State v. Lora

In State v. Lora, the defendant led police on a high-speed chase after he stole a car from a dealership. The chase ended when police got in front of the fleeing car, and the defendant crashed into the police car. Defendant wanted to use the Attorney General’s Guidelines on Vehicular Pursuit of a Fleeing Suspect as an affirmative defense because — according to the defendant — the officer caused the crash. The Appellate Division noted that aggravated assault while fleeing under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(6) is a strict-liability offense, so the Guidelines are irrelevant as a defense.  It was appropriate for the lower court to allow the Guidelines in as evidence as to other aggravated assault charges because it was relevant to mens rea. The Court also remanded for an ability-to-pay hearing for restitution imposed at sentencing.

LORA