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ALTERED MOTOR VEHICLE 2C:17-6b) model jury charge

POSSESSION OF ALTERED MOTOR VEHICLE

(N.J.S.A.2C:17-6b)model jury charge

Count _________ of the indictment charges the defendant with possessing an altered motor vehicle or motor vehicle part in violation of a statute which provides as follows:

A person who for an unlawful purpose knowingly possesses any motor vehicle, or any of the parts thereof, from or on which any [trademark] [distinguishing or identification number] [serial number or mark] has been [removed] [covered] [altered] [changed] [defaced] [destroyed] [obliterated] is guilty of an offense.

In order for the defendant to be found guilty of possession of an altered motor vehicle, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1)that the defendantpossessed any motor vehicle, or any of the parts thereof, from or on which any [trademark] [distinguishing or identification number] [serial number or mark] has been [removed] [covered] [altered] [changed] [defaced] [destroyed] [obliterated];

(2)that the defendant knew that the [trademark] [distinguishing or identification number] [serial number or mark] had been [removed] [covered] [altered] [changed] [defaced] [destroyed] [obliterated] from the motor vehicle or any of theparts thereof; and

(3) that the defendant did so for an unlawful purpose.

The first element the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant possessed any motor vehicle, or any of the parts thereof, from or on which any [trademark] [distinguishing or identification number] [serial number or mark] has been [removed] [covered] [altered] [changed] [defaced] [destroyed] [obliterated].

To possess an item under the law, one must have a knowing, intentional control of that item accompanied by a knowledge of its character.So, a person who possesses an item such as ___________ must know or be aware thathe/shepossesses it, andhe/shemust know what it is thathe/shepossesses or controls.[Possession cannot merely be a passing control, fleeting or uncertain in its nature.]To possess an item, one must knowingly procure orreceive an item or be aware ofhis/hercontrol thereof for a sufficient period of time to have been able to relinquishhis/hercontrol ifhe/shechose to do so.

The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a possessor acted knowingly in possessing the item.A person acts knowinglywith respect to the nature ofhis/herconduct or the attendant circumstances ifhe/sheis aware thathis/herconduct is of that nature, or that such circumstances exist, orhe/sheis aware of the high probability of their existence.A person acts knowingly as to a result ofhis/herconduct ifhe/sheis aware that it is practically certain that the conduct will cause such a result.Knowing, with knowledge or equivalent terms have the same meaning.

Knowledge is a condition of the mind.It cannot be seen.It can only be determined by inferences from conduct, words or acts.Therefore, it is not necessary for the State to produce witnesses to testify that a particular defendant stated, for example, thathe/sheacted with knowledge whenhe/shehad control over a particular thing.It is within your power to find that proof of knowledge has been furnished beyond a reasonable doubt by inference which may arise from the nature of the acts and the surrounding circumstances.

A person may possess an item even though it was not physically onhis/herperson at the time of the arrest, ifhe/shehadin fact, at some time prior tohis/herarrest, had control over it.

[Possession means a conscious, knowing possession, either actual or constructive.]

[A person is in actual possession of an item whenhe/she: first, knows what it is, that is, has knowledge of its character; and second, knowinglyhas it onhis/herperson at a given time.]

[Possession may be constructive instead of actual.]

[Constructive possession means possession in which the possessor does not physically have the item on his or her person but is aware that the item is present and is able to and has the intention to exercise control over it.So, someone who has knowledge of the character of an item and knowingly has both the power and the intention at a given time to exercise control over it, either directly or through another person or persons, is then in constructive possession of that item.]

[Possession may be sole or joint.If one person alone has actual or constructive possession of an item, possession is sole.If two or more persons share actual or constructive knowing possession of an item, possession is joint.]

A motor vehicle includes motor bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles, trucks, tractors or

other vehicles designed to be self-propelled by mechanical power, and otherwise than by muscular power, except motor vehicles running upon or guided by rails or tracks.[1]

The second element the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is the defendant knew that the [trademark] [distinguishing or identification number] [serial number or mark] had been [removed] [covered] [altered] [changed] [defaced] [destroyed] [obliterated] from the motor vehicle or any of the parts thereof.I have already defined knowingly for you.

The third element the State must prove beyond reasonable doubt is that the defendant did so for an unlawful purpose.Here the State alleges the unlawful purpose to be ______________.[Defendant, on the other hand, claims thathis/herpurpose in possessing the motor vehicle or its part(s) was ____________________________________________.]

[CHARGE THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF THE EVIDENCE

DOES NOT PRESENT A DEFENSE]

[If the State has failed to prove any of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find the defendant not guilty of the crime of possession of an altered motor vehicle or part(s).If the State has proven every element beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find the defendant guilty of the crime of possession of an altered motor vehicle or part(s).]

[CHARGE IF APPROPRIATE]

The defendant is not guilty of this offense if:

within 10 days after the motor vehicle or any part thereof shall have come into his possession, he files with the [Motor Vehicle Commission] in the Department of Law and Public Safety a verified statement showing: the source of his title, the proper trademark, identification or distinguishing number, or serial number or mark, if known, and if known, the manner of and reason for the mutilation, change, alteration, concealment or defacement, the length of time the motor vehicle or part has been held and the price paid therefor.

Defendant contends thathe/sheis not guilty of the offense becausehe/shefiled such a verified[2]statement in the manner described by this statute.The State has the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, every element of the crime charged.The State also has the burden to disprove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense set forth in this statute.To disprove this defense, the State must disprove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that defendant:

1.Filed a verified statement with the Motor Vehicle Commission;

2.That this verified statement showed the source of defendants title, the proper trademark, identification or distinguishing number, or serial number or mark, if known;

3.That this verified statement set forth the manner of and reason for the mutilation, change, alteration, concealment or defacement, if known, and the length of time the motor vehicle or part has been held and the price paid therefor; and

4.That this verified statement was filed with the Motor Vehicle Commission within 10 days after the [motor vehicle] [part] came into defendants possession.

If you find that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the offense charged and that the State has disproved beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the defense I have described, you must find the defendant guilty.If, however, you find that the State has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt one or more of the elements of this offense, or has failed to disprove the defense, you must find the defendant not guilty.

[GRADING]

If you find that the State has proven defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of this crime, then you must determine whether or not the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the value of the [motor vehicle] [motor vehicle parts] [exceeded five hundred dollars] [does not exceed five hundred dollars but is at least two hundred dollars] [is less than two hundred dollars].Value is the fair market value of the [motor vehicle] [motor vehicle part] at the time of the possession.[3]



[1]N.J.S.A.2C:17-6c.

[2]A verification may be defined as a formal declaration made in the presence of an authorized officer, such as a notary public or an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey, by which one swears or affirms to the truth of the statements in the document.SeeBlacks Law Dictionary(7thed.).

[3]N.J.S.A.2C:1-14m.


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutors Association.

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Ken Vercammen articles

Ken Vercammens Resume Directions to Ken Vercammen and Associates



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