2C:1-2 Purposes; Principles of Construction
a. The general purposes of the provisions governing the definition of offenses are:
(1) To forbid, prevent, and condemn conduct that unjustifiably and inexcusably inflicts or threatens serious harm to individual or public interests;
(2) To insure the public safety by preventing the commission of offenses through the deterrent influence of the sentences authorized, the rehabilitation of those convicted, and their confinement when required in the interests of public protection;
(3) To subject to public control persons whose conduct indicates that they are disposed to commit offenses;
(4) To give fair warning of the nature of the conduct proscribed and of the sentences authorized upon conviction;
(5) To differentiate on reasonable grounds between serious and minor offenses; and
(6) To define adequately the act and mental state which constitute each offense, and limit the condemnation of conduct as criminal when it is without fault.
b. The general purposes of the provisions governing the sentencing of offenders are:
(1) To prevent and condemn the commission of offenses;
(2) To promote the correction and rehabilitation of offenders;
(3) To insure the public safety by preventing the commission of offenses through the deterrent influence of sentences imposed and the confinement of offenders when required in the interest of public protection;
(4) To safeguard offenders against excessive, disproportionate or arbitrary punishment;
(5) To give fair warning of the nature of the sentences that may be imposed on conviction of an offense;
(6) To differentiate among offenders with a view to a just individualization in their treatment;
(7) To advance the use of generally accepted scientific methods and knowledge in sentencing offenders; and
(8) To promote restitution to victims.
c. The provisions of the code shall be construed according to the fair import of their terms but when the language is susceptible of differing constructions it shall be interpreted to further the general purposes stated in this section and the special purposes of the particular provision involved. The discretionary powers conferred by the code shall be exercised in accordance with the criteria stated in the code and, insofar as such criteria are not decisive, to further the general purposes stated in this section.
d. Nothing contained in this code shall limit the right of a defendant and, subject only to the Federal and State constitutions, the right of the State to appeal or seek leave to appeal pursuant to law and Rules of Court.
L.1978, c.95; amended 1979,c.178,s.2; 1991,c.329,s.1.