ASSEMBLY, No. 306

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2014 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  DAVID C. RUSSO

District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Assemblyman  SCOTT T. RUMANA

District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Assemblyman  DECLAN J. O'SCANLON, JR.

District 13 (Monmouth)

Assemblywoman  MARY PAT ANGELINI

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblyman  JAY WEBBER

District 26 (Essex, Morris and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman N.Munoz and Assemblyman Garcia

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Upgrades penalties for certain crimes committed during a state of emergency.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning penalties for certain crimes committed during a state of emergency and amending various sections of statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    N.J.S.2C:15-1 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:15-1.  a.  Robbery defined.  A person is guilty of robbery if, in the course of committing a theft, he:

     (1)   Inflicts bodily injury or uses force upon another; or

     (2)   Threatens another with or purposely puts him in fear of immediate bodily injury;  or

     (3)   Commits or threatens immediately to commit any crime of the first or second degree.

     An act shall be deemed to be included in the phrase "in the course of committing a theft" if it occurs in an attempt to commit theft or in immediate  flight after the attempt or commission.

     b.    Grading.  Robbery is a crime of the second degree, except that it is a crime of the first degree if in the course of committing the theft the actor attempts to kill anyone, or purposely inflicts or attempts to inflict serious bodily injury, or is armed with, or uses or threatens the immediate use of a deadly weapon.  Robbery is also a crime of the first degree when committed in a jurisdiction where a state of emergency is in force.

(cf: P.L.1981, c.22, s.1)

 

     2.    N.J.S.2C:18-2 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:18-2.  Burglary.  a.  Burglary defined.  A person is guilty of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein or thereon he:

     (1)   Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter;

     (2)   Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so; or

     (3)   Trespasses in or upon utility company property where public notice prohibiting trespass is given by conspicuous posting, or fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

     b.    Grading.  Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor:

     (1)   Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; [or]

     (2)   Is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon; or

     (3)   Is in a jurisdiction wherein a state of emergency is in force.

     Otherwise burglary is a crime of the third degree.  An act shall be deemed "in the course of committing" an offense if it occurs in an attempt to commit an offense or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.283, s.2)

 

     3.    N.J.S.2C:18-3 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:18-3. a. Unlicensed entry of structures.  A person commits an offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or surreptitiously remains in any research facility, structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, or in or upon utility company property.  An offense under this subsection is a crime of the third degree when committed in a jurisdiction where a state of emergency is in force.  An offense under this subsection is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a school or on school property.  The offense is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a dwelling.  An offense under this section is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a research facility, power generation facility, waste treatment facility, public sewage facility, water treatment facility, public water facility, nuclear electric generating plant or any facility which stores, generates or handles any hazardous chemical or chemical compounds.  An offense under this subsection is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in or upon utility company property.  Otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.

     b.    Defiant trespasser.  A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by:

     (1)   Actual communication to the actor; or

     (2)   Posting in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders; or

     (3)   Fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

     An offense under this subsection is a disorderly persons offense when committed in a jurisdiction in which a state of emergency is in force.

     c.    Peering into windows or other openings of dwelling places. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he peers into a window or other opening of a dwelling or other structure adapted for overnight accommodation for the purpose of invading the privacy of another person and under circumstances in which a reasonable person in the dwelling or other structure would not expect to be observed.

     d.    Defenses.  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:

     (1)   A structure involved in an offense under subsection a. was abandoned;

     (2)   The structure was at the time open to members of the public and the actor complied with all lawful conditions imposed on access to or remaining in the structure; or

     (3)   The actor reasonably believed that the owner of the structure, or other person empowered to license access thereto, would have licensed him to enter or remain, or, in the case of subsection c. of this section, to peer.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.283, s.3)

 

     4.    N.J.S.2C:20-2 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:20-2. a. Consolidation of Theft and Computer Criminal Activity Offenses.  Conduct denominated theft or computer criminal activity in this chapter constitutes a single offense, but each episode or transaction may be the subject of a separate prosecution and conviction.  A charge of theft or computer criminal activity may be supported by evidence that it was committed in any manner that would be theft or computer criminal activity under this chapter, notwithstanding the specification of a different manner in the indictment or accusation, subject only to the power of the court to ensure fair trial by granting a bill of particulars, discovery, a continuance, or other appropriate relief where the conduct of the defense would be prejudiced by lack of fair notice or by surprise.

     b.    Grading of theft offenses.

     (1)   Theft constitutes a crime of the second degree if:

     (a)   The amount involved is $75,000.00 or more;

     (b)   The property is taken by extortion;

     (c)   The property stolen is a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as defined in N.J.S.2C:35-2 and the quantity is in excess of one kilogram;

     (d)   The property stolen is a person's benefits under federal or State law, or from any other source, which the Department of Human Services or an agency acting on its behalf has budgeted for the person's health care and the amount involved is $75,000.00 or more; or

     (e)   The property stolen is human remains or any part thereof; except that, if the human remains are stolen by deception or falsification of a document by which a gift of all or part of a human body may be made pursuant to P.L.2008, c.50 (C.26:6-77 et al.), the theft constitutes a crime of the first degree.

     (f)   Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (e) of this paragraph, the theft was committee in a jurisdiction wherein a state of emergency is in force.

     (2)   Theft constitutes a crime of the third degree if:

     (a)   The amount involved exceeds $500.00 but is less than $75,000.00;

     (b)   The property stolen is a firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, horse, domestic companion animal or airplane;

     (c)   The property stolen is a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as defined in N.J.S.2C:35-2 and the amount involved is less than $75,000.00 or is undetermined and the quantity is one kilogram or less;

     (d)   It is from the person of the victim;

     (e)   It is in breach of an obligation by a person in his capacity as a fiduciary;

     (f)   It is by threat not amounting to extortion;

     (g)   It is of a public record, writing or instrument kept, filed or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public office or public servant;

     (h)   The property stolen is a person's benefits under federal or State law, or from any other source, which the Department of Human Services or an agency acting on its behalf has budgeted for the person's health care and the amount involved is less than $75,000.00;

     (i)   The property stolen is any real or personal property related to, necessary for, or derived from research, regardless of value, including, but not limited to, any sample, specimens and components thereof, research subject, including any warm-blooded or cold-blooded animals being used for research or intended for use in research, supplies, records, data or test results, prototypes or equipment, as well as any proprietary information or other type of information related to research;

     (j)   The property stolen is a New Jersey Prescription Blank as referred to in R.S.45:14-14;

     (k)   The property stolen consists of an access device or a defaced access device; or

     (l)   The property stolen consists of anhydrous ammonia and the actor intends it to be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

     (3)   Theft constitutes a crime of the fourth degree if the amount involved is at least $200.00 but does not exceed $500.00.

     (4)   Theft constitutes a disorderly persons offense if:

     (a)   The amount involved was less than $200.00; or

     (b)   The property stolen is an electronic vehicle identification system transponder.

     The amount involved in a theft or computer criminal activity shall be determined by the trier of fact.  The amount shall include, but shall not be limited to, the amount of any State tax avoided, evaded or otherwise unpaid, improperly retained or disposed of. Amounts involved in thefts or computer criminal activities committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

     c.    Claim of right.  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for theft that the actor:

     (1)   Was unaware that the property or service was that of another;

     (2)   Acted under an honest claim of right to the property or service involved or that he had a right to acquire or dispose of it as he did; or

     (3)   Took property exposed for sale, intending to purchase and pay for it promptly, or reasonably believing that the owner, if present, would have consented.

     d.    Theft from spouse.  It is no defense that theft or computer criminal activity was from or committed against the actor's spouse, except that misappropriation of household and personal effects, or other property normally accessible to both spouses, is theft or computer criminal activity only if it occurs after the parties have ceased living together.

(cf: P.L.2011, c.1, s.1)

 

     5.    N.J.S.2C:20-11 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:20-11.  a. Definitions.  The following definitions apply to this section:

     (1)   "Shopping cart"  means those push carts of the type or types which are commonly provided by grocery stores, drug stores or other retail mercantile establishments for the use of the public in transporting commodities in stores  and markets and, incidentally, from the stores to a place outside the store;

     (2)   "Store or other retail mercantile establishment"  means a place where merchandise is displayed, held, stored or sold or offered to the public for sale;

     (3)   "Merchandise"  means any goods, chattels, foodstuffs or wares of any type and description, regardless of the value thereof;

     (4)   "Merchant" means any owner or operator of any store or other retail mercantile establishment, or any agent, servant, employee, lessee, consignee, officer, director, franchisee or independent contractor of such owner or proprietor;

     (5)   "Person" means any individual or individuals, including an agent, servant or employee of a merchant where the facts of the situation so require;

     (6)   "Conceal" means to conceal merchandise so that, although there may be some notice of its presence, it is not visible through ordinary observation;

     (7)   "Full retail value" means the merchant's stated or advertised price of the merchandise;

     (8)   "Premises of a store or retail mercantile establishment" means and includes but is not limited to, the retail mercantile establishment; any common use areas in shopping centers and all parking areas set aside by a merchant or on behalf of a merchant for the parking of vehicles for the convenience of the patrons of such retail mercantile establishment;

     (9)   "Under-ring" means to cause the cash register or other sale recording device to reflect less than the full retail value of the merchandise;

     (10) "Antishoplifting or inventory control device countermeasure" means any item or device which is designed, manufactured, modified, or altered to defeat any antishoplifting or inventory control device;

     (11) "Organized retail theft enterprise" means any association of two or more persons who engage in the conduct of or are associated for the purpose of effectuating the transfer or sale of shoplifted merchandise.

     b.    Shoplifting.  Shoplifting shall consist of any one or more of the following acts:

     (1)   For any person purposely to take possession of, carry away, transfer or cause to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the full retail value thereof.

     (2)   For any person purposely to conceal upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the processes, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the value thereof.

     (3)   For any person purposely to alter, transfer or remove any label, price tag or marking indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment and to attempt to purchase such merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or some part of the value thereof.

     (4)   For any person purposely to transfer any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail merchandise establishment from the container in or on which the same shall be displayed to any other container with intent to deprive the merchant of all or some part of the retail value thereof.

     (5)   For any person purposely to under-ring with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value thereof.

     (6)   For any person purposely to remove a shopping cart from the premises of a store or other retail mercantile establishment without the consent of the  merchant given at the time of such removal with the intention of permanently depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such cart.

     c.    Gradation.  (1) Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the second degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is  $75,000 or more, or the offense is committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise and the full retail value of the merchandise is $1,000 or more, or the offense is committed in a jurisdiction wherein a state of emergency is in force.

     (2)   Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the third degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise exceeds $500 but is less than $75,000, or the offense is committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise and the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $1,000.

     (3)   Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the fourth degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is at least $200 but does not exceed $500.

     (4)   Shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $200.

     The value of the merchandise involved in a violation of this section may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense where the acts or conduct constituting a violation were committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, or were committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise.

     Additionally, notwithstanding the term of imprisonment provided in N.J.S.2C:43-6 or 2C:43-8, any person convicted of a shoplifting offense shall be sentenced to perform community service as follows:  for a first offense, at least ten days of community service; for a second offense, at least 15 days of community service;  and for a third or subsequent offense, a maximum of 25 days of community service and any person convicted of a third or subsequent shoplifting offense shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days.

     d.    Presumptions.  Any person purposely concealing unpurchased merchandise of any store or other retail mercantile establishment, either on the premises or outside the premises of such store or other retail mercantile establishment, shall be prima facie presumed to have so concealed such merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof, and the finding of such merchandise concealed upon the person or among the belongings of such person shall be prima facie evidence of purposeful concealment; and if such person conceals, or causes to be concealed, such merchandise upon the person or among the belongings of another, the finding of the same shall also be prima facie evidence of willful concealment on the part of the person so concealing such merchandise.

     e.    A law enforcement officer, or a special officer, or a merchant, who has probable cause for believing that a person has willfully concealed unpurchased merchandise and that he can recover the merchandise by taking the person into custody, may, for the purpose of attempting to effect recovery thereof, take the person into custody and detain him in a reasonable manner for not more than a reasonable time, and the taking into custody by a law enforcement officer or special officer or merchant shall not render such person criminally or civilly liable in any manner or to any extent whatsoever.

     Any law enforcement officer may arrest without warrant any person he has probable cause for believing has committed the offense of shoplifting as defined in this section.

     A merchant who causes the arrest of a person for shoplifting, as provided for in this section, shall not be criminally or civilly liable in any manner or to any extent whatsoever where the merchant has probable cause for believing that the person arrested committed the offense of shoplifting.

     f.     Any person who possesses or uses any antishoplifting or inventory control device countermeasure within any store or other retail mercantile establishment is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

(cf: P.L.2006, c.56, s.1)

 

     6.    N.J.S.2C:33-1 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:33-1.  a.  Riot.  A person is guilty of riot if he participates with four or more others in a course of disorderly conduct as defined in section 2C:33-2a:

     (1)   With purpose to commit or facilitate the commission of a crime;

     (2)   With purpose to prevent or coerce official action;  or

     (3)   When he or any other participant, known to him, uses or plans to use a firearm or other deadly weapon.

     Riot if committed under circumstances set forth in paragraph (3) or in a jurisdiction wherein a state of emergency is in force is a crime of the third degree.  Otherwise riot is a crime of the fourth degree.

     b.    Failure of disorderly persons to disperse upon official order. Where five or more persons are participating in a course of disorderly conduct  as defined in section 2C:33-2 a. likely to cause substantial harm, a peace officer or other public servant engaged in executing or enforcing the law may order the participants and others in the immediate vicinity to disperse.  A person who refuses or knowingly fails to obey such an order commits a disorderly persons offense; provided, however, if the offense is committed in a jurisdiction wherein a state of emergency is in force, the person failing to disperse commits a crime of the fourth degree.

(cf: P.L.1981, c.290, s. 5)

 

     7.    N.J.S.2C:33-14 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:33-14.  a. Interference with Transportation. A person is guilty of interference with transportation if the person purposely or knowingly:

     (1)   casts, shoots or throws anything at, against or into any vehicle, including, but not limited to, a bus, light rail vehicle, railroad locomotive, railroad car, jitney, trolley car, subway car, ferry, airplane, or other facility of transportation; or

     (2)   casts, shoots, throws or otherwise places any stick, stone, object or other substance upon any street railway track, trolley track or railroad track; or

     (3)   endangers or obstructs the safe operation of motor vehicles by casting, shooting, throwing or otherwise placing any stick, stone, object or other substance upon any highway or roadway; or

     (4)   unlawfully climbs into or upon any light rail vehicle, railroad locomotive or railroad car, either in motion or standing on the track of any railroad company in this State; or

     (5)   unlawfully disrupts, delays or prevents the operation of any vehicle, including, but not limited to, a bus, light rail vehicle, railroad locomotive, train, bus, jitney, trolley, subway, airplane or any other facility of transportation.  The term "unlawfully disrupts, delays or prevents the operation of" does not include non-violent conduct growing out of a labor dispute as defined in N.J.S.2A:15-58; or

     (6)   endangers or obstructs the safe operation of motor vehicles by using a traffic control preemption device to interfere with or impair the operation of a traffic control signal as defined in R.S.39:1-1; or

     (7)   shines, points or focuses a laser lighting device beam, directly or indirectly, upon a person operating any vehicle, including, but not limited to, a bus, light rail vehicle, railroad locomotive, railroad car, jitney, trolley car, subway car, ferry, airplane, or other facility of transportation.  As used in this paragraph, "laser lighting device" means a device which emits a laser beam that is designed to be used by the operator as a pointer or highlighter to indicate, mark or identify a specific position, place, item or object.

     As used in this subsection, "traffic control preemption device" means an infrared transmitter or other device which transmits an infrared beam, radio wave or other signal designed to change, alter, or disrupt in any manner the normal operation of a traffic control signal.

     b.    Interference with transportation is a disorderly persons offense.

     c.    Interference with transportation is a crime of the fourth degree if the person purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person or causes pecuniary loss in excess of $500 but less than $2,000.

     d.    Interference with transportation is a crime of the third degree if the person purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes significant bodily injury to another person or causes pecuniary loss of $2,000 or more, or if the person purposely or knowingly creates a risk of significant bodily injury to another person.

     e.    Interference with transportation is a crime of the second degree if the person purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person, or if the crime is committed in a jurisdiction wherein a state of emergency is in force

(cf: P.L.2007, c.145, s.1)

 

     8.    Section 1 of P.L.1991, c. 432 (C.2C:33-21) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    Any person who intercepts any message or transmission made on or over any police, fire or emergency medical communications system, or any person who is the recipient of information so intercepted, and who uses the information obtained thereby to facilitate the commission of or the attempt to commit a crime or a violation of any law of this State, or uses the same in a manner which interferes with the discharge of police or firefighting operations or provision of medical services by first aid, rescue or ambulance squad personnel, shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     A person who commits a violation of this section in a jurisdiction wherein a state of emergency is in force is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.317, s.1)

 

     9.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would upgrade the penalties for certain crimes when they are committed in a jurisdiction where a state of emergency is in force.

     Under the provisions of the bill, robbery committed in a jurisdiction where a state of emergency is in force would be a crime of the first degree; burglary, theft, shoplifting, and interference with transportation would be upgraded to crimes of the second degree; trespassing, riot, and the unlawful interception emergency communications would be ungraded to crimes of the third degree; the crime of failing to disperse would be upgraded a to a crime of the fourth degree; and defiant trespass would be upgraded to a disorderly persons offense.