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
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 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 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
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 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
Our New Jersey DWI atttorneys recently defended a client was charged with a second offense DWI and second offense Refusal to Submit where he was facing a 2 year suspension on each for a total of 4 years of drivers license suspension as well as 1 – 3 years of an interlock device for each.
Our client had gotten into an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike and state police soon arrived to investigate. Upon interacting with our client, they determined that there was probable cause to arrest for drunk driving. The troopers noted that he swayed while walking and had his feet wide apart for balance. As they spoke with him, the police noticed that there was a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, his speech was slurred and slow. Moreover, they noted that his eyes were bloodshot and droopy. Based on these observations, our client was placed under arrest and read his Miranda rights. Once back at the station, the client refused to take the breathalyzer, called the Alcotest which resulted in another charge.
As experienced Jersey City DWI lawyers we looked to challenge the evidence against our client. First we filed a motion to dismiss the Refusal charge based on the fact that the state trooper wrote the wrong statute for the charge. Next we challenged the State’s case by arguing that they could not prove the DWI beyond a reasonable doubt based on the officer’s observations alone because the police failed to conduct the proper field sobriety tests at the time of the arrest. In the end, we were successful on getting the entire case thrown out and our client avoided a four year suspension and thousands in fines.
State v. S.C. decided July 18, 2016 in Jersey City Municipal Court
Our Hudson County criminal lawyers recently represented a man who had been arrested by Kearny police for 3 counts of burglary and attempted burglary after he was caught trying to enter three different parked vehicles. According to the police report, the officer was on patrol when he noticed the defendant looking into windows of parked vehicles. He then observed him begin pull the front driver’s side handles of three cars in an attempt open them. At this point the police stopped the defendant and asked him if any of those vehicles belonged to him and he said “No”. At that point police immediately placed him under arrest for criminal attempt to commit burglary. Unfortunately, our client, just like many people, did not realize that entering another’s car without their permission with the purpose to commit a crime within is actually considered a burglary just like entering someone’s house for the same purpose.
After being retained and speaking with our client it became evident that this may be a situation where alcohol lead to bad judgement and not serious criminal activity. However, there was no mistaking that the criminal charges were serious as he faced 3 different 3rd degree indictable crimes each carrying 3 – 5 years in state prison, if convicted. Our client was a former military man with no prior record and so we felt very strongly that we could not let a nightmare scenario like that happen to him. So when we initially appeared in the Hudson County Superior Court for a CJP court date, our attorneys were able to speak with the assistant prosecutor and have the charges downgraded and remanded back down to municipal court, which was a huge win right off the bat. From there we continued to fight the case down in municipal court and challenged the state’s evidence whether they could actually prove the intent to commit a burglary even assuming the police actually saw what they think they saw. After some intense negotiations back and forth, the state eventually agreed to dismiss two of the counts outright and downgrade the third to a local town ordinance which did not result in a criminal conviction. Our client was extremely happy to walk out of court with his record in tact and to avoid any jail time. If you or your loved has been charged or arrested for a similar situation, an experienced Kearny burglary attorney may be able to help. Contact our office today for a free consultation where we can answer your questions and address your concerns.
State v. K.P. decided August 24, 2017
I was recently retained by a young professional who had been charged with a third degree aggravated assault and was also facing a final restraining order after having a bad night with his wife. Like many domestic violence incidents – my client took the position that the allegations had been blown way out of proportion by his wife and that the police had taken her side.
I explained to him that defending these cases would be a marathon and not a race. First, we had to appear in the Superior Court on the restraining order to determine whether a final restraining order was necessary or whether the judge would dismiss the temporary restraining order that had been placed into effect the night of the alleged incident. The plaintiff, my client’s wife, had hired an attorney to try an make sure she could obtain a final restraining order against him. After spending some time speaking back and forth with her attorney and highlighting their weaknesses of the case, the plaintiff and her attorney agreed to dismiss the restraining order against my client in lieu of a consent agreement between both of them. This was a huge win for my client because he was able to avoid admittance into the Domestic Violence Registry and a forfeiture of gun ownership.
However, we still had the toughest part of the case in front of us – the criminal 3rd degree aggravated assault. If convicted, he would most likely lose his corporate job and he could clearly be incarcerated for up to 5 years in state prison, especially since this wasn’t the first time he had been arrested for an assault related crime. In order to get out my client out of this mess we had to challenge the state’s case against him. The reason the charge had been upgraded to an aggravated assault in the first place instead of a less serious simple assault was because his wife had alleged she suffered partial paralysis as a result of being hit in the face. The victim’s credibility was severely called into question when it came to light that her paralysis was a pre-existing condition and had not been caused by my client. Based on this and the victim’s unwillingness to testify in regards to such, I was able to successfully convince the County Prosecutor to dismiss the charges outright against my client.
State v. G.A.
We recently defended a client who had been indicted for 3rd degree Assault by Auto under 2C:12-1(c)(2) where the State alleged that she had driven her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and as a result of the DWI, she got into an accident with another vehicle that resulted in serious bodily injury to another. The prosecutor had strong evidence against our client including blood alcohol results, admissions from our client, extensive medical records documenting the injuries to the victim, and even a forensic expert report regarding our client’s level of intoxication.
Our client was a professional with no prior record and she would most likely lose her job if she got convicted of a felony. In order to avoid a felony conviction, we applied our her for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), which is a program normally reserved for first time offenders that would allow for the charges to be dismissed upon successful completion. However, the County Prosecutor’s Office denied her admission into the program based on the nature of the offense since there is a strong public interest against stopping drunk drivers from injuring others. Our attorneys appealed the denial of the PTI but were ultimately unsuccessful after a Superior Court Judge denied the application. This left us back at the beginning, facing a third degree crime punishable by 3 – 5 years in state prison. Our attorneys began prepping the case for a trial and outlined weaknesses in the State’s case against our client. Ultimately, after months of back and forth we were able to avoid the inherent risks of a trial and secure a downgrade of the assault by auto from a third degree crime to a disorderly person offense (equivalent to a misdemeanor). This allowed our client to walk out of court and avoid a felony record and potential state prison incarceration. If you would like to learn how we may be able to help you or your loved with an assault by auto charge, contact our office today at (201) 793-8018 for a completely free consultation where you can speak with an experienced criminal attorney.
State v. J.P.