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Persistent offenders; sentencing

2C:43-7.1. Persistent offenders; sentencing

a. Life Imprisonment Without Parole. A person convicted of a crime under any of the following: N.J.S.2C:11-3; subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:11-4; a crime of the first degree under N.J.S.2C:13-1, paragraphs (3) through (6) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-2N.J.S.2C:15-1; or section 1 of P.L.1993, c. 221(C.2C:15-2), who has been convicted of two or more crimes that were committed on prior and separate occasions, regardless of the dates of the convictions, under any of the foregoing sections or under any similar statute of the United States, this State, or any other state for a crime that is substantially equivalent to a crime under any of the foregoing sections, shall be sentenced to a term of life imprisonment by the court, with no eligibility for parole.

b. Extended Term for Repeat Violent Offenders. A person shall be sentenced to an extended term of imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-7 if:

(1) The person is convicted of any of the following crimes: a crime of the second degree under N.J.S.2C:11-4; a crime of the second or third degree under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:12-1; a crime of the second degree under N.J.S.2C:13-1; a crime under N.J.S.2C:14-3 for aggravated criminal sexual contact under any of the circumstances set forth in paragraphs (3) through (6) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-2; a crime of the second degree under N.J.S.2C:15-1; a crime of the second degree under N.J.S.2C:18-2; or a crime of the second degree under N.J.S.2C:39-4 for possession of a weapon with the purpose of using it unlawfully against the person of another, and the person has been convicted of any of the foregoing crimes or any of the crimes enumerated in subsection a. of this section or under any similar statute of the United States, this State, or any other state for a crime that is substantially equivalent to a crime enumerated in this subsection or in subsection a. of this section committed on two or more prior and separate occasions regardless of the dates of the convictions; or

(2) The person is convicted of a crime enumerated in subsection a. of this section, does not have two or more prior convictions that require sentencing under subsection a. and has two or more prior convictions that would require sentencing under paragraph (1) of this subsection if the person had been convicted of a crime enumerated in paragraph (1).

c. The provisions of this section shall not apply unless the prior convictions are for crimes committed on separate occasions and unless the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced was committed either within 10 years of the date of the defendant’s last release from confinement for commission of any crime or within 10 years of the date of the commission of the most recent of the crimes for which the defendant has a prior conviction.

d. The court shall not impose a sentence of imprisonment pursuant to this section, unless the ground therefor has been established at a hearing after the conviction of the defendant and on written notice to the defendant of the ground proposed. The defendant shall have the right to hear and controvert the evidence against him and to offer evidence upon the issue. Prior convictions shall be defined and proven in accordance with N.J.S.2C:44-4.

e. For purposes of this section, a term of life shall mean the natural life of a person sentenced pursuant to this section. Except that a defendant who is at least 70 years of age and who has served at least 35 years in prison pursuant to a sentence imposed under this section shall be released on parole if the full Parole Board determines that the defendant is not a danger to the safety of any other person or the community.