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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.
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When You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney For Belmar and Lake Como

Summertime, and the living is frenzied. Belmar is jumping, and spirits in Lake Como are high. Maybe a little too high, and that can lead to municipal or superior court, and that can lead to a need for representation – to keep the summer fun flowing.

During the summer, Belmar and Lake Como are two places along the Jersey Shore where many citizens get away from the hot inland turf and get loose near the sunny surf. Some people eat, drink and get a little too merry, and the local police are kept busy with arrests for underage drinking, fake identification, ordinance violations, simple and aggravated assault, criminal trespass, outstanding warrants and interference with business.

These violations range from disorderly persons to felony, and the courts get a little impatient with the endless line of party hooligans passing through – most of whom know better and are better, but let the summer heat, and substances get to them.

If your partying time along the Shore has been interrupted by arrest and charges, Belmar and Lake Como criminal defense attorney Tara Breslow-Testa is the first person you should talk to. Born, raised and educated (Rutgers) in New Jersey, Ms. Breslow-Testa understands that shore people can lose control at times, and she has many years experience dealing with aggressive prosecutors and annoyed judges – experience that can save you a great deal of time, money and long-term consequences when charged with summer crimes and misdemeanors: from possession of marijuana to bar fights.

To get back to your summer fun as soon as possible with minimal time, money and stress investment, contact Tara Breslow-Testa at (732) 784-2880



Of all the places to eat, drink, be merry and maybe get in trouble along the shore, Bar Anticipation – also known as Bar A – is the most (in)famous. The biggest bar along the Jersey Shore, Bar A is where “Summer Never Ends.” There is a lot of space indoors and outdoors, and nightly specials like Beat The Clock Tuesday, where beers start at 50 cents and go up a quarter an hour. The bouncers at Bar A are very strict and will deny entry to anyone who doesn’t have two current forms of picture ID and will arrest anyone with a fake identification.



Take a look at a typical police blotter for Belmar/Lake Como for the summer of 2018 and you’ll find arrests for use or possession with the intent to use controlled dangerous substances, possession of marijuana, disorderly conduct and use of force against law enforcement, driving while under the influence, refusal to submit to breath tests, reckless driving, careless driving, resisting arrest and obstruction and quite a few arrests for contempt on outstanding warrants.



Arrests for contempt on an outstanding warrant usually have to do with a failure to appear in court for a previous traffic citation or arrest. New Jersey Court Rules 7:8-9 list the remedies available to a citizen arrested for a failure to appear. The defendant arrested for contempt for an outstanding warrant will have to appear before a judge to explain the failure to appear and also resolve the original charge – whether a traffic ticket, disorderly conduct… A judge will hear the reasoning and add an additional fine to the original fines. However, a judge also has the power to forfeit the original bail and pay a higher bail or be jailed until the legal issues are resolved.

A judge cannot issue an arrest warrant until a defendant has missed two scheduled court dates. And the judge can also suspend driving privileges until they appear in court.

If a defendant has shown an irresponsible willingness to appear in court and resolve matters, an attorney might be necessary to placate an angry judge. Tara Breslow-Testa is a criminal defense attorney for Belmar and Lake Como who has a great deal of experience talking down angry judges, and coming to a resolution that causes the least stress for the defendant and the courts.



People drink. People party. People have differences of opinion. People fight – and whether or not the fighting is noble or just, fighting can lead to arrest and serious charges, fines, jail time and a permanent record.

The differences between simple and aggravated assault are both subtle and significant – but those differences can mean the difference between liberty and a lifetime of trouble: years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.



The 2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 2C:12-1 state that a person is guilty of “Simple assault” if he or she:

  1. Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
  2. Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
  3. Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.



Conviction of simple assault can result in a sentencing of up to six months in jail, community services, and/or a fine of up to $1,000, restitution, and probation. A conviction for simple assault can also result in the court ordering parole, anger management classes, probation, electronic monitoring, victim restitution and losing the right to own firearms.

Simple assault divides into two categories:

  • Typical Simple Assault – Disorderly Persons Offense: Up to six months in the county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000
  • Simple Assault Involving a Mutual Fight or Scuffle – Petty Disorderly Persons Offense: Up to 90 days in the county jail and a maximum fine of $500



Simple assault can be upgraded to aggravated assault based on a number of factors: Intent, recklessness, injury to victim, occupation of the victim and location of the offense. Aggravated assault is much more complicated than simple assault, has a longer and more detailed definition and comes in degrees.



Punishable by a sentence to serve between five and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a maximum fine of $150,000. These crimes entail a “presumption of incarceration,” meaning that even first-time offenders must serve time in prison. In some cases, New Jersey’s “No Early Release Act” requires those convicted to complete 85% of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole.



Punishable by a sentence to serve between three and five years in New Jersey State Prison and a maximum fine of $15,000. There is a presumption of non-incarceration for first-time offenders, meaning that a defendant may avoid incarceration through enrollment in a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention.



Punishable by a sentence to serve up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Slapping someone around could get you a slap on the wrist, or slapped behind bars for quite some time. Best not to fight it yourself. A criminal defense lawyer for Belmar and Lake Como Tara Breslow-Testa understands the subtleties and significances and is who you want by your side when facing aggressive prosecutors and stern judges.


CANNABIS IS STILL MOSTLY ILLEGAL – Possession of marijuana

It is not a shocking reality that marijuana use is very very popular along the Jersey Shore – as shocking as it is illegal. While New Jersey’s new governor Phil Murray is pushing for expanding medicinal marijuana and legalizing recreational marijuana, the possession, consumption and distribution of marijuana is still illegal in New Jersey – and these cases are among the most common drug offense charges along the Jersey Shore at Belmar and Lake Como.

In New Jersey, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled dangerous substance, right up there with acid, hashish, heroin, LSD, MDMA and psilocybin mushrooms.

New Jersey statutes N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 of the New Jersey Criminal Code address offenses for manufacturing, distributing, or possessing marijuana with intent to distribute in section. Marijuana offenses can be first, second, third or fourth degree, depending on the measured weight or number of plants associated with the offense.

Possession of marijuana in a quantity of less than one ounce is a Fourth Degree Crime, punishable by up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

At the other end of the scale, possession of marijuana in a quantity of 25 pounds or more; or 50 or more marijuana plants; or hashish in a quantity of 5 pounds or more is a First Degree Crime: punishable by a sentence of between 10 and 20 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $300,000.


LIGHTS, PIPES, PAPERS = Paraphernalia

New Jersey statutes define drug paraphernalia as anything used to “plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance….”

Possession of anything used to produce, divide, package or consume illegal drugs is a disorderly persons offence. The potential penalties are loss of license for a minimum of six months and a maximum two years, with a maximum jail sentence of six months.

If you are charged with possession of marijuana and/or paraphernalia Tara Breslow-Testa is a criminal defense lawyer for Bel Mar and Lake Como who you want by your side. Even the simplest drug cases have technicalities related to search and seizure, chemical testing, lab results and proof of possession.  Tara Breslow-Testa has defended dozens of marijuana possession cases, she knows the ins and outs and loopholes, and she will help you steer your way through the New Jersey courts – for the best result


TUMULTUOUS BEHAVIOR = Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct has many flavors which, according to NJSA 2C:33-2, include:

  1. Improper behavior. A person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense, if with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof he
  2. Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or
  3. Creates a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.

Crimes charged as disorderly conduct are criminal, disorderly persons offenses which are punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine up to $500 and additional financial penalties of $50, $75 and court costs of $33.

Courts along the Jersey Shore see a steady stream of disorderly conduct and disorderly persons cases, and judges, for the most part, are lenient. But not always. You don’t want to spend the dog days of summer sweaty and panting and missing out in jail, so if brought into court on disorderly conduct/disorderly persons charges Tara Breslow-Testa is an attorney for Belmore and Lake Como who you want by your side.



If you are accused of having a little too much fun along the Jersey Shore at Belmar and Lake Como, you could find yourself in jail, or standing before a judge who has seen and heard it all. You could be in for a slap on the wrist and a small fine, or you could be looking at jail time and a stain on your record that won’t go away for a long time – if ever.

Abraham Lincoln once said: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” And that could be true. To avoid being a fool, Belmar and Lake Como criminal defense lawyer Tara Breslow-Testa is the person you want by your side when called to court for summer shore mischief.

To ease your worried mind and make your court life easier. contact Tara Breslow-Testa at (732) 784-2880









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