Criminal Law

NJ Supreme Court Decision on Cannabis Offenses and Pre-Trial Intervention

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that has significant implications for those with prior cannabis offenses. The court’s decision allows people with previous cannabis offenses to still be eligible for diversionary programs such as pre-trial intervention. This is an important step forward in the state’s efforts to reduce the criminal justice burden on individuals convicted of minor marijuana offenses.

Criminal Law

What to Know About Disorderly Conduct Charges in New Jersey

A variety of laws exist to deter and punish harmful behavior, including disorderly person’s offenses. This law embodies an assortment of aggressive actions and, as a result, can include and punish forms of behavior that you might not expect. Here’s an overview of what a disorderly person’s offense is in New Jersey law and the penalties the accused can expect to receive.

Criminal Law

Understanding the Penalties of a Forgery Charge in New Jersey

Is forging a signature a crime? Absolutely — and it can result in serious consequences. All states have their own forgery laws, and New Jersey is no exception. If you’re interested in learning more about the state’s penalties for forgery and why forging a signature is a crime, here’s what you need to know.

Criminal Law

Understanding Sexual Assault Charges in New Jersey

In New Jersey, sexual assault is a felony with varying consequences and fines depending on the nature of the offense. If you’ve been charged with sexual assault in New Jersey, it’s important to understand the situation you’re facing and what you can do to prepare. It’s also wise to get a hold of a criminal defense attorney in NJ that can give you the right legal advice to prepare for your case. Take advantage of the knowledge of The Law Offices of Zapicchi and Liller to help you understand what to do if you’re up against NJ’s sexual assault laws.

Criminal Law

Understanding Drug Charges in New Jersey

To deter individuals from using, creating, and distributing illegal substances, felony drug charges are a serious offense in New Jersey. However, there isn’t a single penalty for every drug offense. Many nuances that can alter the severity of a sentence for drug charges. Here’s a look at the NJ drug laws and penalties and the factors that influence them.

Criminal Law

What Happens If You Use an Illegal Gun to Defend Yourself in New Jersey?

In instances where a defendant proves they hurt someone out of self-preservation, they can plead for self-defense. However, what happens if the gun they used to defend themself was illegal? Many firearms are not permitted for civilian use and have been outlawed, meaning that those who are found to have used them can be severely punished. To understand this unusual legal puzzle, here is everything you need to know about using illegal guns in self-defense.

Criminal Law

What is the Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault in New Jersey?

The definition of assault is when a person causes harm to another or attempts to inflict harm on another. Many states, such as New Jersey, have two different types of assault: simple assault and aggravated assault. There is more than one difference between simple assault and aggravated assault in NJ, from what they entail to the assault charges they incur. To familiarize yourself with the two forms of assault, here are the ways in which they differ from one another.

Criminal Law

What to Do if You’ve Been Charged With Resisting Arrest

While one might search for Mercer County criminal lawyers after an arrest, there is another reason they will want an attorney: resisting arrest. Those who resist their arrest can be found guilty of another crime that will be compounded with the initial punishment. If someone intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer from effecting an arrest, they will be guilty of a disorderly person’s offense. However, it is possible for individuals charged with this misdemeanor to prove their innocence and evade charges. Here is what steps you should take if you are ever charged with resisting arrest.

Seek Help From a Legal Professional

It is vital to seek legal help as soon as you can to seek protection. Reach out to a law firm to help you navigate the confusing legal world. A skilled attorney can help inform you of your constitutional rights, defend you in the courtroom, and provide other beneficial services.

Provide a Detailed Account of the Arrest

One of the important actions you can take to help your attorney during a charge pertaining to resisting arrest is providing as much information about the incident as possible. The prosecutor in charge of the case must prove in court that the defendant attempted to resist arrest. Telling your defense attorney about the details of the incident as thoroughly as possible can help them disprove the prosecution’s claims, so try to recall as much as you possibly can about the arrest. Here are specific details you should try to recall:

  • Whether or not the police announced their intention to arrest you. If the officer did not, then you would not have known, as demonstrated in State v. Kane. Those who did not know they were under arrest can evade a disorderly person’s arrest charge.
  • If you knowingly knew the purpose of the arrest and chose to resist, then the prosecution can make a case. Otherwise, your attorney can make a case for you.
  • Sometimes, the defendant might unintentionally resist arrest due to factors such as fear or pain causing them to stiffen or shake. In these circumstances, the defense can argue the resistance was not intentional and thus not intended.
  • Keep track of everything the arresting officers did during your arrest. If they did something inappropriate or out of line, then their misconduct can serve as your defense.

Know What Will Not Help Your Attorney

While several key details can help in dropping the charge of resisting arrest, several factors will not. Below are some facets of the incident that can not be used in your defense.

  • An unjust arrest does not eliminate a disorderly person’s offense. For instance, even if you can prove you legally purchased an item with a receipt when you were arrested for theft, resisting arrest is still a crime because the law discourages potential escalation in violence.
  • If police use excessive force, it can be justified if it was necessary to subdue a defendant who resisted arrest.

If you need the assistance of DUI lawyers in Burlington, NJ, or other parts of The Garden State, contact The Law Offices of Zapicchi and Liller LLP today.

Criminal Law

Defending Against Driving Without Insurance Charges in New Jersey

If you are an uninsured driver in Hamilton, NJ, you will need to pay a ticket to their Municipal Court. Those found guilty will face up to $300 to $1,000 worth of fines, a designated amount of community service hours, and a year-long license suspension. Any subsequent charges following the first offense will increase these punishments considerably, with the addition of jail time. Most states enact this law to ensure that any potential victims have financial relief if a vehicle accident occurs. These are some of the ways New Jersey drivers can defend themselves from driving without insurance charges.

Know the Law

Understanding the parameters of the law and how to follow it will help protect individuals from facing arrest, to begin with. Under N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2, owners of registered motor vehicles must carry their proof of insurance with them. If they do not have it, then they violate N.J.S.A. 39:6B-1, which prohibits individuals from driving on New Jersey public roads or highways without insurance. The specific insurance that drivers must own in New Jersey is $5,000 for any property damage, $15,000 for the death or bodily injury of a person, and $30,000 for the death or injury of multiple people. Contact your insurance company for more details on how to acquire them so you can avoid becoming an uninsured driver.

Provide Proof of Insurance

If you are charged with driving without insurance, the New Jersey Municipal Court will ask you to provide an insurance policy or card that was active during the same time as the arrest: failure to present it will result in jail time. Keeping your insurance coverage on hand will ensure you have it ready to submit in a timely manner, in addition to your license and registration.

You Did Not Receive Notice of Cancellation

There are several past cases where uninsured drivers were not charged with driving without insurance due to various forces outside their control. In State v. Hochman, 188 N.J. 382, a conviction was overturned when it was proven the defendant’s insurance company mailed the letter of the cancellation notice to the wrong address. In another case, Matland v. United States Automobile Association, 174 N.J. Super. 499, an offender was let go because their husband canceled the insurance without their knowledge. In both instances, the defendants were let go because they were not informed of the cancellation of their auto insurance. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance, be sure to notify your attorney.

You Were Driving Someone Else’s Vehicle

Even if you are not an uninsured driver, it is still possible to face charges for driving uninsured if the vehicle you were operating belonged to someone else who did not have insurance. However, so long as you can prove that you did not own the uninsured vehicle you were driving at the time of arrest, you can defend against charges. Instead, the person who owned the car you drove will face charges. If you ever need to lend a friend or family member your vehicle, ensure you have insurance for it; you will be the one being fined, not them.

There Was a Lapse of Coverage

On some occasions, the state will charge an individual for driving without insurance when their coverage lapsed: this means that the driver failed to pay for the insurance in time, and it expired. However, it’s possible that the owner did not know of the lapse during their arrest. If they are able to pay their insurance once they are notified, they can avoid fines. Additionally, a lapse may occur if they transition to a new insurance company. To prevent either scenario from happening, always make sure to pay for your insurance on time.

If you ever need a DWI Lawyer in Hamilton, NJ, contact The Law Office of Zapicchi & Zeller LLC for assistance.

Criminal Law

What to Know if You’re Charged With a Crime in New Jersey as a First-Time Offender

Have you found yourself accused of a crime you didn’t commit or in a situation where you ended up in jail but don’t quite understand why? Unfortunately, through misunderstandings or non-thorough investigations, bystanders and completely innocent individuals can end up wrongfully accused of a crime. Believe it or not, it happens more often than you might think, and the best way to be aware is to be prepared. As a result, we’ll review what you can expect and what you should know if charged with a crime in Burlington County, NJ, or the surrounding areas. 

After Being Charged, What Can I Expect? 

Once you have been charged, the next steps vary depending on the type of criminal complaint received. Whether you get a warrant or summons complaints is important, for each will have a different effect on the following circumstances. 

Typically, in cases of no criminal history or minimal criminal background, the police officer may file the summons’ complaint. Fortunately, this can mean you are free to go and are simply expected to report to the court on your noted date. At this time, you can anticipate more information from the judge, including your next court date, what your rights are, and what the charges are against you. 

On the other hand, if you find yourself in a situation where the complaint is filed as a warrant, you will not be immediately released. Rather, prepare to go to the county jail and be brought before the judge within the following one to two days, on average. At this time, bail will be determined. 

What Happens When You First Get Arrested? 

Before even being arrested by the police, know that it must be under probable cause. “Probable cause” is defined as reasonable conditions where you are being suspected of illegal activity. As a result, there may be “probable cause” to detain or arrest you. 

Once arrested, the booking process starts. Here’s what it should include: 

These steps are most fundamental to the process, but there are more that you may encounter. Most are paperwork-related, such as recording your name and the alleged crime from the start. Also, the arresting officer may check for any other warrants on your record. In essence, this helps determine what the next steps look like depending on whether it comes back clear or not. 

Additionally, a health screening may occur with other inmates and employees’ safety and health in mind. This can incorporate testing such as bloodwork or X-rays. Likewise, a DNA sample may be collected, but this is entirely situational. However, as of a 2013 Supreme Court decision, police officers are allowed to ask for a sample during this booking process. 

What Are My Rights?  

As a citizen or documented immigrant of the United States, you always have the right to an attorney. During your arrest, you should be Mirandized, where your rights are explained to you. This also includes the right not to speak without your lawyer present. 

In most circumstances, it is advisable to hire a criminal lawyer or DWI lawyer, depending on the crime in which you were accused. Ultimately, the Law Offices of Zapicchi & Liller LLP will represent you and your interests best in court while working towards the optimal outcome for your case. After all, our practice has over 20 years of combined experience, so we can be trusted to fight for you in a criminal law case based in Monmouth County, NJ. Contact us today for more information!