Criminal & DUI
Aggressive, effective criminal defense representation for people charged with indictable crimes and disorderly persons offenses, including DWI/DUI and related traffic offenses, drug crimes and juvenile offenses. As your criminal defense attorney, I will do everything possible to make sure that your rights are respected and safeguarded. Also, I understand that sometimes good people do bad things, or act in ways, that in retrospect, were not the proper course of action, aberrational and would never occur again. In those criminal cases, I understand that the focus must be to make the court understand this, so that the consequences are minimized and the client can go on to live a productive life. I have handled many criminal cases over the course of my career, and also, participated as a member of the Ciba-Geigy defense team in the 1980's.
Also, if you have a record because of a criminal offense and you have served your sentence, you may be eligible to expunge your record. A temporary lapse of judgment, or acting out of character on that one occasion, should not haunt you for the rest of your life and ruin employment opportunities, college admissions, financial aid, immigration status, or other opportunities. As a criminal defense attorney, my office represents people and guides them through the expungement process.
Of all the offenses heard in municipal court, the charge of DUI (also called DWI), perhaps, is the most devastating and merits its own special practice section.
From Maine to California and every state in between, the consequences of being convicted of DUI in the United States are harsh. New Jersey is no exception.
Judges are required to impose mandatory minimum sentences for anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated. Whether you are facing your first, second, third or even fourth DUI, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney.
The penalties for DUI/DWI (and refusal to take the breath test) in New Jersey are mandatory, but the minimum and the maximum penalties can depend on many factors. First, the judge will review your driving record to see if you have any prior DUI/DWI convictions. If this is the case, you can expect the penalties to be more severe. Jail time, fines, community service and probation are just some of the consequences you can expect to face, if you are convicted. The judge will also take into account the circumstances of your case to see if there are any aggravating factors. For instance, if you were transporting a minor child, speeding excessively, were in a school zone (even at night) or, had a blood alcohol content that was well over the legal limit of .08% BAC on the breath test, you can expect to face stricter penalties.
If this is your first DUI/DWI, don’t think that the judge will go easy on you just because you have no prior DUI/DWI convictions. Remember, New Jersey is trying to persuade you to not commit future DUI/DWI offenses, so there will be severe penalties. Jail time can be imposed as well as fines, driver’s license suspension (7-12 months), community service and more. The penalties become even more severe with each conviction. A third offense mandates over $1,000 in fines and penalty assessments, jail of 180 days, and suspension of your driving privileges for 10 years. (Yes, even convictions more than 10 years old or, from another state, count to determine if the charge constitutes a first, second, third or subsequent offense.)
When you speak to your DUI/DWI defense attorney, it is important to go over every single detail of your DUI arrest. As your attorney, I will review your case and search for any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. This may include calling upon experts to provide a report and testify or presenting other witnesses during trial.
Only with an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney, do you stand a chance of being acquitted of a DUI/DWI, or having the penalties minimized. For example, in some second offense cases, there are certain aspects of the law, which determine whether or not you receive a 3 month, 7 month or 2 year suspension of your driving privileges. In addition to avoiding consequences in court, you also could avoid increased Motor Vehicle Commission surcharges, cancelled insurance, increased life insurance rates and employment issues that come along with a DUI conviction. See the Blog for the penalties for DUI/DWI.
Traffic Offenses, Disordely Persons Offenses, Drugs & DUI
I help people with cases in New Jersey municipal courts. Municipal court matters involve offenses such as motor vehicle and traffic violations, DUI, marijuana charges, minor quasi-criminal offenses such as disorderly and petty disorderly persons offenses.
For many people, a municipal court violation may be their first and only contact with the judicial system. Other people may have several traffic violations and be at risk of losing their drivers license - even if the alleged offense did not involve driving!!
The consequences of a municipal court conviction can include incarceration, community service, fines, restitution, probation, and revocation of driving privileges. These can create a major disruption in a person's life, and can continue to affect a person's livelihood, driving privileges, insurance rates long after the fines and penalties are paid.
Many traffic offenses carry severe penalties, such as DUI, Driving While License Suspended, Driving Without Insurance, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident. With knowledge and representation of a criminal defense attorney, there are defenses to each of these charges that can be advanced, which can change the result from a conviction to an acquittal or plea bargain to a lesser offense. Some traffic offenses, while not as serious, can result in fines, penalty assessments, license suspension, the assessment of points by the MVC and increased insurance premiums. Again, with the knowledge and representation of a criminal defense lawyer, most times, the effects of these offenses may be minimized.
New Jersey statutes, unlike other States, breaks down criminal offenses into "Indictable Crimes" and "Disorderly Persons Offenses." Most other States refer to such criminal offenses as "Felonies" and "Misdemeanors". In New Jersey, there are two types of Disorderly Persons Offenses. The first level of Disorderly Persons Offense is merely called a "Disorderly Persons Offense" or a "DP". The second level of Disorderly Persons Offense is Called a "Petty Disorderly Persons Offense" or a "Petty DP".
A Disorderly Persons Offense is punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. A Petty Disorderly Persons Offense is punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment and a $500 fine. Regardless of what you choose to call it, all these offenses is are serious matters. Also, both carry fines, penalty assessments and community service in some instances. And, even though not strictly "criminal" under New Jersey law, a conviction will appear on your Criminal Case History.
Some of the quasi-criminal charges that are handled in municipal court include:
* Simple Assault
* Minor Drug Charges (e.g. certain drug possession charges - most commonly marijuana)
If you are facing criminal charges in municipal court and need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please know that I am committed to protecting the rights of his clients charged with violations heard in municipal court, by fighting and defending the charges and minimizing any fines or other penalties. I take municipal court violations seriously and understand the effects the consequences can have on a person's life. These types of charges can create a major disruption in a person's life, and can continue to affect a person's livelihood, driving privileges, insurance rates and employment opportunities long after the fines and penalties are paid.
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