Category: Municipal Court
Despite Impact of COVID-19 & Social Distancing Limitations, NJ Judicial Staff Work Diligently to Ensure Justice is Served Securely & Safely
With court hours based on a county-by-county decision, these measures and options to operate remotely to a certain extent ensure that both the staff and the public everyone can stay healthy and safe.
COVID-19’s significant impact on the New Jersey Judicial system can easily be seen in the volume of curtailed court proceedings and backlogged trial court cases. Although all federal civil and criminal jury selections and jury trials have been postponed until January 4, 2021, the courts are working diligently to ensure that justice and other court services can be served and transacted remotely as well as securely.
According to recent NJ state guidelines and information, both Superior and Municipal Courts have resumed some in-person court services. A limited number of judges and judicial staff work on-site each day to accommodate attorneys, litigants, and public members with scheduled appointments or legal proceedings.
With court hours based on a county-by-county decision, these measures and options to operate remotely to a certain extent ensure that both the staff and the public everyone can stay healthy and safe.
If you have received a Municipal court summons or have a scheduled hearing, now more than ever is the time not to ignore these appointments or delay seeking experienced legal guidance. Being convicted of a crime in a NJ municipal court can result in jail time, heavy fines, loss of driving privileges and seriously impact your employment, educational, and housing opportunities, and result in a permanent criminal record.
This means protecting your rights by keeping on top of any scheduled hearing, motion, conference, or other legal matter and having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side to answer questions about application deadline filings, family law matters, or exploring your legal options. Also, courts aren’t eager to create an additional backlog of divorce and family law cases either. Sometimes, alternative methods of resolving disputes such as mediation or arbitration may be more effective and economically sound alternatives to facilitate settlements agreeable to all parties.
No matter the kind of family law issue, criminal case, real estate transaction, or municipal court summons, Bronzino Law Firm, LLC is ready to begin helping you today. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have provided our clients with the same level of quality legal services and representation as always, targeted to their needs. Conveniently located in Brick and Sea Girt, New Jersey, we know how stressful these situations can be and are dedicated to providing highly attentive, effective, and knowledgeable legal counsel to each of our clients. With our honest, communicative, and dedicated approach to handling any legal issue, we can find solutions to and overcome even the most difficult issues.
Have You Missed a Court Date? Are You Wondering What To Do?
Unexpected events happen, which may prevent someone from being able to make their court appearance. In one of our recent articles, “Consequences of Failing to Appear in Court or Respond to a Court Summons,” we discussed how if you or someone you love in New Jersey missed a court date for a traffic violation or a criminal offense or needs guidance on resolving a license suspension, arrest warrant, or an outstanding case, you must consult an experienced attorney who can best present your unique circumstances and explains your missed court appearance. Thus, possibly minimizing or avoiding any resulting penalties.
Open and honest communication with one´s legal counsel can provide context, prevent misunderstandings, arrest warrants, or time spent away from loved ones. Besides, a strong defense of the underlying charges can increase the chances of an acquittal or reduction to a lesser charge.
How Does Your Office Communicate With Clients During the Pandemic?
Since before the pandemic, The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, has been committed to safely and securely serving and communicating with clients. We understand and believe that each client is different, with unique needs and goals, and as such, unique strategies must be crafted for each case to settle them for our clients favorably.
We want to keep our employees, as well as our clients and potential clients, safe, so our new integrative approach of email, phone, video chat apps, and video conferencing options gives our clients the personal connection and quality service they have come to expect from us, combined with the comfort that modern technology and the internet provides.
Does Your Office Support Client In Remote or Virtual Court Proceedings?
As the digital transformation of virtual court proceedings has tried to meet the challenges the pandemic has placed on the judicial system, it has also exposed numerous social challenges and discrepancies between internet access and connectivity.
As lawyers, we are committed to eliminating any disparities, in the same way, we would in a physical court, by ensuring that if our clients are using technology remotely (i.e., via our office), they can still get justice. Just imagine how not having access to more modern means of internet connectivity (i.e., somewhat modern laptop or computer, high-speed internet) and the connection is lost or dropped or how lacking an environment conducive to properly hearing the proceedings or sufficient privacy to give testimony, could affect a client’s remote hearing case.
We work with our clients to ensure they can focus on protecting their rights and seeking justice by supportively guiding them through this “new normal” of a remote judicial process.
Contact Our Monmouth County Family Law Firm Today
At the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, our experienced attorneys provide our clients with the necessary support to negotiate with local courts, protect their rights, and ensure their and their family’s future so that they can move on to a place of calm and stability.
If you would like to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a member of our team today regarding a municipal court summons or any family law issue you may be facing, please fill out the online form or call our Brick or Sea Girt office at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your legal options.
Manipulation and Domestic Violence Attorney Advising Clients in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Domestic abuse is a prevailing issue across our communities, and as we are required to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence cases have significantly increased.
One doesn’t have to be physically injured to be the victim of domestic violence. There are many forms of domestic abuse, including physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual – the key all have in common that makes them the abuse is the manipulation of one partner by the other at their core.
- Cyber Harassment
- Criminal Restraint
- Sexual Assault
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- False imprisonment
- Criminal mischief
- Contempt of a restraining order
- Crimes involving risk of physical harm to those protected by the 1991 New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act
In addition to the more obvious forms of domestic violence like assault, as you can see, behavior that attempts to control, manipulate, or threaten are chargeable offenses under New Jersey law.
Subtle Control as Domestic Violence
But what does this look like in the home? Below are some subtle signs of domestic violence that create a culture of control inside a relationship, slowly stripping one’s power and eventually leading to mental, emotional, and even physical insecurity:
- Domestic abusers will use one central tactic to isolate you from loved ones and external relationships in your life, so they are your sole influence and the only voice in your head other than your own. When fewer perspectives are providing you information about what is occurring, you will be easier to control. If a spouse keeps you from working, offering you an allowance to keep you in the home, this is also intended to isolate you from the empowerment of income-generation and external influence and is a form of domestic abuse.
- Everyone wants to feel belonging. As such, an abuser will tell you and show you that you are not worthy of their love, separating you from your own self-love and self-loyalty. They will subtly or explicitly put you down, making you question yourself and tricking you into believing that you have to change to merit another’s love.
- Gaslighting is a subtle and dangerous form of mental abuse. One person uses manipulative tactics to convince the other person that they cannot trust themselves, making them completely controllable by their abuser. Some forms of gaslighting are lying, blame, projection, and insincere generosity. The use of these tactics drives a victim into self-doubt, a state at which they can be much more easily controlled.
- A partner who threatens revenge if you leave is engaging in abuse. These threats that create a sense of being trapped, whether emotionally or physically, are domestic violence.
- When one partner uses money to control the dynamics or actions within a relationship or withholds shared money in separate accounts, this is considered financial abuse.
Getting out of a manipulative relationship
If you feel you are in a subtly or overtly abusive relationship, you can take steps to get out.
- Spend time daily participating in self-development practices such as listening to self-help podcasts, practicing affirmations, meditating, or practicing yoga. An abuser will cut down your self-esteem to keep you on a tight leash and break this cycle of mental and emotional control; you must have another influence reminding you of your inherent worth.
Have a support network
- Open up to friends, family, or co-workers with whom you can confide about your unhappiness and concerns. Having a sense of being in a community outside of your relationship is essential for your safety and ultimate sovereignty.
Protect your money
- Privately open a separate bank account or begin saving money in a hidden place. Even if you are expected to hand over your earnings to your spouse, you must have some financial capital to support you in your transition. Look for ways to earn a small income if you don’t currently have a job while building your skills.
Contact a Domestic Violence hotline for advice and to develop a plan.
The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7 at 1-800-572-SAFE (1-800-572-7233).
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.
Seek the advice of a Wall Township Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, our family law attorneys serve clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all matters of domestic violence.
Our approach holds their safety at the center of our process, and we are equipped to inform and empower their right to a safe and protected living environment and a thriving, free life.
Brick and Sea Girt Attorneys Offer Virtual Consultations to Serve Clients
We leverage technology to meet the needs of our clients, by providing dynamic, client-focused representation in Family Law matters
As the world comes to terms with the spread of the coronavirus, countless New Jersey citizens asked to practice “social-distancing” and “shelter in place” are in dire need of legal services, and are finding it challenging to find experienced and flexible legal counsel able to meet their unique needs amid the growing pandemic. Attorneys prepared for what is in many ways a new legal landscape know that in this digital age, it’s possible to provide legal services in a safe and convenient way without compromising on quality.
At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, located in Brick, New Jersey, we believe legal services should be accessible at everyone’s fingertips and clients should be able to get the services of an attorney even without an initial physical meeting. We leverage technology to meet the needs of our clients, by providing dynamic, client-focused representation in Family Law matters (i.e., Alimony and Spousal Support, Child Support, Child Custody, Domestic Violence, Criminal Charges, and Municipal Court summons, Real-Estate ventures, and Wills, Trusts & Estates). We understand and believe that each client is different, with distinctive needs and goals, and as such, unique strategies must be crafted for each case in order to favorably settle them for our clients.
Our lawyers are prepared to protect your rights and are ready to arrange convenient, virtual meetings via Skype, WhatsApp video, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangout, Clio Connect or Legaler to discuss how we can best support you and meet your legal needs.
How Do I Schedule a Virtual Legal Consultation with a Bronzino Law Firm Attorney?
From the comfort of your home or office and with the convenience of your smartphone, laptop or tablet, you can arrange to speak with a lawyer from The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, to answer your legal questions or issues. If you would like to speak with an attorney about your case in a free and confidential consultation today, you can:
1) Contact us online or
2) Call our Brick or Sea Girt offices at (732) 812-3102 or
To schedule a call and free 20-minute virtual consultation/meet up to discuss your family law needs. During the consultation feel free to ask questions, as we will discuss the best plan to protect your rights and future going forward.
We believe in keeping our clients informed and involved in the legal process and are prepared to use various technologies in order to do so. By having up-to-date and detailed information about your case, you can make the best possible decisions for your family’s future.
CONTACT A BRICK, NJ FAMILY LAW LAWYER
Serving Families across Monmouth County and Ocean County towns including Neptune, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Brick, Asbury Park, Wall, and more
Across all areas of Family Law, our lawyers can answer your questions today. Our attention to detail and priority to the attorney-client relationship often leads to outcomes that are both beneficial and personalized to the individual needs and concerns of our clients and their families. Our experienced attorneys work to resolve legal conflicts outside of the courtroom when possible, but will never hesitate to aggressively litigate and defend our clients’ legal rights when necessary.
Call our Brick or Sea Girt Bronzino Law, LLC office at (732) 812-3102 for a free and confidential virtual consultation today to discuss your unique needs, concerns, or situation when it comes to any kind of family law matter.
Littering vs Illegal Dumping Laws in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
While the majority of New Jersey citizens know this and are on board, the state still faces some irritating examples of illegal dumping.
Everyone knows that it takes a collective effort to keep a community clean and safe. Illegal dumping is, by definition, the inappropriate disposal of waste, which is illegal in addition to the fact that it disrupts the look and feel of its surroundings. Generally, someone illegally dumps their trash when they are looking to either sidestep the expense of city waste disposal, or they do not want to be bothered by its schedules.
What is the difference between illegal dumping and littering?
New Jersey differentiates between what is considered illegal dumping and what is considered littering, a different offense with a different consequence.
Illegal dumping is the improper disposal of large amounts of waste. This waste could include basic household waste, biohazardous medical waste, non-recyclable electronic waste, and even such large scraps as mechanical or automobile parts. Usually, culprits offload their large quantities of waste in areas in which it won’t be easily found, such as woods or wetlands. New Jersey does, however, know areas in which illegal dumping sites exist right in the middle of the city.
As is the case in most states, littering is different from illegal dumping in its quantity. Illegal dumping is the improper disposal of large quantities of waste, while littering is the improper disposal of small quantities.
What are the effects and penalties of illegal dumping?
The effects of illegal dumping are far-reaching and impact our communities and wildlife in subtle ways. In addition to creating an eyesore that makes a negative emotional impression on our citizens, it also puts wildlife at risk, especially when the dumps are in tall grass, and rapidly moving animals do not see it until they are right upon it.
Additionally, because New Jersey funds must go to clean up the waste, valuable taxpayer dollars are not going to necessary efforts such as roadways and social health initiatives.
In addition to causing adverse effects on the community, someone convicted of illegal dumping faces steep penalties under New Jersey law. State and local law enforcement, as well as representatives of the New Jersey State Park System and its conservation officers, are directed to cite and enforce penalties to the maximum extent of the law.
The minimum fine for illegal dumping in New Jersey is $2,500, and those convicted may be charged up to $50,000 in fine. Additionally, perpetrators may lose their driver’s license and road privileges for a set period of time and even forfeit their vehicles.
What are the penalties for littering?
Penalties for littering are much less harsh, though they do not go without consequence. According to New Jersey law, “a person who throws, drops, discards, or otherwise places any litter of any nature upon public or private property other than in a litter receptacle commits a petty disorderly person’s offense” and is subject to up to a $500 fine. Minimum fines for littering are $100 in the state.
While generally speaking the fine is the extent of the penalty for littering, the perpetrator may also have to complete community service. If a person is convicted of littering twice within a span of six months, their fine increases to between $250 and $1,000 for the offense; and depending on the conditions of the offense may even be subject to up to 60 days in jail.
New Efforts to Eradicate Illegal Dumping
In a new effort to keep the state clean and its citizens in alignment with the law, New Jersey has enacted new measures to catch perpetrators. Many concealed wildlife cameras are being used to catch perpetrators, and law enforcement is cracking down on offenders, while the court system penalizes them to the full extent of the law. While these measures are in place to catch as many offenders as possible, it is still impossible for law enforcement to fully eradicate illegal dumping. As such, New Jersey calls on its public to support the effort, offering sites such as www.stopdumping.nj.gov, which shows photos of perpetrators and asks the public to identify those photographed.
Experienced Attorney by Your Side
At The Law Office of Peter J. Bronzino, our defense attorneys are experienced in supporting our clients across Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey when they have been charged with illegal dumping.
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.
Sobriety Checkpoint DUI Charges Attorney in Brick and Sea Girt NJ
Serving Clients Charged at a DUI Checkpoint in Point Pleasant, Toms River, Spring Lake, Wall, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties
Recently there have been many questions around the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints in New Jersey. Be that as it may, they are a tool currently being used by law enforcement in order to reduce injuries and deaths that occur on our roads caused by drivers who are under the influence. The truth for most drivers is that facing sobriety checkpoints can be unnerving, even when you haven’t had a drop to drink. Knowing the best way to handle a sobriety checkpoint can help you protect your rights and your future.
Studies conducted by the American Beverage Institute have shown the practice of setting up sobriety checkpoints has been a useful tool to discourage drunk driving. Put simply, a sobriety checkpoint is police traffic stops where officers are set up on a roadway to stop vehicles randomly to check for drug or alcohol-impaired drivers. Frequently these checkpoints are set up during times when it is statistically shown that driving under the influence commonly occurs such as on holidays or late on weekend nights.
Sobriety Checkpoints at the Jersey Shore – Overview
At a sobriety checkpoint, police stop and interview each car as it comes down the road. Often they use traffic cones or other portable reflective signs in order to indicate that traffic must stop. Drivers are usually asked to lower their windows and produce their driver’s licenses, proof of insurance as well as their vehicle registration. The officer will then proceed to ask a series of questions to evaluate your current state of sobriety.
The officer at that point conducts a battery of initial sobriety tests. Should an officer suspect that a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol due to the smell of alcohol, seeing open containers of alcohol or slurred speech, further investigation may ensue. These tests can include physical coordination tests as well as mental coherency tests.
If the driver fails the above-mentioned tests, the officer may ask the driver to perform a breathalyzer test. It is important to know that, by law, police officers may not subject drivers to undergo these sobriety tests unless there is valid suspicion of alcohol or drug impairment. The implied consent law states that drivers using New Jersey roads are required to submit to breath, blood and urine testing if a police officer has probable cause to believe they are intoxicated. You do have the right to refuse, but there are consequences for doing so. New Jersey law N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4(a) outlines those consequences clearly.
What are the signs of DUI that Police Look for at a Sobriety Checkpoint?
There are many physical signs of intoxication that police are trained to spot. These include:
- Blurry or bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Dilated pupils
- The inability to speak in complete sentences
- An odor of alcohol or drugs emanating from the car or the driver
- Open alcohol containers or drug paraphernalia in the car
- Inappropriate or suspicious behavior
What are your rights and responsibilities at a sobriety checkpoint?
Contrary to a great deal of information on the internet, both Federal laws and New Jersey laws permit sobriety checkpoints. However, law enforcement officers must follow designated protocols.
Checkpoints must be scheduled, visible, and the public must be notified
Checkpoints cannot be set up randomly or simple for the purpose of stopping certain individuals. Supervisors must authorize the planning and conduct of the checkpoint ahead of time. That means police officers are not allowed to set up a sobriety check randomly at will to surprise the public. Checkpoints must be very visible and the public must be given notice. It has been shown that when people know ahead of time that officers will be out conducting sobriety checkpoints, they are more conscientious about refraining from driving under the influence.
You are not required to answer all questions or submit to search of your vehicle
Because New Jersey and Federal law makes these checkpoints legal, most people assume they have no choice but to answer all questions and participate in all tests at a sobriety checkpoint. This is simply not the case. You are required by law to provide the appropriate documentation when requested, including your vital information. However, you don’t have to answer other questions. Furthermore, you are well within your rights to refuse to allow officers to inspect your vehicle.
Other rights afforded to motorist at sobriety checkpoints include:
- The right to have your lawyer present before answering any questions
- Miranda rights if police arrest you
- A reasonable opportunity to secure property if taken into custody
- The right to asserting your desire to leave if you are not under arrest
Failure to Follow Checkpoint Laws Could Get the Case Thrown Out
It is important to remember that the laws that govern sobriety checkpoints are not only for the motorist but for police as well. If the police do not follow the law and you are arrested a judge could throw the charges out in court.
For example, when performing physical field sobriety tests it must take place on a level, well-paved stretch of pavement in order to ensure that uneven surfaces do not negatively impact the outcome. Furthermore, law enforcement officers must calibrate breathalyzer machines to exact specifications. The officer who performs the breath test must also be certified to do so. Breathalyzer machines that haven’t been properly maintained and calibrated have been known to give a false-positive reading.
If you or someone you know has been arrested at a field sobriety checkpoint it is critical to contact and consult an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a Brick and Sea Girt NJ DUI and Sobriety Checkpoint Defense Lawyer Today
Being charged with DUI is no small matter. At Bronzino Law Firm, our legal team is experienced in defending the rights of our clients arrested at sobriety checkpoints for DUI across Point Pleasant, Toms River, Spring Lake, Wall, and Ocean and Monmouth Counties.
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 for a free and confidential consultation; please fill out the online form, or give us a call at our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.; we look forward to protecting your legal rights.
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.
DUI Lawyer Brick, NJ: Impact of Arrest and Conviction on Mental Health
Serving Clients in towns across Monmouth and Ocean Counties including our Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Wall, and Spring Lake office locations.
If you or a loved one are arrested for a DUI/DWI you may not only face court charges, but your mental health may suffer from the effects of the stigma that surrounds driving under the influence. Though some states may differentiate between driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) (i.e., impaired driving while high on drugs or prescription medication), New Jersey does not. Drivers are charged under NJ Rev Stat § 39:4-50 and face the associated penalties regardless of what was causing the impairment. For an innocent person, the uncertainty can be nerve-wracking. Because you can face fines, jail time, increased insurance premiums, electronic monitoring/house arrest, or an IID, being charged with a DUI/DWI in the State of New Jersey can be life-shattering.
If you´re lucky, a Pre-trial Intervention Program (PTI) may be possible. But the stigma of a criminal conviction as part of your permanent record can make future job searches and continuing your education more challenging. If you provide for yourself or your family or want to continue on the positive life path you´re on, you should consider talking to an experienced DUI/DWI attorney, to try and fight your conviction.
The Social Consequences of a DUI/DWI Arrest or Conviction in Brick, NJ
It’s not illegal for adults to drive after drinking alcoholic beverages. The crime of drunk driving occurs only when the person’s blood-alcohol level has exceeded the current numerical standard (0.08%) or when the person has demonstrated bad driving that can be causally connected to impairment due to a high blood-alcohol level. Drivers may blame themselves, because they had something to drink, or were unaware that their prescription medicine for PTSD, stress or depression (i.e., or a Schedule II or III controlled substance) could have a negative interaction with something they ate or drank. Either way, they may not have thought that what they consumed was enough to impair their judgment.
It’s important to remember that symptoms or effects of alcohol are different for each person and these effects can appear suddenly or a while later, depending on the person.
Distracted and reckless driving can be just as dangerous to life and property as an impaired driver, but due to the long and turbulent history of alcohol within our society, public opinion is different. Whether your DUI/DWI is posted on the social media feeds of friends, becomes the topic of local news or the regional crime blotter, people are often shamed by others who lack the facts of the situation, especially if a driver never exceeded the state alcohol limit. Attempting to explain the situation or have others consider how unreliable field sobriety tests are or breathalyzers can be, or even how as humans police officers can make mistakes too, is a waste of time.
Is There a Link Between Mental Health Issues and Repeat DUI/DWI Offenders?
A Havard Medical School study found that 45% of all repeat DUI/DWI offenders have a “major” mental health disorder, including PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, and stress disorder. Because there is still a great deal of social stigma and self-perceived shame attached to these disorders, it may be challenging to try to change negative perceptions, especially if your family, friends, or co-workers are unaware of your condition. Because mental health issues are often kept private, a sudden revelation to those closest to you may worsen how you cope with both and lead to additional self-destructive behavior, isolation, and internalized shame.
Many mental health professionals believe that by properly assessing the mental health of a DUI/DWI offender, law enforcement can choose the program best suited for treating that particular individual and reducing their chances of reoffending.
Do I have to Tell My Employer About My DUI/DUI Arrest in NJ?
A DUI/DWI arrest or charge is not the same as a conviction; which results from a finding or admission of guilt. If you have a company car or your company policy requires you to inform them of a DUI arrest, you should comply.
Under most circumstances, people generally prefer to keep the matter private while it is being resolved. If the arrest does not result in a conviction, then it could have minimal impact on your job. If you are applying for a position and you fail to disclose it, a resulting background check could reveal it or it could come to light after you’re hired, and may result in your immediate dismissal.
If you wish to discuss it, you want to express that it was poor judgment, that you learned from the experience and any therapy, treatment or classes that helped you.
How Can I Be Charged With a DUI in Sea Girt, NJ, When I Don’t Even Drink?
In New Jersey, any driver suspected of being under the influence of drugs can be charged with a DUI. Even if you’re taking doctor-prescribed medication, the police can charge you with a motor vehicle offense and subject you to the same penalties as if you were driving drunk or under the influence of an illegal substance. It’s not fair to charge someone following their doctor’s orders but it happens daily to numerous unsuspecting people. This is often best illustrated by adults or even young people who may be taking doctor-prescribed medication for epilepsy or ADHD, but are charged with a “baby DUI/DWI.” Drivers under the age of 21 with any amount of alcohol in their bloodstream or while under the influence, can be charged under NJ’s Zero Tolerance law.
Adults and young people may be embarrassed and afraid of the impact this may have on their partners or parents, or worry about their disappointment, anger or even being punished. If you are a partner or parent, your loved one charged with a DUI/DWI deserves the best legal representation for their criminal case and/or administrative license suspension hearing. Depending on the circumstances, it may be unjust for them to suffer through fines, the loss of driving privileges, probation, face jail time or other potentially life-altering charges.
Contact our Experienced Toms River DUI/DWI Defense Attorneys Today
At the Bronzino Law Firm, we understand the gravity that these charges carry and we are here to protect your rights and provide you with the experienced counsel that you need to navigate the legal system and mitigate the impact on your life. We take pride in serving the local community by offering highly personalized legal services in towns across Monmouth and Ocean Counties including our Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Wall, and Spring Lake office locations.
Hazing Law Attorneys Helping Ocean and Monmouth County Students
Serving Clients in towns including, Toms River, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Wall, Brick, Sea Girt, Manasquan, Neptune, Brielle, and more
Initiation rituals on sports teams and in fraternities have existed for many years. Unfortunately, in the recent past, the type and degree of these initiations have become dangerous, and many youths in New Jersey have lately been charged with hazing and even sexual assault as part of school or sports initiations. “Hazing” is defined as a process-based in tradition that is used by groups in order to express and maintain a hierarchy within the group. According to statistics gathered by psychologist Dr. Susan Lipkins, who specializes in campus violence like hazing, 91 percent of high school students are involved in groups, and 48 percent of them reported having been part of a hazing ritual.
Sayreville Hazing Scandal 2014 Middlesex County, NJ
One of the most widely known cases of hazing that involved violation occurred in 2014 in Sayreville, New Jersey, in Middlesex County. The case, which received national attention, brought awareness to the underbelly of many high school and college sports teams in New Jersey and across the nation: hazing culture. In the case of the Sayreville sexual assault and hazing conviction, the school district responded by canceling the high school’s football season; furthermore, Penn State withdrew its scholarship offer from one of the team’s star players named in the case.
Statistics of Hazing in Our School Systems
As well-known as was this case, it is by no means the first time in which hazing violations and sexual assault in sports have been faced, and its presence is a commonality. Dr. Lipkins reports that over 250,000 college students nationwide have noted experiencing some sort of hazing in order to join a sports team. This goes far back in New Jersey: in the 1980s, Bergen County, NJ, university students on the school’s football team were charged with forcing a team member to engage in a sexual act while others watched. In 2007, a freshman recruit to a fraternity at Rider University died from alcohol poisoning as a result of a hazing ritual. The fraternity members involved were charged with both hazing and serving alcohol to underage students. While the numbers of students involved in drinking in college has declined since 1980, down 36 percent from 44 percent of students to 28 percent of students, according to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, the cases of abuse of power positions involving alcohol or not, such as hazing rituals, have continued to be a presence.
New Jersey’s Anti-Hazing Law
Due to the prevalence of hazing in New Jersey, in 1980 the state became one of the first to implement an anti-hazing law. The law, NJ Revised Statute Section 2C:40-3, states that 1) a person can be charged with the disorderly persons offense of hazing if, in connection with the initiation of members into a group, they knowingly facilitate conduct that places another in physical danger; and 2) a person can be charged with a fourth-degree crime of aggravated hazing if, in knowingly facilitating conduct that places another in danger, the result is, in fact, serious physical injury of the other person.
Disorderly Persons vs Aggravated Fourth Degree Charges for Acts of Hazing
As noted, what distinguishes a disorderly persons charge from an aggravated fourth-degree charge for hazing is the presence or lack of actual bodily injury. Under NJ Revised Statute Section 2C:40-3, acts of hazing could include sexual assault, physical assault, forced consumption of drugs or alcohol, or other dangerous acts. One can imagine that “dangerous acts” is up for legal interpretation and requires the expertise of an experienced attorney to properly navigate the terrain and ensure a just outcome. It should be noted that defense against a hazing charge cannot be that the victim provided consent.
Retain a Toms River Municipal Court Attorney Today
If found guilty of a disorderly persons hazing charge, handled at the municipal court level, the sentence may include an intervention program; usually, jail time is not given for this low-level charge for first-time offenders. Sentences for aggravated hazing, on the other hand, can involve up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $10,000.
Peter J. Bronzino is experienced in representing youth across Toms River, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Wall, Brick, Sea Girt, Manasquan, and surrounding areas in all hazing and assault charges, from lower-level disorderly persons cases to aggravated hazing. To speak with our firm today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your child’s hazing case, please Call (732) 812-3102 to schedule your consultation or fill out our online contact form.