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In the state of New Jersey, racketeering is considered to be the act of obtaining or extorting money from another person or entity. And such activity is typically not an isolated incident. Nonetheless, the consequences associated with this criminal activity are quite weighty. Continue reading to learn the penalties for racketeering and how one of the proficient Bergen County criminal defense attorneys at McNerney & McAuliffe can come to your aid.

What does New Jersey law consider to be racketeering?

To reiterate, New Jersey law considers racketeering to be a “catch-all crime” to target a person or entity that is engaging in a pattern of illegal activity. Examples of such criminal activity include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Distribution and/or selling a controlled substance, except for less than one ounce of marijuana.
  • Unlawful manufacture, purchase, use, and/or transfer of firearms.
  • Unlawful gambling and violations of the Casino Control Act.
  • Alteration of Motor Vehicle Identification Numbers.
  • Promoting prostitution and/or human trafficking.
  • Kidnapping and/or murder.
  • Burglary, robbery, and/or theft.
  • Bribery, criminal usury, extortion, forgery, and/or general fraud.

In your criminal proceedings, a prosecutor must prove that you committed at least two of these aforementioned crimes within a 10-year timeframe. But on top of this, they must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you derived an economic benefit from participating in this criminal activity; or, that you intended to use and/or invest the money you obtained from participating in this criminal activity.

What are the penalties for racketeering in the state of New Jersey?

Of note, if you are accused of racketeering, you may be charged with either a federal or state crime. What’s worse, you may be facing both charges.

Further, you may be charged with first-degree racketeering if your criminal activity involved the use of a firearm or otherwise was considered violent. And you may be charged with second-degree racketeering for all other incidents.

Without further ado, the penalties for first-degree and second-degree racketeering in the state of New Jersey are as follows:

  • First-degree racketeering:
    • Imprisonment for anywhere between 10 to 20 years.
    • A fine of up to $200,000.
    • A potential bar from an opportunity for parole.
  • Second-degree racketeering:
    • Imprisonment for anywhere between five to 10 years.
    • A fine of up to $150,000.

As you may likely conclude yourself, being accused of racketeering is something that you should not take lightly. Rather, you must almost immediately start building a defense strategy that makes it difficult for a prosecutor to prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

With all that being said, you must take the initiative and reach out to one of the talented Bergen County criminal defense attorneys at your earliest possible convenience. Our team at McNerney & McAuliffe will be happy to serve you.

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