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“Thanks Tara for always believing in me and making me feel like I was your only client. You made the impossible possible. Forever grateful.”

- Gabriel V.

Articles Posted in Superior Court

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Prescription drug misuse is on the rise for juveniles in Monmouth County and the second most commonly abused category of drugs, behind marijuana. For juveniles, prescription drugs are more common than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. These drugs are extremely addictive and include painkillers such as OxyContin or Vicodin, and tranquilizers like Xanax or Valium.

If a juvenile is arrested for possession of these drugs, he or she will have to appear before a Superior Court Judge in the county of residence. The local municipality where the juvenile was arrested will refer the matter to the Prosecutor’s Office. For example, if a juvenile was arrested in Middletown, the matter will be referred to Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

It is imperative that an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney handles the matter to avoid any type of long-term hardship to the juvenile. It is often the case that the family is concerned more with the drug misuse and the criminal matter takes a second seat. However, there are ways that the drug treatment can be incorporated into the juvenile matter so that the child benefits from the treatment.

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The fourth of July weekend brings many people to the jersey shore area and with the celebratory weekend, there is an increase in arrests for crimes related to Fireworks. Possession of Fireworks are illegal in the state of New Jersey notwithstanding the fact that they are very accessible to buy just over the state lines in Pennsylvania. The crime of Possession of fireworks is considered a disorderly persons offense which is punishable up to six months in jail. Possession of fireworks with the intent to sell is a fourth-degree offense with a maximum penalty of 18 months State Prison and fines up to $10,000. The following are considered fireworks: firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles and sparklers.

A disorderly persons offense is heard in the municipal court of the town or municipality where the arrest occurred. A fourth degree crime will likely be heard in the Superior Court of the county where the incident occurred.

Often times juveniles are arrested for possession of fireworks. Juvenile matters are heard in the family division of the Superior Court, and not the municipal courts. All juvenile matters are brought before the family division. It is important to avoid a criminal record in these type of situations so that there are not long term effects for immature acts.

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I have represented numerous juveniles who have been arrested in throughout Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties. It is essential that the attorney representing the juvenile is familiar with how the juvenile system work as well as how to handle the legal issues that arise in criminal matters.

These matters are heard in the Superior Courts within the Family Division. Many juveniles and often times their parents are surprised that the matter is going to be heard in a Superior Court instead of a Municipal Court. The matter is assigned to a family court Judge who deals with juvenile matters and is thus familiar with juvenile matters. If this is the juvenile’s first offense, and the matter is minor in nature, often times he or she might be eligible for a deferred disposition, meaning that the sentence will be withheld for a specific time period and if the juvenile remains arrest free and complies with the imposed conditions then the matter will be dismissed. I have been in many situations where the Judge and/or Prosecutor is not inclined to give the Juvenile a deferred disposition for a variety of reasons. For example, they feel that the matter is too serious in nature, or they feel that that deferred dispositions are only appropriate for the most minor offenses since they do not believe probation should be dealing with these juveniles. Basically, there is inconsistently throughout the State of how juvenile matters are handled. Many times I have fought Judges on this issue and I have had great success.

It is important to have an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer fighting on your side throughout this process.

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If you have been charged with a drug related offense and are facing jail time, entry into Drug Court may be utilized as an alternative to serving a jail sentence. When someone gets sentenced to Drug Court, he or she will be put on a five-year probationary term with several conditions imposed. For example, prior to entrance into drug court, a defendant must undergo a drug evaluation. If the evaluation recommends a long-term in-patient program, the defendant must complete at least a six-month in-patient program. After completion of the program, the person must report to Drug Court on a regular basis, where there is continual drug testing. The drug court team will monitor the participant and make sure that he or she is working and taking proactive steps towards recovery.

If a defendant relapses, leaves a program or violates drug court in any form, then he or she will be facing a violation of probation. The defendant will most likely be incarcerated following issuance of this violation warrant, and he or she could be terminated from the program and sentenced to jail for a time period to be determined by the Judge. There will be a violation hearing prior to any termination.

Drug Court is a very serious program that is only appropriate for certain defendants, depending on the facts and circumstances of the underlying criminal case.

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If your question is whether you are eligible for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or a Conditional Discharge it must first be determined what court your matter is going to be heard. If you are charged with a disorderly persons drug offense then your matter will be heard in municipal court. If you are charged with a felony offense then your matter will be heard in Superior Court.

Pre-Trial Intervention, commonly called PTI, is a diversionary program offered in the Superior Courts for those individuals with no criminal record. The process begins with an application to be filled out by the applicant and then probation interviews the applicant and reviews the application and renders a decision. Then, the Prosecutors Office will review the file and determine if they will accept the applicant. If the person is excepted into PTI, then he or she must appear before a Superior Court Judge in order to accept the conditions set forth. Usually, there are fines (for drug offenses there will be additional DEDR penalties) application costs, court costs and restitution if applicable. In addition, community service is imposed by the Judge and the hours can range from 50 to 300.

If you are appearing in Municipal Court and charged with a minor drug offense, then you could be eligible for a Conditional Discharge. When you receive aConditional Discharge you agree to be placed on probation for at least a year or longer, and if you complete the conditions imposed you will have the matter dismissed. This option is only available in the municipal courts and only applies to minor drug offenses.

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The Law Office of Tara Breslow was successful in winning another Motion for Removal from Megan’s Law this week. This means that for a prior offender, who has remained arrest free for the past 16 years, that he will no longer have to face the embarrassment and other related problems resulting from registering for Megan’s Law. There are a classification of sexual offenses which are eligible for removal from Megan’s Law. This is liberating for those who committed sexual offenses when they were young or possibly when they suffered from a substance abuse problem. Since the time of the incident, the person seeking the removal must have completely changed and no longer suffer from the issues that they once did when the offense was committed. Many people filing this motion are productive members of society who are good parents as well as having other positive life experiences.
An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney must file the motion after the person seeking removal is evaluated by a doctor and an evaluation is written. A very detailed brief should be written sighting reasons why the person should be removed from Megan’s Law. In addition, the lawyer is required to argue the Motion before a Superior Court Judge.

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In the State of New Jersey, criminal offenses are divided into 2 general categories- Indictable offenses and disorderly persons. Indictable offenses are graded starting at 1st degree (the most serious), second degree, third degree and fourth degree. Disorderly persons offenses are non-felony offenses, and there is a also petty disorderly persons which is less serious than a disorderly persons. Disorderly persons, as well as fourth degree felony offenses, are heard in the Municipal Courts, while the indictable offenses are heard in Superior Court. The following offenses are disorderly persons offenses, shoplifting, harassment, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The maximum fine for a DP or disorderly persons is $1,000. And the maximum jail sentence for a disorderly offenses is 6 months, and possibility of up to six month loss of license. There are ways an attorney can argue for no loss of license. If this is your first time convicted of a disorderly persons offense there is a presumption of non-incarceration. In addition, you may be eligible for a conditional discharge, which is a diversionary program designed to avoid an individual having a criminal record.

Also, a disorderly offense can be expunged within five years of date of conviction, or from last payment of any fines owed, whichever is latter. Even if your matter was resolved with a conditional discharge it is recommended that you get the matter expunged so that it will be completely erased from your record.

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If you have been scheduled to appear in Freehold, New Jersey for Pre-Indictment Court or PIP court it is extremely important that you be represented by counsel that understands how this specialized court operates and whether is it a wise decision to take an initial plea deal. One of the reasons that this court was created was to screen cases and limit the caseload that ultimately is brought before the Grand Jury. Thus, a defendant must be well aware of the risks that they take if they do no plea as well as the possible benefits that could occur. For example, if someone has been arrested for a felony offense in Keansburg, Hazlet, Long Branch, Red Bank, Holmdel, Aberdeen, Little Silver, Tinton Falls, Freehold, Oceanport, Eatontown or any other municipality in Monmouth County it is a possibility that if their matter could be scheduled for PIP court. In addition, many times the Prosecutor offers disorderly persons to a defendant as way to resolve the case. It is also a possibility, if the defendant is eligible, that they can apply to Pre-Trial Intervention (known as PTI) and enter a not guilty plea, and waiver their right to go the Grand Jury. These are not simple decisions and can have serious implications down the line so it is imperative that an experienced Monmouth County criminal defense lawyer represent you if you going to PIP court.

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