or (ii) the defendant was not mentally capable of understanding that their actions were wrong. The diminished capacity defense requires evidence that the defendant had a mental disease or defect that prevented them from acting with the necessary state of mind for criminal liability.

Lack of Evidence

Regardless of the facts of your case, if the prosecution must meet its burden of proof. If there is insufficient evidence to prove your guilt—and if your lawyer can demonstrate this in court—then lack of evidence alone could be enough to save you from a conviction.

Constitutional Violations

Finally, as a criminal defendant in New Jersey, you are entitled to a number of constitutional protections. If police or prosecutors violated your constitutional rights, this could provide a defense in your murder case as well.

Talk to a New Jersey Murder Lawyer in Confidence

If you are facing a murder charge in New Jersey, you should speak with a lawyer immediately. To arrange a confidential consultation with a New Jersey murder lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

 

Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive experience in defending criminal cases as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our site, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.

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