Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.

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Ocean County Criminal Law Blog

Understanding what may be considered terrorism

New Jersey residents today should not be unfamiliar with reports of suspected terrorist activity. This is something that may be part of news headlines on a relatively regular basis whether domestically or internationally. But, just what might constitute an allegation of terrorism? Understanding this is important for anyone who finds themselves a target of such an allegation.

According to the National Institute of Justice, there are multiple components that may need to be involved in order for a specific action or event to be considered terrorism. First and foremost is the presence of some type of violence. This violence is generally said to be a means of influencing a grou or individuals and to be motivated by some political point.

Declawing a cat may become illegal

New Jersey residents are generally familiar with many things that may result in them being charged with criminal offenses. Shoplifting, spousal abuse and driving after drinking too much are a few examples. However, there may well be some things that people would not think about as criminal actions that may well be. While the charges might be minor, they can nonetheless be criminal and be on a person's record.

If the state leglislature passes a new bill that is before them, residents may find one more odd action listed as a criminal offense. This situation is all about having a domesticated cat declawed. The proposal before lawmakers is that removing a cat's claws would be considered a disorderly persons offense.

Newspaper allowed to view arrest video

New Jersey residents who have been arrested and charged with crimes know that they can sometimes face many hurdles in the course of the defense process. One of these hurdles can be public opinion. It seems that all too often the general public seems to forget the fact that simply being arrested does not make a person guilty. Many times reports published by the media provide only some of the details in a case and make it even easier for people to jump to conclusions that may or may not be correct.

For these reasons, it is understandable that defendants are wary of what is made public in their cases. This is true regardless of who the defendant is. Today, one defendant who is likely watching the future of her case is actually a police officer with the Scotch Plains Police Department. In the summer of 2016, she was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated as well as eluding officers. The incident occured only two-and-a-half months after she joined the police force.

How to restore your driving privileges

Have you received a letter in the mail from the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission saying that your driver's license has been suspended? If so, you are not alone. You are also not alone if you are surprised by this fact. It might feel hard to believe but it is true that you can be notified of something like this that has a pretty major impact on your daily life by a simple letter in the mail. What can you do when this happens?

Certainly it will be important for you to understand the reason for your license suspension. Next you will need to ascertain if there is a timeframe associated with your suspension. Some suspensions may be ordered for specific lengths of time such as 45 days, 60 days or 90 days. Some may even last as long as 180 days depending upon the reason. Different offenses may add different numbers of points on your license and a suspension may be ordered when you have 12 or more points on your license.

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 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, 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.

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
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Brick, NJ 08723

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