When interpreting statutory language, the goal is to divine and effectuate the Legislature’s intent. DiProspero v. Penn, 183 N.J. 477, 492 (2005). In furtherance of that goal, we begin each such inquiry with the language of the statute, giving the terms used therein their ordinary and accepted meaning. Ibid. When the Legislature’s chosen words lead to one clear and unambiguous result, the interpretive process comes to a close, without the need to consider extrinsic aids. State v. D.A., 191 N.J. 158, 164 (2007) (citation omitted). We seek out extrinsic evidence, such as legislative history, for assistance when statutory language yields “more than one plausible interpretation.” DiProspero, supra, 183 N.J. at 492-93.
When interpreting penal statutes, the doctrines of strict construction and lenity also provide guidance. D.A., supra, 191 N.J. at 164. The doctrine of lenity, a corollary to the doctrine of strict construction, dictates that when ambiguities “cannot be resolved by either the statute’s text or extrinsic aids,” a criminal statute must be interpreted in favor of the defendant. State v. Gelman, 195 N.J. 475, 482 (2008) (citations omitted).