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Ocean County Criminal Law Blog

Understanding an insanity defense

It is safe to say that television viewers and movie buffs in New Jersey and throughout the country have seen a dramatization of a court case in which the defendant is found not guilty due to insanity. Many times, those dramatizations shape people’s real-life opinions as well. Like the outraged actors in these programs, others may perceive a defendant has received a “free pass” after committing a crime and receiving a not-guilty judgment. This feeling may also be shared by victims and their families, as well as others involved in the legal community.

A New Jersey radio station reported in 2017 on a woman from Burlington County who threw a 5-year-old onto the tracks of an approaching train. The child was rescued and suffered only minor physical injuries. The woman was judged not guilty of attempted murder charges by reason of insanity. She was then consigned to a psychiatric facility.

Can you get in trouble for giving someone your prescription pill?

You may have faced this situation a few times in your life. You are terrified of flying but forgot to get your anti-anxiety prescription refilled before your trip, so a friend offers to give you a couple of her pills to calm you down. Or, your brother is suffering from an ear infection but doesn’t have medical insurance. You have some antibiotics left over from a bronchial infection, which you give to your brother. You and others in New Jersey may not realize that you can be committing a crime by sharing or receiving prescription drugs that were not prescribed to you or those you share them with.

Prescription drugs are controlled substances that are legally valid only for the person the prescription was written for. You may not know that a drug you can take safely may have dangerous reactions in someone else, which is why doctors write prescriptions based on patients’ medical histories and unique health issues. Others can become dependent on certain medications, such as opioid painkillers, making it necessary for these medications to be strictly prescribed and monitored by physicians.

The penalty for kidnapping

New Jersey residents may not often think about the consequences of kidnapping. However, this is usually a serious offense that carries a stiff penalty.

FindLaw says that if people kidnap another person, then they have abducted that person or moved him or her to a different place without consent. People may not realize, though, that kidnapping can be both a state and federal offense. Most of the time, someone who kidnaps another person is charged by the state. If someone moves people across state lines, though, then he or she can be charged with a federal offense. Kidnapping can take many forms. A parent might kidnap a child if he or she does not have custody. Additionally, a person might abduct someone if he or she wants to extort people close to the victim.

Is speeding a serious crime?

In the state of New Jersey, speeding is illegal. In most cases, it is categorized as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. This may make some people falsely believe that speeding isn't a serious crime, but the consequences for a speeding ticket can actually be severe.

The Department of Motorized Vehicles (DMV) shows that New Jersey runs on a points system in regard to traffic violations. This means that every traffic violation you're convicted of will result in points being added to your license. This applies regardless of whether the violation is a major or minor one, so any speeding infraction will count.

Understanding assault charges

When New Jersey residents are charged with assault, they may think this means they physically harmed another person. However, this is not necessarily the case. If someone is charged with this offense, it is important for them to understand what assault is and what the penalty might be.

Most of the time, an assault charge does not mean that someone has been injured. According to FindLaw, assault usually means that one person tried to harm someone else. Sometimes a person might be charged with assault even if he or she does not attempt to harm people. This is because in some situations, his or her behavior might be reckless or dangerous, creating a situation in which people could possibly get hurt. Additionally, threatening to harm another person can sometimes be considered assault. In this situation, threatening words typically need to be paired with an action that makes people afraid.

Diving coach suspected of drug trafficking

Some New Jersey residents may think that only people from certain walks of life can be arrested on drug charges. However, even respected members of a community can find themselves involved with drugs, as a recent story demonstrates.

Authorities recently arrested a New Jersey man and his mother on drug charges. The young man had $51,000 in cash in his luggage when he flew across the country. Transportation Security Administration personnel discovered that the man also had $16,000 in another bag. An undercover informant communicated with the young man and his mother and received drugs from them and also learned about the way the alleged drug operation was structured. Law enforcement learned that the mother and son were possibly trafficking drugs and had mailed roughly 40 pounds of marijuana to New Jersey. The informant was able to obtain fake prescription medications. Some of these medications included fentanyl and heroin.

Summertime, the Jersey shore and DUIs

While the calendar may officially still consider it spring, once Memorial Day arrives most people consider it to be summer in New Jersey. As more and more people flock to the popular Jersey shore, it is a good time to review some of the things that may end up ruining their fun. Unfortunately this can come in the form of a criminal arrest. Whether for drunk driving or something else, there are many situations that could lead someone to be arrested.

NJ.com reported on some of the top causes for criminal arrests along the Jersey shore. Many of these may well be linked to the consumption of alcohol which is a common thing at many summertime events along the shore. Driving under the influence charges can wreck havoc with a person's life for a while. Records show that Seaside Heights experienced quite a high number of DWI arrests in 2015 and 2016 with 143 people being charged with these offenses in that time.

Should you challenge a breath analysis test?

As a resident of New Jersey who is facing DUI-related charges, you may be wondering how your breath analysis test result will come into play. The Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr. will help you through this difficult period and debunk some of the greatest myths surrounding breathalyzers.

One of the biggest false notions is the idea that if your breath analysis test reads positively, you will definitely be convicted of your DUI-related charge. Some people are tempted to refuse to take a breath analysis test because of that. However, there are implied consent laws that make it so you automatically give your consent for these DUI tests any time you're on the road. By refusing, you actually break the law and can end up facing even more consequences.

Understanding terrorism and its penalty

When New Jersey residents think about terrorism, they may not consider acts done by U.S. citizens. However, in some situations, terrorism can be an action done by someone inside the U.S.

While most people may think about international terrorism, terrorism can be more than an act done by a person working for an international organization. According to the FBI, certain acts can be considered domestic terrorism. These acts typically support ideologies that are considered extremist and can be social, environmental or political in nature. Additionally, these acts are usually carried out by people who are connected to movements that are based in the U.S.

Understanding New Jersey stalking laws

Stalking is a common occurrence in New Jersey and elsewhere. Often, the person who is accused of this is unaware that his or her behavior qualifies as stalking and that criminal charges can result. It is important for residents to understand the different behaviors that qualify as stalking, as well as the penalties one can face for a conviction.

The National Center for Victims of Crime defines stalking as a repetitive behavior that makes the target feel uncomfortable, intimidated, annoyed and/or frightened for his or her safety. Often, the person who is accused of stalking is a former spouse or partner. The alleged stalker may have unreciprocated romantic feelings for the target, might have difficult moving on after a relationship is over or could harbor feelings of resentment from a slight or offense. Stalking can involve the person following the other, repeatedly calling the target at home, school or work or contacting the person through email, text message and social media.

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