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Gopal Bill Establishing Presumption of Pre-Trial Detention for Certain Auto Thefts, Carjackings Advances

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Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal that would establish a presumption of pretrial detention for persons who commit carjacking, theft of a motor vehicle, or burglaGopal ry in furtherance of a motor vehicle theft was released by the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Under the bill, the presumption of pretrial detention, in addition to other offenses listed under the Criminal Justice Reform Act, would also apply to any defendant who commits:


  1. a)    theft of a motor vehicle or burglary in furtherance of a motor vehicle theft if the defendant has a prior conviction within the preceding 12 months or prior pending charges for either of those crimes; or


  1. b)    carjacking.


The provisions of the bill establishing a presumption of pretrial detention for certain auto theft crimes would expire one year after enactment of the bill.


“This legislation represents a decisive, targeted action to counter a surge in auto thefts and related crimes in our state. This is a measured response that will make our neighborhoods safer, lessen the strain on law enforcement, and take repeat offenders and carjackers out of circulation,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).


According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), 14,320 vehicles were reported stolen in New Jersey in 2021, a 22 percent increase over the previous year. New Jersey ranks 20th among the states for total vehicle thefts reported, and 31st in the country for vehicle theft rates with 160 thefts per 100,000 residents.


The bill, S-3385, was released from committee by a vote of 9-0.