Our office recently defended a client who had been placed on probation for conspiracy to distribute drugs and possession of an assault weapon under 2C:39-9g but then violated his probation by moving out of state and not reporting (referred to as absconding) for several years. His whereabouts were officially unknown for approximately twelve (12) years while he was on the run as a fugitive. However, during this time he had gotten married, had children, and secured a good job in Florida. Recently he was arrested in Florida after being pulled over for speeding and it came up in the system that he had a violation for probation in New Jersey from years earlier. Based on this the Florida police took him into custody for several weeks until he could be extradited back up to New Jersey to address his old charges.
We were able to speak with the County Prosecutor and probation officer assigned to the case and put forth a compelling argument that our client had turned his life around now and that this amounted to a substantial change of circumstances from the original charges. Moreover, we were able to convince the court that any further incarceration would only act as a giant set back and create a hardship for our client and his family instead of serving to help. Based on these persuasive arguments, the prosecutor and probation officer agreed to dismiss the case against our client and release him from jail that day so he could be reunited with his family and return to Florida.
State v. W.W. decided October 21, 2016
Our attorneys recently defended a client who was charged with a 2nd degree Robbery and facing 5 – 10 years in state prison with a presumption of incarceration that would be subject to N.E.R.A. (serve 85% of sentence without parole). Because it was a 2nd degree crime, this meant that if he was convicted, it was assumed that he would have to go to state prison for a minimum of 5 years and serve approximately 4 years and 3 months before even being eligible for release on parole.
The robbery charges originated from allegations that our client and other defendants had shoplifted from a convenience and during their flight from the crime scene, they had assaulted store employees who had tried to stop them. The combination of the theft and the subsequent assault, changed it from an ordinary shoplifting to a strong armed robbery. The case was first sent to the Superior Court and after being reviewed by the County Prosecutor’s Office, the case was eventually downgraded and remanded to municipal court. Once in municipal court we challenged the proof issues against our client and maintained a plea of “not guilty” for our client. After no resolution could be reached, the case was eventually set for trial. On the day of trial the State was unable to meet their burden of proof that our client was in fact involved in the robbery or the original shoplifting and upon motion by the State, the charges against our client were dismissed in their entirety.
State v. ALS
Unlawful Possession of Handgun Results in PTI
Our office recently defended a client who had been arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon under 2C:39-5B, which is a second degree crime and high capacity magazines under 2C:39-3, which is a fourth degree crime. Once arrested the defendant was brought straight to the Hudson County Jail and held pending his detention hearing. It was at this time that the family contact our office for help. We were immediately able to get the Prosecutor’s Office to withdraw their detention motion and the client was released and allowed to return home pending the outcome of the case. But before we get any further lets first discuss the particular facts of this case.
The Case Facts & Background
The whole thing started after State Police pulled over a Hummer on the New Jersey Turnpike ramp outside of Bayonne. They had seen the vehicle failing to maintain its lane of travel and initiated the stop probably suspecting to find a drunk driver. However, upon approaching the car they soon realized that our client had traveled from his home state of Virginia to make a delivery at a nearby restaurant and had gotten lost in the process. Normally they would have just let him go but the trooper also noticed an empty handgun holster on the underside of the dashboard below the steering wheel. After being questioned, our client admitted there was a firearm in the truck and the police had him step out slowly with his hands up. To make matters worse, the police quickly found the handgun stuffed in between the drivers seat and the center console with the handle sticking up. The gun they found turned out to be a massive handgun known as a “Desert Eagle” that was fully loaded with hollow points. Our client tried to explain to the police that he legally owned the gun had a concealed carry permit for the gun out of Virginia but unfortunately the police were not interested.
How We Did It
Now flash forward to the case in court. The unlawful possession of the weapon falls under the Graves Act in New Jersey which carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of 42 months (3 1/2 years) in state prison. That means, if convicted, you have to serve a mandatory 3 1/2 years before you can be considered for parole on an overall sentence that could range from 5 – 10 years. That being said, the prosecutor’s office was willing to take some of these mitigating facts into consideration (like that he is a legal gun owner) and presented us with an offer at pre-indictment court which would effectively waive the application of the Graves Act but they still wanted 3 years in state prison with 1 year parole ineligibility. We flatly turned down this offer because, in our opinion, this defendant should not face any jail time or even a conviction for what amounted to a lawful citizen making an unknowing mistake. Once the case was indicted, we appeared for arraignment and advised the judge we would be filing a formal motion and application for a Graves Act waiver seeking admission into Pre-Trial Intervention. Over the next several months our office worked hand in hand with the prosecutor’s office and the court in obtaining information based on our client’s background and legal gun ownership to convince the State that our client was the exception to the rule and that he should not only be granted a Grave Act waiver but that he should be thereafter placed into PTI so the case would be dismissed against him upon successful completion.
The Final Result
At the end of the day our client was not only able to (1) avoid incarceration and (2) not pay any fines but he also (3) avoided a criminal record so he (4) can still own firearms.
Our law firm recently defended a client who had been charged with a strew of very serious charges including second degree explosives, third degree burglary, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. The most serious charge, a second degree crime carried a presumption of state prison incarceration of 5 – 10 years, which means you are almost certain to go to prison. To make matters worse, our client was currently serving a term of probation for a charge that had recently been resolved only months earlier. Based on the circumstances, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office filed for a mandatory detention which means that our client could be detained for several months leading up to an eventual trial.
The case arose after our client and some friends had allegedly been seen going into an abandoned building and neighboring residents heard loud explosions that had supposedly broken windows from the blast. By the time police responded, the defendants had already made their getaway but not before neighbors had reported a description of the individuals and the car they were driving. Based on the loud explosion, police notified Homeland Security, the FBI, and police had the bomb squad sweep the building and arson investigators clear the scene. A city-wide alert went out for the vehicle that had been seen leaving the area and within a few hours our client and the rest of the defendants were stopped by police after being spotted near the vehicle. Prior to our representation, federal authorities were called in to question the defendants to make sure they were not members of ISIS or another terrorist organization.
Once our attorneys got involved and had a chance to review the evidence, it became clear to us that these allegations were nothing more than a few young men who had exercised some bad judgement by lighting off fireworks that a friend had brought back from a recent trip out-of-state. After going back and forth with the prosecutor’s office for several days while they concluded their official investigation into the matter, we were able to secure a deal that released our client after being detained for more than a week in jail and dismissed all the felony charges against him. In the end, our client only plead guilty to a disorderly persons offense of trespassing for entering into the abandoned building without permission. The judge only imposed a few hundred in fines and a suspended term of probation.
State v. A.G. August 22, 2017
Our office recently defended a client who had been charged with several serious drug distribution charges including second degree distribution of marijuana within 500 ft of public park, third degree marijuana distribution within a school zone, third degree marijuana distribution, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Our client was pulled over because the car he was driving was allegedly involved in a crime earlier in the day. Upon stopping our client, police searched his car because they said they smelled marijuana in the vehicle which gave them probable cause. A search of his car ended up turning up a substantial amount of marijuana in the trunk and he was arrested.
After his arrest, our client and his father came into our office and explained the situation to one our New Jersey drug defense attorneys who explained how we can help. To make matters worse, aside from facing mandatory state prison for the second degree charge, we quickly learned that our client was not a U.S. citizen and any conviction could lead to serious immigration consequences or possible deportation. So our criminal defense lawyers challenged the state’s case against our client and eventually negotiated that the charges be downgraded from second degree to a disorderly persons offense of simple possession of marijuana. From there we were able to secure a conditional discharge that did not result in a guilty plea or admission of guilt so that it would not affect his immigration status. This means that at the end of the six months, the charges will be dismissed in their entirety.
State v. A.G. decided June 14, 2017
Our criminal defense attorneys recently defended a client who had been charged and arrested for distributing the popular party drug known as “Molly”. Officers arrested our client and a co-defendant after allegedly witnessing drug sales being conducted. Our client was a college student with no prior record but he was charged with a second degree crime and was facing 5 – 10 years in state prison that carries a presumption of imprisonment even as a first time offender. To make matters worse, he was an out-of-state resident of Philadelphia, and was immediately taken into custody and incarcerated in the County Jail on a $50,000 bail with no 10% option (cash or bond only). Once retained, we immediately contacted the County Superior Court and had a Bail Reduction Hearing scheduled. During that hearing, we were able to offer compelling factors to the Superior Court Judge presiding over the case and were successful in getting the bail reduced so our client’s family could bail him out.
In the following months, we received discovery from the court and began challenging the proof issues that the State was relying on to prosecute our client. It became evident that the police improperly tested the alleged “molly” being sold by our clients, and that they could not prove that the substance was, in fact, a narcotic. At that point, the County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to downgrade the 2nd degree distribution charges to a disorderly persons offense and sent the case back down to municipal court. This was already a tremendous victory for our client because he no longer faced the very real possibility of mandatory prison incarceration and a felony record. However, once in municipal court we continued to press the State on their weaknesses in the case and we were ultimately able to the resolve the matter when we got the municipal prosecutor to a downgrade the drug charge to a municipal ordinance violation. Municipal ordinances to do not carry any record and are typically only punishable by a fine. Our client was able to walk out of court after only paying a small fine and with no criminal record after he once faced mandatory state prison incarceration of up to 10 years. Needless to say, it was a life changing event for him. If you or your loved one has been charged or arrested for drug distribution in New Jersey, contact our office today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation to see how our criminal attorneys may be able to help you.
State v. I.I.
Our Hudson County criminal attorneys recently defended a client was charged with second degree Aggravated Assault, third degree Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes, and fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. In particular, the second degree crime was punishable by 5 – 10 years in state prison with a presumption of incarceration if found guilty. Moreover, the crime would fall under NERA (No Early Release Act) which means that a defendant would have to serve 85% of the time before being eligible for parole.
Our client was a professional and could not afford to receive a criminal record and obviously not get sentenced to incarceration. So we first appeared in Hudson County Superior Court and were able to convince the County Prosecutor’s Office to downgrade the charge to disorderly persons offense of Simple Assault and send it back down to Jersey City Municipal Court. From there we appeared multiple times with our client and presented various defenses to the prosecutor and Court in furtherance of a dismissal but the Judge was hesitant to take action because the charges had been so serious. After months of back and forth were able to successfully make a motion for a dismissal of the charges altogether.
State v. P.T. decided February 4, 2016
2nd Eluding & Aggravated Assault Receives Conditional Dismissal
Our criminal defense attorneys recently represented a young college student athlete who had been charged with a second degree aggravated assault on a police officer under 2C:12-1b(5)(a) and second degree eluding under 2C:29-2b each carrying a presumption of state prison of 5 – 10 years. Our client was on a scholarship to play sports for the college and had never been in trouble before but at the time we got involved in his case, his life was literally hanging in the balance depending on if he got convicted of these charges or not. We first heard about the circumstances of his case after getting a call from his frantic mother who had sent her son up to New Jersey to attend college and was beside herself with what had happened to her son.
The Facts We Were Working With
The circumstances of the case were that on the day in question, our client had been waiting in traffic to enter onto the highway. Police were directing traffic on a very congested roadway that was not moving very fast. After some time our client saw an opportunity to enter onto the ramp to the highway even the police were still not letting anyone go, so he decided to enter onto the highway without their direction. He drove by the one individual directing traffic and then a uniformed police officer stepped out in front of his car to try and stop him and our client swerved and the police officer was alleged hit by his vehicle. Our client continued driving onto the ramp and on to the highway until eventually becoming stuck in traffic again and being pulled over by police.
How We Pulled It Off
Based on the alleged facts of the case it seemed that it was an honest mistake that had been blown way out of proportion and that our client had not even realized the officer was struck by the side mirror of the car. Knowing these facts and what laid in the balance for our client and his future, our criminal attorneys began defend and attack the state’s case against him. Initially, the charges were too serious on their face for the prosecutor’s office to consider a remand so the case was sent on the path to indictment. From there we began working with the prosecutor’s towards what we considered a just and equitable resolution for our client – something not involving a criminal conviction. Eventually we were able to get the county prosecutor’s office to agree to downgrade the second degree charge of eluding to a disorderly persons offense of disorderly conduct and dismiss the aggravated assault on the police officer. From there we were able to make an application and motion to court to have our client entered into the conditional dismissal program for a period of 12 months, at which time the case against him would be dismissed in its entirety up successful completion.
State v. K.C. decided July 28, 2017
Our criminal defense attorneys recently defended a juvenile client who had been charged and arrested for 1st degree Robbery. The State alleged the following facts; first that our client along with three other accomplices, including his brother, had confronted the victim in a park while walking home. Then the group of males pushed the victim to the ground and began assaulting him by punching him several times. Then one of the assailants pulled a knife and demanded the victim’s cell phone. The State further alleged, that before it could go any farther, bystanders came to the rescue of the victim and the four assailants fled on foot. The victim was escorted to police headquarters where he was able to identity two of the individuals involved and give descriptions of the other two. Based on the victim’s first hand identification, our client and his brother were both arrested and charged with 1st degree Robbery, 3rd degree Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes, and 4th Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.
The case originally started with custodial (incarceration) offers on the table. But we maintained our client’s “not guilty” plea and began attacking weaknesses in the State’s case against our client. Although the State had a firsthand identification by the victim witness, there was no knife ever found, none of the victim’s property was taken and our client did not make an incriminating statement. Using this information, we prepped the case for trial. On the last status conference before the trial, the State conceded to the deficiencies in their proofs and it was ultimately decided that our client would receive an adjourned disposition and plead guilty to a disorderly persons offense of Simple Assault and all other charges to be dismissed. The adjourned disposition meant that upon a successful completion of probation, the guilty plea would also be dismissed in its entirety, leaving our client with no criminal or juvenile record.
State v. V.C.
Our theft defense attorneys recently represented a client who had been arrested for committing a substantial theft against port authority and E-ZPass in excess of over $50,000. This extraordinary amount was accumulated over 5 years of never or very rarely paying tolls as our client commuted daily to and from New York City. Our client was pulled over by a police officer as he drove through the toll plaza because he recognized his car and license plate from earlier reports of unpaid tolls. Based on the allegations, he was charged with theft of services in New Jersey.
Anytime you are dealing with a large theft alleging tens of thousands of dollars, the stakes become very steep and the penalties can be extremely serious. However, in this case our client had actually allegedly stolen from the State of New Jersey by depriving them of thousands in tolls owed. This made the situation even more serious because prosecutors typically take a harder stance when the crime is against the government. To make matters more complicated, our client was a professional and was adamant that he could not get convicted of a felony or be sentenced to incarceration because he would lose his job. So we applied our client for Pre-Trial Intervention “PTI” and began working with the prosecutor during the review process to work out the particulars and challenge the actual amount of theft that they had alleged. In the end our client was able to get admitted into PTI without making any admission of wrong doing. Once the 12 month period of PTI is successfully completed the charges will be dismissed in their entirety. If you would like to learn more about how our Jersey City Theft Lawyers can help you, such as the example above, then contact our office today for a free consultation.
State v. T.D. decided on May 23, 2017
picture compliments of nj.com