In many, if not most harassment cases, the complaining witness is a private citizen as opposed to a police officer. This is because harassment, under NJSA 2C:33-4, usually involves some sort of alleged communication. This communication is not always memorialized in writing or recording. Therefore, the only basis for the complaint may be the statements of the alleged victim,

Even in instances where there are writings, such as text messages, emails, etc., or recordings, such as phone messages, the police will frequently elect to forego signing the complaint as the complaining witness and elect to have the accuser do so.

Whenever I represent someone who is charged with harassment offense in New Jersey, I always explore the possibility of requesting a probable cause hearing. A probable cause hearing is not a trial. It is a pre-trial hearing where the judge listens to a limited amount of testimony and determines, within the totality of the circumstances, viewing the facts in a light most favorable to the alleged victim, whether the case should proceed to the trial stage or be dismissed.

Shoplifting, a violation of New Jersey Criminal Code 2C:20-11, is a theft offense, the severity of which is determined by the total amount of the merchandise alleged to have been shoplifted.

Municipal Court shoplifting offenses are considered misdemeanor, or disorderly persons crimes. It will appear on a criminal record if convicted. There are special guidelines for the prosecution of shoplifting offenses that, in many instances, will prevent prosecutors from plea bargaining the charge in the Municipal Court. This is not the case in every municipal court in New Jersey. A municipal court lawyer with experience in courts throughout the state (such as myself) will have a better understanding of the posture each court as it pertains to shoplifting.

The bottom line, however, is that in some courts, shoplifting offenses must go to trial, because there is often no downside to going to trial, especially if no plea bargain is offered.

When you are issued a traffic ticket in New Jersey, the ticket itself typically does not give you the information you need, other than the your court date and violation code. What it does not tell you is that the fines you are subject to may be doubled in a variety of circumstances. The ticket does not tell you how many points you will be assessed, i.e. improper passing in violation of NJSA 39:4-86 is 4 points.

Speeding ticket fines will be doubled of the offense occurred in a 65 mph zone (if you are convicted). Speeding violation fines also double if you are convicted of driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit.

Also, if the traffic offense occurred in a construction zone or “safe corridor” and it is a traffic offense enumerated in NJSA 39:4-203.5, the fines will also be doubled.

Over and over again, police in every jurisdiction issue careless driving tickets to people involved in motor vehicle accidents, even though there was no one to witness it. In most cases, the accident involves two cars. In the majority of those situations, neither motorist believes they were at fault. In some instances, if not many, neither person is even aware how the accident occurred. Sometimes a careless driving summons is issued even when there were no other cars involved in the accident and there were no witnesses, i.e. driver runs into guardrail.

Nonetheless, police are quick to make their own findings, and issue a ticket to who they believe to be at fault.

Just because an accident occurred, does not mean that you drove carelessly. in fact, New Jersey case law says just the opposite. In order for the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, there must prove that the defendant lacked due caution and circumspection, and it resulted in danger or likelihood of danger to person or property. Both elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt

Pay attention to the fine print on your Newark NJ criminal complaint or traffic ticket. Ordinarily, there is going to be a court date listed near the bottom of the document. In many instances, the defendant facing a criminal or traffic offense wants to plead not guilty. So you follow the instructions on the ticket regarding entering not guilty pleas, right? Chances are, if you have done this, you have encountered some difficulty reaching court personnel and you are not sure if you need to be there or not.

One of the nice benefits that you receive when you hire a lawyer to represent you in Newark is you do not need to worry about the “administrative” end of things. This portion of the case for many “pro se” defendants is frequently the most frustrating. It can result in the issuance of warrants for your arrest and other unpleasant consequences.

I am often contacted by clients who have attempted to schedule a court date, thought they had completed the task, and received notification shortly thereafter that there was a warrant for their arrest for failure to appear. This can be a nerve racking experience.

I just completed another driving while suspended matter in the Newark Municipal Court, where the underlying suspension was as a result of failure to appear and unpaid traffic violations in other New Jersey Courts.

The problems that a defendant faces with these suspensions issue are numerous. First, driving privileges can not restore until the underlying court cases are resolved. This could be one issue or many. There may be warrants that require the posting of bail. The matters will need be put back on the docket. Frequently, my clients have serious time constraints because they can not restore their license and they have to work. Before hiring me, they typically have made some attempt to try to resolve it themselves, but quickly realize the bureaucratic quagmire they are in. They can’t get straight answers from the courts and do not have a solid grasp on which courts still have a hold on their license.

I in no way want to dissuade an individual from trying to figure out how to fix the mess, but they should be aware. Unrepresented individuals in this type of situation typically leave many loose ends, and although they may think that the problem is resolved, they quickly find out that it requires more and more and more.

You have been arrested for marijuana possession again. The police charge you with possession of less than 50 grams. OK, it is a misdemeanor. However, if you are convicted, it will go on your record, you will be on probation, you will lose your license for 6 months, and you just found out the prosecutor is recommending 30 days in the county jail.

Additionally, you do not have a conditional discharge available because of your prior PTI (pre-trial intervention). What are your options? Well, every case is different. But in my opinion, when faced with a situation such as this, there is very little down side to taking the case to trial.

The first step is to consult with an experienced NJ marijuana defense lawyer and determine what (if any) you defenses are. Sometimes, a defendant charged with NJSA 2C:35-10a(4) may not have any defenses. But more often than not, there is at least a probable cause or suppression issue to be explored. These may include automobile search exception requirements, consent searches, pat down searches, plain view and plain smell claims, etc.

I represented a client charged with several serious traffic violations. This included a driving without insurance charge. As you may know, this offense carries with it some of the most severe penalties imposed in a traffic matter. If convicted, the court is required to suspend your license for a period of not less than 1 year. Under certain circumstances, you can even go to jail.

In this particular instance, my client was an out of state resident. There was no doubt that he was not insured at the time of the incident, and it was also clear that all the statutory requirements for cancellation had been adhered to.

However, I was able to make a rather unique argument which involved the defendant’s residency and questioned if he was actually subject to the insurance laws of this state in this particular instance.

I represented a defendant charged with assault and disorderly conduct by the New Jersey Transit Police following a fight on a New Jersey Transit train between my client and another individual. The facts were somewhat troubling from the Newark Municipal Court prosecutor’s point of view, because it was alleged that my client had bitten the other individual during the course of the altercation, and scared him as a result.

Biting is always treated a little differently because of the possible consequences, i.e. disease, infection, permanent scaring, etc. However, in this particular situation, it was unclear (as far as I was concerned) whether there was any purposeful action by my client to inflict this type of injury given the facts of the situation as the began to reveal themselves.

Following multiple conferences with the prosecutor and the defense attorney for the other involved person, it was agreed that the disorderly conduct charge would be dismissed, and the assault complaint would be amended to a municipal ordinance violation and a $125.00 fine.

In State v Green, the Appellate Division held that the the Stalker Lidar speed measurement device has not yet shown to be scientifically reliable. Consequently, the speed reading, or the clocked speed, captured by this device may not be used as proof of speed. Stalker Lidar is a lasar speed measurement device as opposed to a radar based technology. It is becoming increasingly popular amongst police departments, including some notable Essex and Hudson County departments that issue a large volume of speeding tickets. Port Authority Police are also know to frequently use Stalker Lidar.

Usually, speed measurement devices used to clock the speed of a driver will be accepted by the trial court as scientifically reliable, i.e. K-55 Radar. However, scientific reliability is only one aspect of admissibility. In addition, there must be proof that the machine was properly calibrated and sufficiently tested both prior to and and the conclusion of the officer’s tour. Moreover, the State must show that the operator of the device had sufficient training and operated the radar properly.

This door has opened for speeding ticket defense lawyers on this one. However, the overwhelming likelihood is that it will close quickly. If you have been issued a speeding ticket, you should at least consult with a speeding ticket lawyer to discuss not only the availability of this defense, but others as well.

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