While purse snatchings are common in major cities, I usually do not connect the City of Linden with such a robbery. The exception was the case earlier in the week when a young man knocked a Union County woman to the ground to steal her purse. The woman was initially successful in escaping the theft but the assailant ran her down and slapped her in the face causing her to fall to the ground. The thief made off with the purse and has yet to be apprehended.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 of New Jersey Criminal Law, a theft committed by means of force is a “robbery”. A robbery is a Second Degree Crime punishable by up to 5-10 years of incarceration when it is committed without a weapon. The crime escalates to a First Degree offense when the robbery is committed using a weapon. The No Early Release Act (“NERA”) imposes a 85% parole ineligibility which must be applied by a Union County judge in the event that this individual is convicted of robbery.
The goal in any case is always to avoid conviction. This is particularly true in a robbery case given the implications of NERA. Our focus in cases like these is always to have the charge amended to theft of the person thereby negating application of the No Early Release Act.