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Atlantic City Criminal Defense Blog

Expungement of a criminal record in New Jersey

A criminal record can cause a lot of problems in life for many years after the crime occurred. Expungement is a legal process in which a person who has been convicted of a crime gets that crime cleared from his or her criminal record. The process involves petitioning a New Jersey Superior Court and meeting specific criteria. Once approved, all police, court and corrections documentation are removed from one's record. At this point a background check would indicate no evidence of the crime ever having happened.

There are many reasons someone might need a conviction expunged. A criminal record can impact many aspects of life. In today's technology-infused lifestyle, it is not uncommon for potential love interests to make a background check on someone prior to becoming involved with him or her. Potential landlords also often perform background checks on prospective tenants. A conviction from years earlier can cause one to get denied for the housing as well as the love interest.

It may be hard for officers to prove DUI charge for marijuana use

When a driver is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, an officer can utilize field sobriety testing to look for signs of impairment. Separately, a Breathalyzer or blood test may confirm if the amount of alcohol in the person's system is above New Jersey's legal limit of .08. In those instances, the person is charged with DUI. The process when someone is suspected of being impaired by marijuana is not so simple. The standard field tests, Breathalyzers and blood tests used to prove alcohol impairment cannot prove marijuana impairment.

The potential legalization of recreational marijuana use in the near future would most certainly increase the number of suspected impaired drivers on New Jersey's roadways. This presents a challenge to officers as there is currently no way for officers to measure marijuana intoxication. The standard field sobriety tests used for alcohol impairment aren't effective for suspected marijuana intoxication. Also, the current bill that would legalize marijuana use doesn't set a legal standard for what is to be considered marijuana impairment.

How do field sobriety tests work?

When someone is pulled over by police in Atlantic City due to an officer suspecting the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are certain steps the officer takes to determine the driver's level of impairment. One of these steps is field sobriety testing. There are three individual sobriety tests that make up the Standard Field Sobriety Test. When properly administered, this assessment has been found to be quite accurate in determining one's balance, coordination and other abilities.

The first part of the Standard Field Sobriety Test is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This assesses the involuntary jerking of one's eyeball. The officer holds an item such as a pen about 12 inches in front of the person's face and asks the individual to follow the movement of the pen with his or her eyes while the officer moves the pen left and right. The officer observes how distinct the jerking of the person's eyeballs is and at what angle the jerking begins.

What does "schedule" mean in a drug possession charge?

Drugs are classified into five groups or schedules based on their potential for abuse or dependency and whether or not they have any legitimate medical use. When someone receives a drug possession charge in New Jersey the drug's schedule is specified. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous because they have the highest potential for abuse, possibly causing both physical and psychological dependence. They have no known medical benefits. Examples of Schedule I drugs are heroin, peyote and ecstasy.

Schedule II drugs are also considered extremely highly addictive. Unlike Schedule I drugs, however, Schedule II drugs have some accepted medical uses. Examples of Schedule II drugs include fentanyl, cocaine and methadone.

What are the consequences of a drug conviction?

If you or a loved one is facing a drug charge in New Jersey for the first time, it’s important to understand the basic structure of the law and what consequences might result.

While most states classify crimes as misdemeanors and felonies, New Jersey classifies them as disorderly persons and indictable crimes and differentiate between them by type and severity of the incident and the circumstances surrounding it.

What is domestic violence and why is it important to know?

Domestic violence is a problem in New Jersey and across the country. There is a steady supply of news reports exposing its prevalence in society today. Domestic violence is an often-heard term, but what exactly is it? The answer to this question is important to know because someone could be a domestic violence victim or abuser without even realizing that what he or she is experiencing is in fact domestic violence.

Most people think of physical and sexual abuse as domestic violence, but there are a number of types of abuse that fall under the larger category of domestic violence. Emotional abuse includes diminishing one's self-worth with negative comments and criticism. Psychological abuse preys on one's fears with threats, intimidation and isolation. Attempting to make one financially dependent by controlling all of his or her finances is economic abuse. Stalking, both personal and cyberstalking, can also be a form of domestic violence.

New Year's Eve celebration gets man drunk driving charges

New Year's Eve is one of the most celebrated nights of the entire year. Those celebrations often include the consumption of alcohol, so with that in mind police forces are usually fully staffed that night to deal with the elevated number of intoxicated drivers and resulting accidents. The number of drunk driving arrests is higher on New Year's Eve than most nights of the year. One New Jersey man never got to see the ball drop because he was arrested for drunk driving about three hours earlier after reportedly blocking traffic with his vehicle.

The local police department received complaints of a vehicle stopped in the road and blocking traffic around 8:20 that evening. When an officer arrived at the scene, he reportedly found a man sitting in his SUV in the travel lane. Upon interacting with the man, the policeman says he suspected he had been drinking. The responding officer administered a variety of field sobriety tests, which he claimed the man failed. The officer then arrested him.

Bad luck finds lottery winner charged with drug and gun crimes

Most lottery winners in New Jersey and across the country can say that their lives drastically changed in a positive way after their fortunate purchase. Many are traveling the world, living in lavish houses and driving expensive cars. One New Jersey man who actually hit the lottery twice in one year is in a very different situation. He has been arrested and charged with numerous drug and gun crimes.

A 53-year-old New Jersey man best known for winning the lottery twice within a year was recently pulled over for only having one license plate on his vehicle. During the stop, police report they seized a bullet-proof vest, multiple guns, including an assault rifle, ammunition and 350 prescription pills. The find caused police to search his lavish apartment the following day, which allegedly revealed cocaine, marijuana and more prescription pills. During the search, police found paperwork leading them to a storage building where they reportedly found three more guns, silencers, hollow-point bullets and large capacity magazines. Police claim to have found a total of six guns of various brands and styles, none of which were registered.

Grandparents arrested for drug possession with intent to sell

When most people think of grandparents they think of baking cookies, going fishing or playing catch. Most don't associate grandparents with drug deals, forged prescriptions and arrest records. Police say one New Jersey couple, however, traded their fishing pole and apron for painkillers and handcuffs. The grandparents were arrested recently following a raid on their home. They were charged with a variety of crimes, including drug possession with intent to sell.

After obtaining a search warrant based on tips, police raided the New Jersey home of a couple, both of whom are in their 60s. Inside they claim to have found a large quantity of prescription pills, hash oil and $16,000 cash they believed to be drug money. Allegedly, they also found forged prescriptions, the method by which police believed the couple obtained their illegal product. The husband, who was home at the time, was arrested at the scene, and the wife was arrested at her place of work soon after.

Police say man tried to leave the scene of a drunk driving crash

It is one of the most basic of instincts people develop as children -- to flee when facing potential trouble. Often, when a parent discovers a child holding a forbidden item, the immediate response from the child is to drop the object and run away as if the lack of his presence would indicate he was never there. These practices often follow through into adulthood. Sometimes, when an adult finds himself in a situation that could get him into trouble, the natural response is to leave the scene and hope no one knows he was there. That is what police claim a New Jersey man did last week after he was involved in a drunk driving crash.

On the evening of November 18, police were called to the scene of a hit-and run crash. A driver had accidentally run into a parked car, causing damage to his vehicle so severe that he was not able to drive it away. Instead, the man and a female passenger reportedly attempted to flee the scene on foot. The person who had made the call to the police to report the accident identified the couple as the occupants of the disabled vehicle.

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