On October 21, 2014, Asbury Park local Mario Figueroa, 44, committed an act of armed robbery. First degree armed robbery carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison. However, other weapons offenses and additional charges for violent actions of Figueroa in the interim proceedings has led to his prison time is more than tripled. Today, our Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys will discuss the details of this case, the recent sentencing, and how a qualified legal team could have reduced the penalties involved.
Monmouth County Violent Crimes Defense Attorneys: Details of the Crimes
The armed robbery took place at the corner of Main Street and Sewall Avenue, just a block away from Asbury Avenue in Asbury Park. Figueroa approached the unnamed victim and forced him to the ground. The assailant used a box cutter to threaten the victim and steal the victim’s wallet. The victim was left mostly unharmed while Figueroa fled the scene with the victim’s wallet.
Local law enforcement witnessed Figueroa fleeing the scene of the crime. After concluding an investigation of the area, they arrested Figueroa and charged him with armed robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, and aggravated assault.
While in police custody awaiting trial, Figueroa physically assaulted a witness inside the Monmouth County Correctional Institution. This assault left the witness with severe injuries including permanent damage to one eye. He then began to threaten another witness in the case, sending threatening letters urging the witness not to testify against Figueroa. These additional actions led to charges of witness retaliation and witness tampering.
Charges and Penalties for Asbury Park Armed Robbery Conviction
According to the NJ.com article published on January 27th, Mr. Figueroa was sentenced to 30 years for charges stemming from his violent crimes and 35 years for his charges stemming from witness retaliation and witness tampering. The breakdown is as follows:
Armed Robbery – first degree armed robbery carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison and fines up to $200,000. In order to be considered a first-degree crime, the offender must act with the intent to kill someone, inflicts serious bodily injury, or (as is the case here) uses a deadly weapon in a threatening manner. Figueroa was convicted of one count of first degree armed robbery and sentenced to 20 years.
Unlawful Possession of a weapon – unlawful possession of a knife is considered a fourth-degree charge, leading to maximum prison sentences of 18 months. Charges of “possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose” may also carry third-degree charges, leading to max sentences of five (5) years. Figueroa was convicted of third-degree charges, and sentenced to five (5) years.
Aggravated Assault – charges range from fourth to second degree for aggravated assault, with the most severe carrying up to five (5) years in state prison. Mr. Figueroa was convicted of second degree aggravated assault and sentenced to five (5) years.
Witness Retaliation – second-degree witness retaliation results from witnesses being physically harmed or intimidated through the threat of force. Maximum prison sentences upon conviction are five (5) years. Figueroa was convicted of multiple counts of witness retaliation, totaling 15 years.
Witness Tampering – first degree tampering with witnesses and informants may involve actions that aim to make witnesses testify falsely, withheld information in their testimony, avoid the legal process altogether, or otherwise obstruct legal proceedings. Two convictions of witness tampering have led to a combined sentence of 20 years.
Contact our West Long Branch Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
If Mr. Figueroa had retained the legal services of a criminal defense attorney from Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington, we are confident he would not be facing 65 years in prison today. We would have advised him to leave the criminal proceedings to our experienced legal team and helped him to understand that contacting and threatening witnesses would only go to increase, and in this case nearly double, his total term of incarceration. Our legal team takes the time to examine the individual details of each of our clients’ cases in order to build a solid legal defense as we have done in our local New Jersey communities including West Long Branch, Red Bank, Freehold, Asbury Park, Middletown, Howell, and all of Monmouth County.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges including theft, assault, drug offenses, sex offenses, DWI/DUI, or any other criminal offenses, contact us online or through our West Long Branch offices by calling (732) 440-3950 today for a free and confidential consultation.