Category Archives: criminal offenses

Will my Charge Appear on My Criminal Record?

This is always one of the first questions people have and rightfully so. Having a conviction appear on your criminal history can create huge issues for employment, travel, and immigration (just to name a few).

The answer will depend on the charge and whether or not you are convicted. Let’s walk through it.

In New Jersey, there are motor vehicle offenses under Title 39, Disorderly Persons Offenses under Title 2C and indicatable offenses under Title 2C. There are also Municipal Ordinance Offenses that are enacted by each municipality/city. Ordinance violations are not under the State code (not Title 39 or Title 2C).

Title 39 offenses appear on your driving record/abstract. Not on your criminal record. This includes DWI and Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle. You can’t remove items from your driving record. They stay forever. This is different than criminal.

Title 2C convictions appear on your criminal record or CCH. A charge or being charged is not the same as being convicted. Only convictions appear on a CCH (some refer to it as a RAP sheet). If you are not convicted, meaning you were not found guilty or pleaded guilty, then you don’t have a record, but there are some exceptions.

Pre-trial intervention and Conditional Discharge programs do not result in conviction. Nonetheless, you will have a record that your completed the program. You can remove this record through a process called expungement six months after you complete the program.

Additionally, anytime you are arrested or charged under Title 2C, there is a record of that charge, even if it is subsequently dismissed. However, you can expunge a record of the arrest/charge immediately upon dismissal.

Municipal Ordinances, although low level violations, may still appear on your record. Maybe you were issued one of these when you and your friends rented that shore house and the party got a little out of hand. You can expunge these too.

There is a waiting period for expungement. You must wait five year to expunge a disorderly persons offense, 5-10 years for an indictable, and 2 years for an ordinance. The clock does not start to run until the fines are paid, the probation is completed or the jail time has been served (whichever date is latest)

It is clear that the information highway opens our closets up like never before. In this day and age you should assume that any trouble you have or had will follow you and be seen by the outside world.

If you find yourself in a situation, big or small, it is smart to figure out how it may affect you in the future by seeking legal counsel.

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Arrested in Belmar New Jersey, You may want to Consider Hiring a Lawyer

Arrested

If you have been arrested in Belmar, there is a good chance you have been charged with one of the following:

This list is not exhaustive, but during the many years that I have been representing people charged with offenses in Belmar and other shore towns, it is clear that these are the most common.

Most of my clients I have represented in this capacity are charged with a crime or DWI for the first time and are just realizing that the one night could impact them for the rest of their lives.

It is important to realize that a conviction for any of the above-listed offenses will result in a criminal record that will remain there for at least five years.

If you are a teacher, your employer will be notified that your name has been entered into the State database and you will receive a notice. You could potentially lose your job.

If you are charged with DWI you could lose your license for up to a year for a first offense, two years for a second, and ten years for a third. A third offense carries a mandatory 6 month jail sentence.

The point is this…. you have to give yourself a chance to succeed and hiring a lawyer that not only has experience, but experience in that court is important. I have extensive experience appearing in Monmouth and Ocean County municipal courts and a high success rate.

A free consultation will quickly and comfortably give you the information you need to make good decisions going forward.

If you are facing an offense of any kind in Belmar, don’t compound the situation. Take a deep breath and a little time to educate yourself on your case and make a good decision when it comes time to hire representation.

Teachers in New Jersey and Criminal Charges

I have represented many educators who were charged with criminal offenses such as theft and shoplifting, drug possession, assault, etc. Unfortunately, the ramifications of a conviction go beyond a criminal record.

Depending upon your position (teacher, teacher’s assistant, aid, etc.) the consequences are different in my experience. For example, a teacher with a contract will be sent a flagging notice from the state advising he/she that the record reflects an arrest or charge. The letter will also state obligations that the employee has during the pendency of the matter including keeping the board advised of the progress of the case ( I always make sure that I am the one who makes that communication, never my client). The outcome of the case will determine, under most circumstances, whether you keep your job. Not all offenses are disqualifying, but many are, especially drug related charges. Teachers at least get the opportunity to litigate the case before the board takes any final action, meaning if we can avoid a conviction or fashion a plea agreement that fits our goals, you will be in good shape.

The is not the story for many other schools employees. Substitute teacher, aids, administrators and other employees (coaches even) can be terminated immediately upon being charged. However, this may be reversible if we are able to win the case or reach a resolution that smartly fits within the regulations.

It often comes as a real shock to these individuals when they receive that initial notice in the mail . There could be a tremendous amount riding on the outcome of the case. Aside from the loss of employment, pensions, health insurance and other important benefits could be cancelled.

I recently represented a coach who was hired by the school district for that purpose only. He quickly was terminated when the record of his drug arrest (a joint) went into the system. However, there were verbal promises made to him that he could return to coaching should his charged be dismissed or if his offense was amended to something other than a NJSA 2C offense. This meant that we either would have to win at trial or have the case downgraded to an ordinance violation. Even a conditional discharge would not suffice. According to the rules promulgated by this state board, a conditional discharge would prohibit the rehiring of the school employee for the entirety of the probationary period (at least one year) and made any future employment offers discretionary ( this means its tough to get rehired unless you complete the CD and have the arrest expunged).

The case took about two months to work out, but it worked out well. Although plea bargaining is not allowed in drug cases, there were enough legal issues with the case that the prosecutor felt justified in offering an ordinance violation.

Each one of these cases is a little different and dependent upon, inter alia, the nature of the offense and your position at the school. If you are working in a school system and need help feel free to reach out to us.

 

 

Arrested at Giants Game at MetLife Stadium : What to Do?

A Disorderly Conduct Charge Could Result in a Criminal Record

An arrest in East Rutherford at MetLife during a Giants game or any other event should not be taken lightly. Disorderly Conduct, criminal mischief, and drug charges are common and each can windup on your record if you don’t take the proper steps to protect yourself. People are easy targets at the stadium and municipalities make a bundle on these arrest during the season and during big events. This includes the East Rutherford Municipal Court.

I have been defending people charged with offenses in East Rutherford and MetLife stadium for years. More importantly, I have a great record of success. In many instances, it will be the State Police or NJ Transit Police who issue the summons or complaint. On its face, it may look like no big deal. But after some research you find out it is. A conviction for a criminal offense could cost you your job, your license, or future employment opportunities.

NJ Transit Police and Port Authority Cops Issue Complaints and Summons on the Train Platform

One of the more frequent things I see is a complaint being issued by the NJ Transit or Port Authority Police issuing complaints after events on the train platform. This is a chaotic scene after a Giants game or concert and I feel that the police take a very cavalier approach. There are frequently issues of identification as well as accuracy regarding who did and said what.

We Don’t go to Court Looking for Plea Bargains

When I appear in East Rutherford on one of these matters, it has been my experience that the police are frequently trying to make something out of nothing. The complaints are often sloppily drafted and occasionally just plain wrong. Just recently I represented an individual charged with a criminal open container charge. But the police charged him with disorderly conduct. He was simply charged under the wrong statute in my opinion and they were out of time to amend the complaint. I made the argument convincingly and the charge was dismissed.

If you are looking for aggressive, experienced, reasonable priced representation in your East Rutherford matter, we provide free consultation and take the time to give you the real story.

 

 

Arrested at the Hunt in Far Hills and Charged

The Hunt is a horse race that takes place each year in Far Hills, NJ. Over the course of the last few years, I have represented several individuals charged with criminal offenses and municipal ordinance violations while attending the hunt. In most cases, my clients were charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and other alcohol related incidents. In one instance, I represented an individual who had mistakenly walked into someone’s home and fell asleep.

In most cases, the police are charging offenses that would end up on your criminal record if you were convicted. In this day and age, criminal history and background checks are easy to come by. Employers will make decisions based upon a applicants criminal history in some situation. Many young people attend the Hunt and it can have severe ramifications if not handled properly. This could even include loss of license.

What I tell my clients who are facing these types of offenses in Far Hills is this: you must take every possible step to keep this sort of thing from appearing on your record. I have dealt with the prosecutor and judge in Far Hills and they do not give up on these cases.  In my opinion they feel that the prosecution of these matter is necessary to maintain the image of the Town and the “integrity” of the event.

If you or someone you know has been charged with disorderly conduct, open container, underage drinking, public intoxication or any other offense,  we can be reached 24/7 for a free consultation.

 

 

Is DWI a Felony in New Jersey?

DWI is not a Crime in New Jersey, But is Treated like One

Many people think that DWI is a crime in New Jersey. However, a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 is a violation of the traffic code. I should note parenthetically that New Jersey does not have felonies. We categorize our offenses as indictable offenses and disorderly persons offenses.

Regardless, the distinction between the criminal and traffic code when it comes to a conviction for DWI or DUI in New Jersey is tough to make. This is because the penalties in New Jersey for a first, second, third or subsequent DWI are analogous to those one would face who was convicted for a crime. Case law examining this issue has even called DWI a “quasi-criminal” offense, recognizing that the penalties are arguably more severe than those one would face in the overwhelming majority of criminal proceedings.

The difference is that a conviction for DWI does not appear on your criminal record, only your driver abstract. The distinction here is once again minimal in my opinion because a subsequent offense will expose you to enhanced penalties including jail time and longer loss of license. The enhanced penalties you face are once again worse than one could face as a repeat criminal offender in many instances.

Furthermore, a DWI on your driver’s abstract could have the same effect that a criminal conviction on your rap sheet would. Most employers now request an abstract and could use this as a reason not to hire someone.

In addition, some state licensing boards can use a conviction for DWI as a basis to revoke your license to perform your job.

DWI Charges Can’t be Erased, Removed, or Expunged from Record

Once again, in a criminal case, you could eventually make an expungement application down the road if you qualify. No such relief is afforded to the DWI defendant. In fact, you can never remove a DWI from your record. The only relief you get is this. If ten years has passed since the time of your last offense, you will receive the benefit of the ten-year step down law. In most instances, you can only use that once.

New Jersey DWI Lawyers are not all the Same

Take some time to research your DWI attorneys and you will quickly see that they are not all created equal. The qualification necessary for affective  DWI advocacy are different from an ordinary case.