Category: Drug Crimes
Misdemeanor v. Indictable Charges Attorney Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Serving clients across the Jersey Shore in Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Wall, Sea Girt, and Brick.
Anyone charged with an offense in New Jersey can become easily confused by the terminology used by courts, attorneys, and even friends. This is often the case when a person is charged with a misdemeanor (disorderly persons) offense or an indictable offense. It is important to understand the differences between the two offenses and the potential consequences of each. Similarly, it can become hard to discern what you have been charged with and what the potential consequences are. From a DUI, to drug crimes, assault violations, driving tickets, or even stalking, it is important to understand the type of charge and potential consequences. Below, we will discuss the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony offense.
Misdemeanors and Indictable offenses are not the same.
New Jersey classifies offenses into two categories. Offenses are either disorderly persons or indictable offenses. Many people are confused about what they are charged with because these terms are not often used when referring to crimes. Instead, media outlets and many nearby states refer to offenses as misdemeanors or felonies. In New Jersey, the term disorderly persons offense is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in other states. You may hear some attorneys refer to it as a “dp”, short for disorderly persons. Similarly, a felony is relatively the same as an indictable offense. However just as the terms are different for the crimes are different, the potential consequences of each vary greatly.
Misdemeanor-disorderly persons offense
A misdemeanor is a lower-level offense that is, more often than not, heard in municipal court. This court is in the town in which the alleged offense occurred. The offenses in municipal court are broken down into two categories, namely petty disorderly persons (dp) offenses, and disorderly persons offenses. A petty “dp” is the lowest level offense that a person may be charged within New Jersey. It is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, $500 in fines, and court costs and mandatory state penalties. Petty dp’s commonly heard in municipal court are harassment, mutual fighting, and disorderly conduct. The next level of municipal offenses is disorderly persons offense (misdemeanors).
Disorderly/misdemeanor offenses are above petty dp’s but have less penal consequences than felony/indictable offenses. Unlike felony offenses, you cannot go to New Jersey State Prison if convicted of a disorderly persons offense. The law only allows a person convicted of such offense to go to the county jail for 180 days. However, there are additional penalties a person faces such as being placed on probation, up to $1000 in discretionary fines, mandatory state penalties, court costs, and possible license suspensions. Unfortunately, many people continue to suffer the consequences of a misdemeanor charge because they cannot make the required payments on the fines and the court then suspends their license. Of course, suspending the license compounds the financial problem as the person cannot get to work and therefore cannot pay the fines and the cycle continues. Common examples of misdemeanors charged in New Jersey are:
- Less than 50 grams of marijuana,
- Drug paraphernalia,
- Simple assault,
- Criminal mischief (damage less than $200),
- Shoplifting (less than $200)
Sometimes these charges can be attached to a complaint about an indictable/felony offense which is heard in Superior Court, located in the county in which the offense occurred.
Felony/indictable offenses, unlike misdemeanors, are punishable by potential terms in New Jersey State Prison. Felony offenses range from first through fourth degree and each degree has a term of state prison attached to it that you face. For example, first-degree faces 10-20 years in state prison, second-degree faces 5-10 years, third-degree 3-5 years, and fourth-degree faces 12-18 months. The court may sentence a person to probation in lieu of state prison, but the probationary sentence can include up to 364 days in the county jail. In addition to the state prison terms or probation, there are discretionary monetary penalties that you can be ordered to pay such as $10,000 for a fourth-degree, $15,000 for a third, $150,000 for a second and 250,000for a first.
Other differences in misdemeanor and felony offenses
Municipal Court (misdemeanors) is less formal than courts in which indictable offenses are heard. For example, you are entitled to a trial on a disorderly persons offense, but the trial will be in front of a judge, not a jury. In a felony case, you will have a trial in front of jurors. Additionally, for felonies unlike misdemeanors, your fingerprints and DNA will be taken and put in a state database to identify you in any future criminal conduct. A record of your charges will also be available for potential employers to see and as such, your employment and financial future will be negatively impacted.
Common examples of charges that would subject you to the consequences of felony charges are:
- Possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS)
- Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana
- Shoplifting (more than $200)
- Credit Card theft
- Bad check
- Identity theft
- Resisting arrest
- Aggravated assault.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list but rather a sample of commonly charged indictable offenses.
Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney with Offices in Brick and Sea Girt NJ
No matter what type of offense you are charged with, you are facing consequences that can have a negative impact on your personal and financial life. You need a zealous advocate that can protect you and guide you through the process. Our office has the knowledge and experience to help you in your case. Call our office today at (732) 812-3102 or contact us to arrange a free case consultation and evaluation with an experienced criminal trial attorney.
Types of Criminal Charges Reviewed by Ocean and Monmouth County Lawyers
Serving Clients Facing Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies in Asbury Park, Wall, Toms River, Brick, Sea Girt, Manasquan, Neptune, Spring Lake and across the Jersey Shore
Most citizens don’t have much interaction with and knowledge of the criminal justice system. However, if you or someone you know is charged with a crime it is important to understand the different types of crimes and what the possible penalties that can result are.
In New Jersey, as in other states, crimes fall under different classifications. In fact, Title 2C Section 2C:1-4 of The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice clearly defines the differences. This grouping usually reflects the seriousness of the different types of crimes committed and in most cases the penalties that are attached to the crime. The groups are infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. The reason for these classifications is to help create a more efficient system and make a pattern that citizens can follow when it comes to how being charged with these crimes impact them.
The major categories are in most cases determined by the amount of jail time that is possible. For example, when trying to figure out what the difference is between a misdemeanor and a felony, one can look to the maximum potential jail time for the crime for the answer.
What qualifies as an Infraction in NJ Law?
Generally, infractions are the least serious type of crime. Put simply, an infraction is the violation of a rule, ordinance or law. In most cases, there is no jail time associated with an infraction and it, depending on the jurisdiction, will not appear on a criminal record. In the majority of cases, payment of a fine will be the only punishment. However, it is important to note that federal law classifies an infraction as a crime with a jail sentence of not more than five days. The most common example of an infraction is a traffic ticket, but other offenses can also be categorized as infractions, such as trespassing, littering, disturbing the peace as well as other petty offenses.
Though in cases of infractions police officers will usually just write a ticket and hand it to the person, however, infractions can turn into a more serious crime if left unaddressed or unpaid.
Commonly infractions have different classes (i.e. moving violations, non-moving violations, and other petty offenses). The law provides for an increasing range of fines and potential penalties for the different classes within the infraction category.
What is a Misdemeanor in NJ Criminal and Municipal Courts?
It is important to know that misdemeanors are more serious than infractions. Under federal law and in New Jersey, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense that carries a potential jail term of less than one year in county jail.
As with infractions, misdemeanors are sorted into classes as well. Federal sentencing guidelines divide the classes based on the maximum imprisonment for the offense.
- Class A misdemeanor – less than one year but more than six months
- Class B misdemeanor – more than 30 days but less than 6 months
- Class C misdemeanor – more than 5 days but less than 30 days
Once again, the jail time is served in a local county jail as opposed to a high-security prison. It is usual for prosecutors to have a great degree of flexibility in deciding what crimes to charge, how to punish them as well as what kinds of plea bargains will be offered to the defendant.
What is a Felony Charge in NJ Criminal Court?
There is no debate that a felony is the most serious type of crime. Generally, these are the crimes that can hurt the public, such as drug distribution or violent behavior. Consequences may range from massive fines of over a thousand dollars to going to prison for at least a year. However, the term felony is not uniform throughout the United States. The federal government defines a felony as a crime with a punishment of more than one year but states are less strict about the definition. New Jersey does not classify their criminal offenses at all. However, typically a sentence of more than one year that will be served in a state or federal prison will be considered a felony. As is the case with misdemeanors, Federal law breaks down classifications for felonies using sentencing guidelines by the amount of prison time.
- Class A Felony – life imprisonment or the death penalty.
- Class B Felony – twenty-five or more years of imprisonment.
- Class C Felony – less than twenty-five years, but more than ten years of imprisonment.
- Class D Felony – less than ten years, but more than five years of imprisonment.
- Class E Felony – less than five years, but more than one year of imprisonment.
Felonies are usually crimes that are viewed severely by society and given that the punishments are so impactful, a criminal procedure must be strictly observed in order to ensure that the defendants’ rights stay protected. Felonies are usually crimes that include crimes such as murder, rape, burglary, kidnapping and arson to name but a few. However, felonies can also be punished in a range of ways so that the actual punishment matches the severity of the crime.
Contact a Toms River Misdemeanor, Infraction, and Felony Criminal Attorney Today
Being charged with any crime is a serious matter. At Peter J. Bronzino, our legal team is experienced in defending the rights of our clients across Neptune, Spring Lake, Brielle, and Toms River in all types’ criminal cases and infraction.
If you have been charged with a crime, please contact a member of our legal team today to schedule a comprehensive and confidential consultation to review your case. Reach out to us at (732) 812-3102; or visit our access our online form we look forward to representing your legal rights.
Blood Test and DUI Charges Attorneys in Brick and Sea Girt NJ
If facing DUI Charges in Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, or Brick know your rights and hire an experienced trial lawyer
It is important to know that even if you have broken the law, as a citizen of the United States and a resident of the state of New Jersey, you are afforded certain rights. Many have found themselves facing the legal system in cases that involve DUI. When stopped by police it is natural to want to assert your rights especially if you feel that you are being treated unfairly. A common question is whether or not the police need a warrant in order to draw blood for the purpose of checking blood alcohol level. In short, a warrant is not always needed in this situation.
A short time ago, the New Jersey Supreme Court passed a ruling (State v. Shayna Zalcberg) that law enforcement officers do not always need a warrant before drawing blood from a person suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. The rationale is that alcohol is metabolized rather quickly by the body and as a result, the BAC can be lower if the test is delayed and may not accurately reflect the actual BAC of the driver while they were driving.
It is the totality of the circumstances surrounding the accident that can present exigent circumstances that relax the requirement for the police to obtain a warrant prior to drawing blood from a motorist.
The Life-Altering Consequences of a DUI Conviction
In the State of New Jersey, DUI laws are strict and can be unforgiving. All convictions become part of a driver’s permanent record with the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles, which will impose a mandatory insurance surcharge on those drivers that have been convicted. That surcharge amounts to between $3,000 and $5,000 on average. Being that insurance is mandatory in New Jersey this extra charge can be an avoidable and costly lifetime expense.
When it comes to penalties, if you are a first time offender with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .08 percent and .10 percent then you will be facing a fine between $250 and $400. Moreover, you will also be detained for up to 48 hours and can be sentenced to jail time of up to 30 days in addition to having your license suspended for up to one year.
If you have a BAC higher than .10 the penalties get worse with fines increasing to between $300 and $500 as well as jail time of up to 30 days, in addition to a loss of driving privileges for between seven months and a year.
Should you become a repeat offender, the penalties will increase exponentially. However, even one DUI conviction can have a long-lasting impact on your life. If you are facing a DUI in New Jersey there is no doubt that you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Why you need an experienced attorney if you are facing DUI charges
If you’ve been arrested for Driving Under the Influence, or any other drunk driving-related offense, it is highly recommended that you seek the legal advice of an experienced DUI lawyer. A good DUI attorney can help to minimize or help you avoid severe penalties and consequences often associated with DUI. In short, an experienced DUI attorney can make the difference between going to jail, losing your license, and getting a non-guilty or a reduction of the charges.
In New Jersey, a DUI arrest is a serious matter. For anyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence, there’s a good chance they will be facing jail time, having their license suspended, and/or paying hefty fines. In addition, there may be potential hardships they may encounter at work especially if their job involves driving.
Though some legal matters can be handled alone, a DUI arrest warrants the legal advice of a qualified DUI attorney who knows how to handle the intricacies of your DUI case. Due to the fact that DUI laws are highly centralized and specific, DUI cases are best handled by experienced DUI attorneys who have specialized knowledge in this area, including knowledge of traffic laws and motor vehicle laws. Moreover, a good DUI attorney will have the knowledge of how to challenge certain aspects of your DUI charge based on his or her specialized knowledge of breathalyzers, blood test, and chemical testing procedures.
Contact a Monmouth and Ocean County Drunk Driving Attorney to Protect Your Rights
Being charged with DUI is no small matter. At Peter J. Bronzino Law Firm, our legal team is experienced in defending the rights of our clients arrested for DUI across Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey.
If you have been charged with a DUI, please contact a member of our legal team today to schedule a comprehensive and confidential consultation to review your case. Reach out to us at (732) 812-3102; we look forward to representing your legal rights.
Signs Police Officers Look for to Determine Impairment from Drugs and Alcohol
Providing Legal Advice to Clients Facing DUI in towns throughout Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
Getting a DUI in New Jersey is a very serious matter. Law enforcement officers and courts do not take DUI offenses lightly. In recent years there has been a special emphasis on police undergoing training to identify the signs that a motorist is driving while under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. There are more than 100 visual cues that indicate whether a driver has been using a substance that can impair their abilities before driving. The ability to spot these dangerous drivers on the road has the potential to save lives and reduce DUI offenses. These efforts have been largely successful. According to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, traffic fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes decreased by 1.1 percent from 10,996 in 2016 to 10,874 in 2017.
It can be helpful in avoiding confusion if drivers know the things that police will be looking for in order to avoid misunderstanding and misidentification of driving while impaired. These include but are not limited to:
Improper Lane Usage/Weaving
One of the most easily recognizable indicators of drunk driving is weaving between traffic and failure to stay within your driving lane. It has been well documented that being under the influence of alcohol makes it difficult to maintain a vehicle on a steady course in addition to lowering an individual’s overall awareness.
The red flags those officers look for include:
- A driver veering into a lane when it is not safe to do so
- Driver who demonstrate a lack of awareness of other vehicles
- Driver who fail to maintain a steady course in the center of a lane
- Vehicles that are swerving or making sharp turns
- A driver who is weaving in and out of lanes and other vehicles
When an officer witnesses someone driving in such a manner, they will more than likely stop that vehicle for further investigation. However, it is important to note that these same behaviors can be caused by fatigued or distracted drivers who are not under the influence. Driving should not be done under these circumstances as it can be as dangerous as driving while under the influence.
Lack of Awareness for Other Road Users/Traffic Signs
In order to be sure our roads are safe for everyone, it is critically important to be aware of what other road users are doing and to pay attention to traffic signs. Seeing a driver that shows a lack of awareness of their surroundings is grounds to suspect a DUI.
Indications of a lack of awareness include:
- Not seeing or ignoring stop signs and other traffic signals
- Pulling out in front of other vehicles in such a manner as to force them to avoid a collision
- Driving in the opposite direction of the flow of traffic
- Driving notably too slow or too fast for the speed limit
- Using the incorrect turn signals when turning
Demonstrating a lack of awareness for others on the road may make you are a potential threat to yourself and others. However, lack of awareness is not always caused by DUI. Causes can include being distracted while driving as well as poor weather conditions.
Rapid acceleration or Erratic Breaking
It is well known that being under the influence of alcohol compromises a person’s ability to judge speed and distance as well as lowering reaction time. This can often be seen when accelerating or stopping a vehicle.
Common indicators that can raise a police officer’s suspicion that someone is under the influence include:
- Harsh or dramatic breaking when coming to a stop or for no apparent reason
- Speeding up suddenly or erratically
- Dramatic speed fluctuations
- Driving faster than the legal speed limit
Breaking erratically can potentially cause harm to others sharing the road in the form of rear-end collisions especially under adverse weather conditions. Though accidental breaking and inadvertent rapid acceleration are not unheard of, they can still be potentially dangerous to other drivers on the road.
Using a Vehicle Improperly
A motor vehicle can be inherently dangerous when not used in the proper manner. Improper use is often a clear sign that someone is impaired. Though a driver may be able to control their vehicle and drive within the correct speed limits, other signs may raise suspicion of a DUI.
Some of the common actions that raise law enforcement concern that a driver may be under the influence include:
- Using the wrong turning signal
- Driving at night without headlights
- Prolonged driving with the windshield wipers on in dry conditions
- Driving with a flat tire
Though many of these things may seem mostly benign, when taken into account with other factors, they may cause an officer to feel that further investigation is warranted.
DUI Traffic Stop Attorneys and What the Police Are Looking For
Once an officer finds that there is sufficient cause to stop a driver on suspicion of DUI there are some common signs a police officer will look at to confirm their suspicions. These include:
- Difficulty with answering basic questions or giving incorrect or evasive answers
- The smell of alcohol on the driver or coming from the vehicle
- Seeing open alcoholic beverages in the vehicle
- Slurred or incoherent speech
- Poor hand-eye coordination and mobility
Any of the above-mentioned conditions is cause for an officer to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer exam or a field sobriety check. However, it is important that officers remember that many of the causes listed above can have benign reasons. For example, an apparent difficulty in answering questions can be caused by nervousness and slurred speech can be caused by medical conditions or speech impediments. Moreover, many mouthwashes use alcohol, the smell of which can cause an officer to believe that you have been drinking.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI it is critical that you seek good and experienced legal representation.
Consult Peter Bronzino at Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations
At Peter J. Bronzino our team of attorneys is experienced in supporting and fiercely representing our clients who are facing DUI charges in Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey. No matter your situation you don’t have to confront it alone.
Spousal Opioid Addiction: Our Brick NJ Family Lawyers Are Here to Help
Serving Clients in towns throughout Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
New Jersey is facing an alarming opioid addiction epidemic. To combat this crisis, the Murphy Administration will receive three federal grants totaling $30.6 million to fight the opioid crisis through initiatives aimed at preventing overdoses and expanding treatment and recovery services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) are expected to receive $21,566,035 for a series of initiatives to expand access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Narcan, and alternatives to opioid pain medication.
Can My Marriage Survive my Spouse’s Opioid Addiction?
If you are married to an addict, the impact of watching someone you love go down a spiral of addiction, the same time as your marriage seems to be on a crash course towards divorce, can be devastating. With a 29% increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in New Jersey from 2016 to 2017, of which over 50% involved fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, it’s clear to see how opioid addiction can have drastic effects on marriages and families.
This spike means it’s not uncommon for spousal addiction to lead to either separation, civil union dissolution, or divorce. Opioid addiction is often stronger than the threat of divorce, and an indication of the level of your loved one’s addictive illness, so it’s critical for couples to seek professional guidance as an effective strategy for treating the illness and saving the relationship.
Encouraging Spousal Communication Between Addicted Spouses & Their Families
Having a spouse who lies, hides their addiction or makes promises they don’t keep, may leave you wondering if you can ever trust your partner again. Communication between spouses and family members can be difficult or even non-existent in a relationship where addiction exists. You and/or your children may have trouble expressing your needs and may not want to contribute additional stressors to an already challenging relationship dynamic. Acknowledging the addiction and encouraging your partner to face their addiction and seek professional treatment, is a positive opportunity to participate in the therapeutic process together as a family through ReachNJ or Nar-anon.
It is vital to find a therapist or marriage counselor who can help you deal as a couple with the marital ramifications of substance abuse or who may be able to refer you to the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addictions Services’ (DMHAS) inpatient/outpatient treatment options or their directory of physicians or facilities in your area.
SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator also provides a confidential and anonymous source of information for persons seeking treatment facilities for substance use, addiction, and/or mental health issues.
Can I Be Held Financially Responsible for My Spouse’s Substance Abuse Problem in Ocean County, NJ?
As the partner of an addict, you may have dealt or be dealing with unacceptable behaviors (i.e., lying, chronic illnesses, cheating, domestic violence, etc.) and potentially be put in a position of legal responsibility for that person if they are engaged in reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) and injured someone or damaged their property, engaged in disorderly conduct, were charged with a drug crime, or to have been in possession of drugs or illegal prescription drugs, or who created a sizeable marital debt and other financial issues as a result of opioid addiction. Despite it not being your fault, if your spouse is required to pay damages awarded in a lawsuit or insurance claim or debt they incurred, more than likely this will mean using your hard-earned dollars or sweat equity to cover their mistakes.
Though distressing, filing for legal separation can help you maintain your marital status and free you from being financially tied to your spouse.
Is My Codependency Enabling My Spouse’s Substance Abuse?
It’s heartbreaking to watch someone you love in pain or struggling. Like all spouses of drug addicts, you’ll need to learn how to avoid codependency, improve upon communication skills, and acquire healthy coping mechanisms for stress. Enabling one’s spouse by consistently bailing them out of legal woes or the many other difficulties that result from addiction is not the answer. In fact, codependency or “rescuing behaviors” may delay your spouse’s search for treatment and recovery. Support, treatment, and guidance from experienced mental health professionals and addiction specialists is essential.
Can Opioid Addiction Negatively Impact Child Custody Matters in Brick, NJ?
Parenting time relationships are negatively impacted by addiction and substance abuse problems. Children need stable parental figures and when a parent suffers from addiction, both parents are unavailable. There is also a lack of stability and consistency for the children. In addition, when a parent struggles with drug addiction, their child custody or parental rights may be affected. Though the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) may remove a child from a parent if they abuse drugs, Family Court may also deny a parent custody, modify their child custody, or terminate their parental rights, if they have untreated substance abuse or addiction issues, and if they do not seek treatment of some kind. Fortunately, treating the underlying illness is often seen as critical to keeping and protecting custody and parental rights.
The Road to Recovery and Moving Forward
Your spouse’s journey to get and remain sober is going to be long and difficult. If they’re unwilling to get help, an intervention strategy might be necessary. Because professional intervention can be expensive, organizing something among friends and family might be more practical. Regardless of the treatment option your spouse chooses, it’s essential they are surrounded with a support system that will hold them accountable to their commitment to stay clean.
Contact an Experienced Family and Criminal Law Team in Ocean and Monmouth County today
If your spouse has a history of addiction problems, he or she will usually be at a detriment in several aspects of the divorce. Courts take substance abuse issues very seriously, and there can be stiff repercussions in a divorce case for an addicted spouse, particularly when it comes to child custody.
If you are divorcing a spouse with substance abuse issues, you should contact a local family law attorney to help you with your divorce strategy. Contact us online or through our Brick, NJ offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns and the role that a history of abuse has had on you and your family.
Controlled Substance and Drug Possession Laws Reviewed by Brick NJ Attorney
Monmouth and Ocean County Drug Crime Attorney with Offices located in Brick, and Sea Girt NJ
New Jersey law defines a ‘controlled dangerous substance,’ or CDS, as a drug or chemical compound that cannot be possessed or distributed, except as specifically warranted. Such drugs are regulated by New Jersey law enforcement because they are known to be abused. Some well-known examples of CDSs are cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy.
The only cases in which a CDS may be utilized are their prescription by a medical professional for targeted treatment or medical study. In the absence of these pardonable uses, the possession of such drugs is illegal. If a person is found to illegally possess a CDS, charges may be filed.
The legal ramifications of an illegal possession charge are drastically heightened if the charge includes intent to sell, likely brought forth if large quantities of the drug are found. When someone is charged with intent to sell or distribute a CDS, authorities will search for additional evidence including paraphernalia or cash.
According to the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, there are five drug schedules, or levels, of criminal charges for possession of a CDS.
Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances
Controlled substances that are classified as Schedule 1 drugs are among the most dangerous drugs, usually having no proven medical benefit, as well as a high probability for abuse, as they are largely addictive. Drugs such as heroin, LSD, and mescaline are among the compounds classified in New Jersey as Schedule 1 drugs.
Marijuana, or cannabis, now legalized in many states for recreational or medical use, is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug in New Jersey. As such, marijuana charges require the support of a skilled New Jersey criminal defense lawyer with a specialization in drug law.
Potential Marijuana Removal from Schedule I Restrictive Classification
New Jersey State House Representatives Earl L. Carter and Earl Blumenauer wrote a piece for NBC News in April 2019 in which they implored that marijuana be removed from its restrictive classification as a Schedule I CDS in New Jersey in order to allow for broader research into the medical benefits of the plant and its components. In the article, they pointed to evidence of the scientifically backed medical uses of the cannabis plant, as well as the Federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of an oral cannabidiol (CBD) solution derived from the plant to treat rare forms of epilepsy.
Schedule II Controlled Substances
Schedule II classified substances include compounds that are currently used in the medical setting but are addictive and therefore likely to be abused. Schedule II drugs include oxycodone and methadone.
Schedule III Controlled Substances
Schedule III classified substances include prescription drugs. This classification pertains to those drugs that are widely and legally used but that still run the risk of abuse due to their addictive capacities. The common ADHD prescription drug Ritalin, as well as some amphetamines and methamphetamine, which are used to treat narcolepsy and some attention deficit disorders, are included among Schedule III controlled substances.
Schedule IV Controlled Substances
The main characteristic separating Schedule IV drugs from their more controlled Schedule III drugs is their potential for abuse. Comparatively speaking, Schedule IV drugs such as Ambien, valium, and Xanax have a relatively low risk of developing a dependence.
Schedule V Controlled Substances
These controlled substances are widely used for medical treatments and have a relatively low risk for abuse or psycho-physiological dependence.
Depending on the drug classification, a person may or may not be charged with a felony. Felonies range from first to fourth degree; non-felony charges are disorderly persons offenses. A felony is tried by the New Jersey county Superior Court, while disorderly persons offenses are tried by a local municipal court. If an illegal possession charge is listed as a felony, it will be reviewed by the county prosecutor’s office to determine the degree of the felony charge, or whether it can be downgraded to a non-felony charge.
Contact a Drugs and Controlled Substance Defense Lawyer in Monmouth County NJ
At Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, our criminal defense attorneys have a broad range of experience helping those who have been charged with illegal possession of controlled substances including charges of illegal possession with intent to sell or distribute across Sea Girt, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean County, NJ area.
Ocean County Lawyers Discuss Plea Bargains
Serving Families in Ocean and Monmouth County towns including Toms River, Wall, Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, and Brick, NJ
In New Jersey criminal trials, accepting a plea bargain or plea agreement is an option for defendants who may wish to avoid the possibility of a harsh sentence. This bargaining process is basically an arrangement between the prosecution and the defendant where some concession is made in exchange for a guilty plea. In the interest of saving the government time and money, prosecutors may offer incentives to avoid having to invest extensive resources into cases that might otherwise take longer to resolve. These offers might result in certain charges being reduced to a lesser offense in exchange for a guilty plea, other charges being dismissed, or an overall sentence reduction.
In some cases, it may not even include jail time and the defendant will have to pay a fine or be subject to some other manageable punishment.
Although prosecutors can file numerous charges to gain leverage during plea bargaining, defendants still have some leverage. They are presumed to be innocent and have the right to cross examine witnesses produced against them. Defendants may elect whether they testify on their own behalf or remain silent to prevent self-incrimination.
Types of Plea Bargains in NJ
A plea bargain is an admission of guilt on the part of the defendant for a known outcome in terms of punishment or a reduced charge. The different types include:
- pleading guilty to one charge as other charges against the defendant are dismissed
- the prosecutor’s sentence recommendation to the judge as a result of the defendant’s guilty plea
- the defendant pleading guilty to a lesser offense than the original charge
A judge is not obligated to accept a plea agreement. Some initial agreements may require making minor changes to make it agreeable for both sides and acceptable to the court.
94% of New Jersey Defendants Plead Guilty
According to a recent op-ed by the Innocence Project, an Albert Kelly article was cited which stated that in 94% of New Jersey cases, the defendant took a plea bargain. It’s interesting to note that the defendant in most of those cases may have pleaded guilty to a crime they did not commit to avoid the possibility of jail time.
If you are innocent you should not be intimidated or coerced into pleading guilty to a crime you did not commit. You have the right to an aggressive and competent defense.
Why Do Innocent People Plead Guilty & Accept a Plea Deal in NJ?
Kelly cites court-appointed attorneys “often overwhelmed with casework and short on time and resources” as the reasons why defendants usually follow their advice to take plea deals.
In Why Innocent People Plead Guilty Jed S. Rakeoff says, “in actuality, our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone. In 2013, while 8 percent of all federal criminal charges were dismissed (either because of a mistake in fact or law or because the defendant had decided to cooperate), more than 97 percent of the remainder were resolved through plea bargains, and fewer than 3 percent went to trial. The plea bargains largely determined the sentences imposed.”
Other Reasons Defendants May Accept Plea Bargains in Brick, NJ
The uncertainty of a trial’s outcome and the time it may take, even for those who profess their innocence of the crimes, can seem too lengthy and risky. Aside from the stigma of a criminal conviction, the possibility of even a minimal jail sentence can be distressing and emotionally traumatic for employed people if they think it may result in the loss of:
- child custody
- their home or apartment due to missed rent/mortgage payments
- their significant other or spouse
In Which Cases Should One Consider a Plea Bargain in NJ?
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and/or driving under the influence (DUI)
- Traffic violations
- Drug possession
- Drug distribution
- Violent crimes, such as assault
- Threat crimes
- Domestic violence
- Juvenile crimes
- White collar offenses
- Internet-related crimes
Negotiating a Plea Deal to Avoid Jail Time in Ocean County, NJ
The most important element in getting a good plea bargain is having an aggressive defense. Prosecutors are not going to give you a good deal unless they think that your defense attorney is able to find holes in their case. An experienced and dedicated attorney is key to securing the best deal for you.
If you have a substance abuse problem, your attorney might be able to negotiate a plea deal that allows you to enter an alternative sentencing program, such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), Conditional Discharge, or Drug Court. Since these programs are focused on rehabilitation, the defendant is usually able to stay out of jail as long as they meet certain requirements. A major benefit to alternative sentencing is that the defendant avoids getting a criminal conviction on their permanent record.
CONTACT A BRICK, NJ CRIMINAL ATTORNEY TODAY
The lawyers at the The Bronzino Law Firm are dedicated to ensuring a defendant’s rights are protected under the rules of the law, and to making sure that police and prosecutors are held accountable to those rules. You want an attorney that will fight for you by your side from arrest to sentencing – if your case does go that far.
We believe that by communicating honestly with our clients and keeping them well informed, we can find realistic and effective solutions for any legal matter. Our smaller law firm allows us to build personal relationships with our clients, and give them the attentive care they deserve.
Peter Bronzino and his legal team understand and have experience with the system in towns like Brick, Toms River, Lakewood, Jackson and across Ocean County. They utilize tools to divert your case to Drug Court, or Pre-Trial Intervention, or have the charges dropped completely because of Probable Cause, Illegal Search and Seizure or other legal technicalities.
Underage Driving and Drinking Penalties in Ocean and Monmouth Counties
Criminal Attorneys Handling Underage DWI or Possession Charges with offices in Brick and Sea Girt NJ
In the State of New Jersey, as in the rest of the United States, it is illegal for a minor to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol. Furthermore, minors cannot get behind the wheel of a car after consuming any amount of alcohol. In other words, even one beer could lead to charges for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) for a minor and a conviction will carry severe life-changing penalties. A DWI conviction could potentially affect their ability to get into a good college or apply for a high-paying job.
If your child has been charged with DWI they will need an experienced and skilled DWI traffic attorney on their side from the very beginning. While in private practice, Peter Bronzino served as Law Guardian representing the interests of minor children under the care and supervision of the Division of Children Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). In addition, he has been appointed by the court to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for children in the middle of custody battles. This speaks for his care and concern about juvenile cases. Contact him and his team at 732-812-3102 to schedule an appointment to protect the rights of your loved ones.
“Baby DWI´s” Common at the Jersey Shore
Though many prosecutors may refer to underage DWIs as “Baby DWIs,” they are by no means child’s play. Given the rise in fatal traffic accidents in New Jersey involving minors, when it comes to Baby DWIs, prosecutors tend to be very unforgiving, often seeking maximum penalties that can include driver’s license suspension, community service, and expensive alcohol education classes.
It is important to remember that it is extremely easy for a juvenile to be charged with drunk driving. Though the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in New Jersey is .08 percent for adults, a juvenile who registers a BAC above .01 percent can be charged with an underage DWI. In other words, just one drink is enough to put a minor above the legal limit. Furthermore, a minor can still be charged with an adult DWI, which carries extreme punishments that may include jail time, if they post a BAC above .08 percent.
What Should I Do if my Child is Charged with DWI?
Though in almost all cases the child may be embarrassed and afraid or the parents may be disappointed and angry it is important to handle these situations correctly. Some parents may even feel that their child may need to learn a lesson; however, the court is the wrong place to discipline your child. It is strongly recommended that the parents of any minor charged with DWI hire the very best lawyer to represent their child in both the DUI criminal case and administrative license suspension hearing.
Here are other things you should consider:
- If your child has been arrested for DUI, it’s likely they have already spent 6-24 hours in jail, had their car impounded, been handcuffed and fingerprinted, and experienced a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety, and embarrassment. In most cases, this traumatic experience is enough to allow them to learn the gravity and danger of what they did.
- A New Jersey DUI conviction may impact a person’s life for many years, especially financially. Not only with higher insurance premiums but also because a criminal conviction for a DUI can hinder someone from getting a job, prevent admission to certain schools as well as disqualify them from certain financial scholarships and professional licensing.
- If your child is convicted of DUI, the conviction will be on their criminal history even into adulthood.
- There’s no expungement of a DWI / DUI conviction in New Jersey. Expungements are limited to criminal offenses, and since DWI / DUI in New Jersey is a traffic offense and not a criminal offense, a conviction for DWI / DUI cannot be expunged from a driving record.
- Many colleges and private schools impose disciplinary actions for students charged with DUI’s or underage alcohol consumption that are separate from the DUI criminal case.
- Failure to request an administrative license suspension hearing within 30 days of the arrest, or loss of that hearing, will make your child unable to drive legally for a number of months, possibly a year or more.
- It is important to remember that your child needs you and your support, especially at times like these.
Contact a Toms River DWI and Criminal Law Attorney Today
Though you may be disappointed with your child’s poor judgement it is critical to have effective legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced DWI traffic attorney can give you and your child the advice you need to safeguard your child’s future.
If your child close underage relative is facing DWI charges, it is critical that you hire a criminal defense attorney. The actions taken today can impact the consequences in the near future. Seek professional advice for your child and protect his/her rights. Peter Bronzino knows how to handle juvenile crimes cases and is willing to work hard by your side. Call us at 732-812-3102 to schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located offices either in Brick and Sea Girt or also feel to fill out the online form and we´ll be in touch with you shortly.
Failing to Appear in Ocean or Monmouth County Courts
Serving Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, and Wall Township and across the Jersey Shore
In New Jersey, a notice to appear is an official court order and should not be ignored. There can be serious consequences for failing to appear in court on a scheduled court date or to respond to a summons in a criminal offense or motor vehicle violation. What could have initially seemed to have been a simple parking ticket, traffic violation, or minor civil disturbance matter can evolve into a loss of driving privileges, court fees, the issuance of a warrant, revocation of bail, contempt of court charges, and even detention while you await trial.
No matter the reason, once a summons date has passed the issue is escalated, and the court or the judge has a greater amount of discretion to take. This includes issuing a bench warrant that authorizes police to make an immediate arrest. In addition, as part of the court record, bench warrants will likely show up on future background checks, even if the defendant is found guilty of failing to appear in a criminal matter, and is later acquitted of the underlying criminal charges.
Significant and unexpected events can happen in life, which may prevent someone from being able to make their court appearance. Open and honest communication with one´s legal counsel can help prevent any misunderstandings, arrest warrants, contempt fines, or jail time away from their loved ones.
Failure to Appear in Court: New Jersey Court Rule 7:8-9
Under New Jersey Court Rule 7:8-9, a judge can convict someone for failing to appear or respond to a court summons if:
- there is sufficient evidence that the person had proper notice of the trial date, and
- the court determines that the person intentionally did not come to court.
Potential Defenses for Failing to Appear in Court in Monmouth County, NJ
You will need to prove to the judge that a serious emergency physically prevented you from getting to court or responding to your summons. Potentially acceptable reasons may include:
- not being notified of the court date and time
- a previously scheduled court appearance
- a serious accident or illness
- a natural disaster
- a death in the family
Invalid Reasons for Failure to Appear in Court in Toms River, NJ
- moved and did not notify the court of your address change.
- thought the judge waived your appearance.
- had to work.
- were stuck in traffic.
Your car broke down.
The weather was bad.
I Missed My Court Date. What Now?
If you or someone you love in New Jersey, missed a court date for a traffic violation or a criminal offense or is trying to resolve a license suspension, arrest warrant, or an outstanding case, it is vital that you consult an experienced attorney who can best present your unique circumstances and explain your missed court appearance. Thus, possibly minimizing or avoiding any resulting penalties. This attorney should also be someone who can provide a strong defense of the underlying charges and increase the chances of an acquittal or reduction to a lesser charge.
CONTACT US AT OUR BRICK OR SEA GIRT OFFICE LOCATIONS
One of our lawyers is ready to provide a free case evaluation today!
The Bronzino Law Firm has decades of experience defending clients against traffic citations and criminal charges in Ocean and Monmouth County towns such as Wall, Jackson, Point Pleasant, Sea Girt, and the surrounding communities.
We believe that by communicating honestly with our clients and keeping them well informed, we can find realistic and effective solutions for any legal matter. Attorney Peter J. Bronzino has built his practice based on the belief that each one of his clients deserves compassionate, highly attentive, and effective legal counsel.
Whether you are facing a failure to appear charge related to a traffic violation, a disorderly person offense, or a city ordinance violation, our law firm can help you to negotiate with local courts, protect your rights, and ensure the future of you and your family.
Fentanyl and Carfentanil: Lives at Risk in Ocean and Monmouth County
Drug Crime Attorneys handling Opioid-related cases in Wall, Ocean, Toms River, Sea Side, with convenient office locations in Brick and Sea Girt NJ
Recently, law enforcement officials, as well as medical experts across the country, have been growing increasingly worried about the new trend of drug users who are abusing elephant sedatives to feed their addictions. People who initially are introduced and become dependent on heroin and prescription opioids are seeking out cheaper alternatives to feed their addiction and avoid painful withdrawal symptoms. Sadly, many are turning to dangerous, powerful and cheap animal sedatives as an alternative to heroin.
With the increase use of these dangerous substances, as would be expected, increase in crime related to drugs, drug possession and distribution, and in some cases much worse if an overdose occurs resulting in a fatality. If charged with a drug-related possession or even distribution crime, we tell our clients that not all hope is lost. Depending on the circumstance, you may have more options than you think. It is imperative that you know the law and understand your rights in these types of matters, even more so if an overdose occurs and you are charged with distributing the narcotic to that individual.
You can trust The Law Offices of Peter Bronzino, LLC to leave no option unexplored, and that we are here to educate and support you so that you can make the right decisions for yourself and your family. Drug crimes can carry serious consequences, however, our experience in dealing with the courts, litigating cases, and focusing on the most important factor, YOU. We pride ourselves on delivered client-centered counsel and are committed to being by your side and guiding you through the entire process. Whether we hire a legal expert or pursue a pre-trial intervention program, we will leave no stone unturned to protect your future and hope to provide a good chance at a healthy recovery. Call us at 732-812-3102 or visit our website to fill an online form and schedule an appointment.
Carfentanil is becoming more and more common across the Jersey Shore
The dangerous drug, Carfentanil, which is primarily used as an elephant sedative, has become a popular drug for those looking to get high due to the fact that it is cheap and extremely powerful. According to many estimates, Carfentanil can be as much as 100 times more potent than fentanyl, an often abused prescription painkiller that is already responsible for tens of thousands of overdoses and fatalities every year.
Opioid-Related Overdose and Death Statistics on the Rise in NJ
Opioid addiction in New Jersey is a very real, dangerous and growing problem. The numbers themselves are staggering. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, there were 1,969 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in New Jersey, a rate of 22.0 deaths per 100,000 persons, 50% higher than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. Furthermore, the greatest increase in opioid deaths was seen in cases involving synthetic opioids. Deaths involving heroin also increased significantly during the same 5-year period: from 304 to 1,085 deaths.
A rash of drug overdoses in recent months has put New Jersey law enforcement officials on edge and on high alert. There is a belief among law enforcement that extremely powerful prescription painkillers such as fentanyl are being passed off as heroin to unsuspecting addicts because it is a cheaper option and very little is required to produced the desired effect; which invariably has to lead to drug overdoses and even death. Police worry that the carfentanil could and will get even worse, resulting in higher rates of overdose and an increased death toll.
Challenges to Identify and Curb Carfentanil Import into the US
According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), law enforcement may face a great challenge in attempting to curb carfentanil use because it can be purchased over the Internet from unscrupulous Chinese companies. The ease of access to the powerful elephant sedative could soon make it a popular, and deadly, alternative to drugs like heroin and fentanyl.
Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery in Ocean County NJ
Our Attorneys Stress the Importance of Getting Help
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction there is help and it is critical to seek help as soon as possible. Medicaid and Medicare now cover opioid addiction treatments in most cases.
Substance abuse treatment is a process by which you recover from physical dependence on a drug and work toward recovery from active addiction. It is important to remember that addiction is a disease that is characterized by the compulsive use of a drug despite clear consequences. The compulsive desire to use drugs requires a complex process to overcome.
Often addiction treatment starts with medical detox, which involves 24 hours of medical care and may last for about a week. As the body adjusts to the sudden lack of the drug (withdrawal), medications may be used to help you get through symptoms as safely and comfortably as possible.
After detoxification, you may be placed in an inpatient or residential treatment program with 24 hours of medical monitoring. Many benefit from a program that offers housing or regular supervision and accountability.
Our Attorneys Promote Long Term Recovery: Treatment Plans, Behavioral Therapy, Community Involvement
Depending on your personalized treatment plan, you may go through a variety of therapies. Behavioral therapies are an increasingly common form of addiction treatment and involve increasing your readiness to change, helping you learn to identify triggers and risky scenarios as well as learning to deal with stress positively and creating a relapse prevention plan. The goal of any addiction treatment is to aid long-lasting recovery. After treatment, clinicians can help connect you to the myriad of community services available in New Jersey so you can continue your commitment to recovery.
Contact a Wall Township Drug Crimes and Criminal Law Attorney Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we have an experienced team of attorneys who have extensive knowledge in handling drug-related cases in Wall, Ocean, Toms River, Sea Side and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties.
Give us a call at 732-812-3102 to schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located offices in Brick and Sea Girt or fill out the online form and we´ll be in touch with you right away to schedule a consultation.