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Union Criminal Law Blog

New Jersey man accused of violent crime

A tragic incident resulting in the death of a woman and her dog has led to charges for one man. The New Jersey resident is accused of murder and related charges. Some details of the violent crime accusations have been released to the press.

Police responded to the residence early in the morning of Aug. 13. Authorities made a forced entry into the home after receiving a call that a gunshot was heard in the neighborhood. When the police arrived on scene, they found the deceased woman. A dog was found at the scene, also deceased. 

Traffic violations for New Jersey toll skipper

It would take an extremely deft criminal to evade tolls numbering in the many thousands of dollars without being caught. To accumulate that many toll violations, the crimes would have had to occurred over a number of years of heavy driving. It seems impossible, but a recent case in New Jersey involves allegations of exactly that. Supposedly, one man's traffic violations have piled up so much that he owes nearly $88,000. 

An alleged toll evasion has resulted in significant charges for the man. Apparently, he was caught by authorities driving through the E-ZPass on the George Washington Bridge on July 26. Police arrested the 60-year-old after a records check uncovered significant unpaid tolls. 

New Jersey rookie pleads to downgraded DWI charges

A rookie police officer found herself on the wrong end of a police chase and faced numerous charges. The officer was apprehended and charged following a DWI arrest. The New Jersey police department in Scotch Plains has finally agreed to release video of the incident, as revealed by a recent news story. 

The woman allegedly was drunk driving when an officer observed her swerving and apparently hitting a guardrail. When she did not immediately stop, the police officer chased her and made the arrest. During the arrest, she allegedly name dropped her station, her boss and her badge number. The arresting officer was supposedly unsympathetic as he did not let her privilege stop the arrest. She was charged with DWI, eluding, reckless driving and other charges. 

Minor drunk driving infractions come with big consequences

It's a misnomer to think that any drunk driving charge is "minor." If you're facing a drunk driving allegation, it means that you've been through the harrowing experience of being arrested and booked in jail, and this is not an easy experience for anyone.

The fragility of your rights as a human being becomes apparent as soon as a police officer puts you in handcuffs. The booking process at the local jail will be even more difficult to endure. You'll find yourself being searched, having your personal possessions taken from you, and then you'll be placed in a holding cell while you supposedly "sober up" and wait for someone to come get you -- usually the next morning.

Violent crime: New Jersey police arrest 4

Police officers say they witnessed a crime in progress and were able to quickly apprehend four suspects. Two teenagers and two juveniles were arrested. The Newark, New Jersey Public Safety Director provided details of the alleged violent crime and the four accused individuals who are likely now preparing a defense against criminal charges. 

Two police officers, one from Newark and one from the adjoining city of Irvington were on patrol when they witnessed a shooting. The police officers allegedly observed a black Audi come to a stop. Apparently, a person get out of the car and shot a male victim. The car, which had been reported stolen, sped off with officers in pursuit. 

Drug charges for New Jersey doctor in alleged drug ring

Recently, a physician finds himself defending against charges that he illegally wrote hundreds of prescriptions for opioid painkillers and anti-anxiety medications. The New Jersey based physician is allegedly connected with a crime network who apparently paid the doctor for prescriptions. The doctor is now facing drug charges that include second degree distribution of narcotics. 

The New Jersey Attorney General's office has been particularly aggressive in tracking down drug dealers in recent times since the explosion of the opioid epidemic. Atlantic County, where the majority of the prescriptions were filled, is one of the counties hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, facing record numbers of overdose deaths in recent years. An investigation into drug trafficking in the county led authorities to one doctor who they claim was writing prescriptions for 30 members of a drug trafficking ring.

Are field sobriety tests reliable?

Have you or has someone you know been arrested for and charged with a drunk driving offense in New Jersey? If so, you or your friend may have been asked to perform certain actions or have certain abilities tested by law enforcement officers after you were stopped but before you were arrested. Commonly referred to as field sobriety tests, these tests do not have the ability to prove that you are intoxicated or even to determine a level of intoxication. They are instead used to give enough substance to the potential that you may be intoxicated so as to support an officer legally placing you under arrest.

As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, these tests are known to have a certain level of potential error in their accuracy. Of the three tests sanctioned for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the individual accuracy rates vary from 77 percent on the high end to 65 percent on the low end. When used together, all three standardized field sobriety tests have an accuracy rate of only 82 percent.

Understanding your rights during a traffic stop

As traffic stops gone wrong have been in the news more and more frequently, it is important for those in New Jersey to understand the rights they have when interacting with law enforcement officers. As nj.com reports, regardless of the conditions a driver is going through, including speeding to the hospital, if an officer signals to pull over the driver must comply. Even if the driver has a legitimate reason for his or her actions, the officer does not know this at the time, and refusing to pull over could leave the driver vulnerable to charges. 

In New Jersey an officer does not need probable cause to pull a vehicle over, they only need "reasonable suspicion," which can include talking on a cell phone while driving or failing to use turn signals. Once pulled over, the driver does have to give identification, and not doing so could result in charges. The officer has the right to ask the driver to exit his or her vehicle, as well. Once a person has provided his or her identification and exited the vehicle if asked, there is not anything else that they must do during a traffic stop. For those suspected of driving under the influence, a field sobriety test may be conducted and a driver may be detained.

Drivers should choose carefully over Fourth of July

With the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner, New Jersey residents are likely putting the finishing touches on their holiday weekend plans. Whether staying close to home or travelling away over the long weekend, it might be wise for those plans to include options on how to avoid driving after consuming alcohol. A single drunk driving arrest can wreck havoc on a driver's life even if a conviction is not ultimately achieved in the case.

Since Uber launched its ridesharing services, including in 2011 in parts of New York City, many studies have tried to ascertain if using such a service may have actually been helpful to people. According to The New York Times, one set of research from Seattle focused specifically on drunk driving arrests and concluded that the number of people charged with driving under the influence did in fact lower once Uber came to town.

Growing marijuana in New Jersey can cost you your freedom

The social stigma associated with marijuana use, sales and cultivation have decreased in the last decade. As more states decriminalize or overtly legalize adult recreational use of marijuana, people become more open to it. You may not have thought that growing a few plants in your garage, garden or basement was a big deal. Then law enforcement showed up. Maybe they arrived because of a nearby crime, or perhaps someone noticed your plants and called to report you. Regardless of why they are there, if law enforcement find marijuana plants on your property, you can expect criminal charges.

New Jersey courts and law enforcement still take marijuana offenses very seriously. While possession of small amount of marijuana for personal use are only "disorderly person" charges, cultivation charges are all criminal offenses. That means that you could face steep penalties and a lifelong criminal record just because you decided to grow a few marijuana plants.

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