In recent posts, we’ve discussed the escalated punishment that can apply to repeat offenders. However, any type of felony history might present consequences in mounting an effective criminal defense. This is especially true when it comes to a prior conviction for sexual assault.

In a recent example, a 37-year-old New Jersey man is facing up to 25 years in prison for six counts of armed robbery. The counts relate to six different robberies that the man allegedly committed in Jersey City while armed with a .22 caliber handgun. However, that punishment is not solely attributable to the six counts of armed robbery, for which the man entered a guilty plea. He also has prior convictions for robbery and sexual assault against a minor.

Under New Jersey law, robbery is defined as a theft by use of force or the treat of force against a victim. The force generally must have occurred in furtherance of the theft, although that time period is defined broadly, beginning upon the first action in furtherance of the theft and generally not ending until the defendant is no longer in flight. In this instance, the accused admitted that two victims were injured during the commission of one of the robberies. 

Notably, the accused will not even be eligible for parole until after serving over 21 years of his sentence. In addition, the presiding judge also informed the defendant that he would be subject to life imprisonment under the Three Strikes law if he were to be convicted of another felony after his release. Although the punishment in this story is severe, a criminal defense attorney with prosecutorial experience, like myself, can help guide defendants through such a difficult process. 

Source: nj.com, “Jersey City felon faces 25 years for gunpoint robbery spree,” Michaelangelo Conte, Sept. 24, 2015