Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.

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Ocean County Criminal Law Blog

Defense requests change of venue for trial

When New Jersey residents must experience trials after being charged with criminal offenses have rights just as much as do other people. One of these most basic rights is a fair trial. In some cases, this may not be possible and therefore defense teams may seek to request a new location for trials. Such is the case today for one man facing charges of attempted murder.

In September of 2016, a man was arrested after allegedly trying to kill not just one but five different police officers in Lindon. The incident occured five days after a bombing in New York City for which the man also faces charges. The two trials and sets of charges, however, are separate.

Man's eligibility for drug court to be evaluated

In New Jersey, crimes involving drugs may result in a variety of penalties for people who are ultimately convicted of their offenses. The sentences may be influenced in part by the nature of the offenses, if they are felonies or misdemeanors and whether or not any violence was used. 

A case in which three men were reportedly involved illustrates some of this range in sentencing options. The men are said to have entered a home and demanded drugs and even took some money while there. The case against one man resulted in a conviction for two different charges of theft in the third degree. That defendant was sentenced to the state's drug court program. The case against another man is yet to be determined.

Criminal exemptions for medical marijuana in New Jersey

New Jersey may not be one of the states that has yet to legalize recreational use of marijuana but it does allow the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. According to the New Jersey Courts, the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act provides people approved for participation in the state's Medicinial Marijuana Program an exemption from civil and criminal prosecution or liability related to the drug. It also protects physicians, Alternate Treatment Centers, caregivers and parents of minor patients from prosecution or liability related to the purchase or possession or transportation of marijuana or paraphenalia.

The law, however, does not protect people from being prosecuted for driving while under the influence of marijuana even if the marijuana was used for medical reasons. An officer cannot search a person's vehicle simply because the driver has a card showing approved participation in the MMP.

Physician and wife accused of drug, other charges

Many people in New Jersey either knowingly or unknowingly hold stereotypes in their minds about the types of people who might be charged with drug crimes. In general the stereotypical drug crime defendant might be part of a gang, potentially unemployed or employed in a low-wage position and may even have a prior criminal record related to other types of offenses. However, the reality is that many people who have legal access to obtain or prescribe controlled substances may also be accused of criminal activity related to those substances.

One example can be seen in a case in which a physician in Passaic County was recently indicted by a grand jury. The charges involve both the doctor and his wife who worked at his medical practice. Together, the man and his wife are accused of providing prescriptions for oxycodone to people known to be dealing the drug or even addicted to it personally. One 26-year-old man died after taking oxycodone prescribed by the doctor.

The one-leg field sobriety test

When an officer in New Jersey suspects that a driver may be under the influence of alcohol, there are specific steps that must be taken before a person is allowed to be arrested. In essence, law enforcement officers must establish probable cause in order to make an arrest. As FieldSobrietyTests.org explains, there are three different standardized tests used for this purpose. All three are approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. One of these tests is the one-leg stand test.

As the name implies, if you are asked to take this test, you must stand on one leg with your other leg lifted about six inches above the ground. While you balance, you must keep your arms still at your sides and your eyes fixed firmly on your raised foot. Additionally you will be asked to count out loud until the officer tells you to stop. The point of this test is to measure your ability to balance while performing other tasks as ordered.

What is the walk-and-turn test?

A previous post took a look at the eye test or the horizontal gaze nystagmus test used by law enforecment as a means of collecting evidence to support a drunk driving arrest in New Jersey. Have you also heard about the walk-and-turn test? It is another of the three tests approved for this use. According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, the walk-and-turn test has been found to be 66-percent accurate.

Essential to this test are two distinct parts. The first part is when an officer must provide detailed instructions and a demonstration to you. After receiving the instructions, you should be asked to confirm your understanding of the test. From there, you will be asked to perform the test as shown. This includes walking with your arms and hands securely by the sides of your body. Your feet will proceed in a heel-to-toe fashion for nine paces before turning around and walking back for another nine paces. You will be asked to count out loud for every step you take.

Man arrested for drug crimes near park and school

Before a New Jersey resident can be arrested and charged with a crime, officers must be able to show that there is probable cause to support such action. This probably cause can come in a variety of forms. For one man from View Court, reports indicate that the witness of police officers was part of what was put forth as probable cause to arrest him recently.

No real details are given as to what the officers witnessed but it is said that during a traffic stop, items were found in the defendant's vehicle that constituted evidence. This evidence was also part of the probable cause that led to his arrest in Jersey City. The evidence includes 30 containers that had a substance in them believed to be cocaine. Also found were paper wax folds that authorities suggest contained heroin.

What is nystagmus?

Have you been arrested for and charged with a drunk driving offense in New Jersey? If so, you may well have been asked to participate in field sobriety tests. Even if you completed them, did you fully understand them? Many people do not and they also do not realize that these tests are not 100-percent accurate in terms of determining intoxication. 

According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, one of the tests is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. A nystagmus is a jerking or bouncing of the eyeballs that is not voluntarily controllable. When under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the jerking may be more pronounced, especially as your eye moves from looking forward to looking out the side of your eye socket.

Can I buy an antique gun in New Jersey?

If you are gun collector and enthusiast in New Jersey, you may seek out historical firearms to add to your collection. Many of these items can be rare and valuable and even those that are not associated with a high dollar value, they may be a great perk to you personally just because of your interest in them and their associated historical periods. But, do you know what weapons you may or may not need an identification card in hand in order to purchase?

As explained by the State of New Jersey, in order to buy many weapons legally in the state, you may need a firearms purchaser identification card. This card can be obtained at a retailer that sells guns, at any State Police station or at a city police department. When it comes to antique weapons, you will need an identification card for some but not for others. Those that fall into the category of antique cannons with the ability to fire over a .60 caliber projectile, the card will be required.

Man avoids persistent offender sentence

Among the many concerns that New Jersey residents may face when arrested for crimes after they have been convicted of other offenses previously is the designation as a persistent offender. This label may result in harsher sentences and even lifetime supervision depending upon the circumstances.

The identification as a persistent offender was something that prosecutors were seeking for one man who was convicted of three offenses in Clinton County in late 2016. However, the judge in the case refused to grant the prosecution's request in this area. The judge also handed down a sentence that was lesser than the one sought by prosecutors. Instead of 12 years in prison and fines as high as $60,000, the defendant has been ordered to serve 10 years in prison and pay absolutely no fines. Upon completion of the 10-year sentence, the man will be subject to a period of supervision lasting three years.

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
514 Brick Boulevard, Suite 6
Brick, NJ 08723

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