Allegations of less-than-honest New Jersey business practices have been in the news for many years. It seems that graft, protection rackets and other forms of skullduggery pop-up every so often. And, every so often, an honest New Jersian is incorrectly accused of racketeering.
How does an honest New Jersian defend against claims of racketeering? Knowledge of the law is key.
The prosecution is required to prove every element of a crime, such as racketeering, before they can secure a conviction. If the prosecution fails to prove just one element beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is not to be convicted under our legal system.
In order to be convicted of racketeering in New Jersey, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements of the crime: the existence of an enterprise, the enterprise in question engaged in trade or commerce or that its activities affected trade or commerce, the employment or association of the defendant by the enterprise and the defendant participated — directly or indirectly — in the enterprise’s affairs. Further, the prosecution must also prove either that the defendant participated through a pattern of racketeering or that the defendant participated through the collection of an unlawful debt. Finally, the prosecution must prove that the defendant acted knowingly or purposely.
That is a lot of elements, and it may not be easy for prosecutors to present enough evidence to secure a conviction against a defendant. When a criminal defense lawyer gets involved and strongly advocates on behalf of the defendant, the job of the prosecution can become that much harder.