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What Are the Charges for Resisting Arrest in New Jersey?

Resisting arrest is a serious charge in all states, and New Jersey is no exception. Anyone convicted on charges of resisting arrest could face criminal charges and more serious consequences than they might have under the original circumstances of their arrest.

So, what should you do if you have been accused of resisting or eluding arrest? While every case is different, your first step should be to contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.

As a former criminal prosecutor turned defense attorney, Jason A. Volet understands both sides of criminal cases and uses that knowledge to pursue the best possible outcomes for clients across New Jersey. Through his exclusive devotion to criminal defense, Mr. Volet has developed refined techniques and strategies that can make all the difference in your case.

To learn more about how our New Jersey resisting arrest defense attorneys can help with your unique situation, call us anytime, 24/7 for a free confidential consultation.

What Are the Charges for Resisting Arrest in NJ?

No matter the circumstances surrounding your arrest, it is illegal to resist or evade arrest by a law enforcement official. If you try to flee, stop a police officer from executing a lawful arrest, give an officer the impression that you are trying to resist, or create the risk of injury for arresting officers, you could be subject to additional charges.

In New Jersey, the least serious charges for minor or peaceful instances of resisting arrest could result in fines of up to $1,000 and 6 months’ jail time. If you are charged with running away from the scene of your arrest, you could face up to 18 months in prison.

If you use force, violence, or the threat of force or violence against an officer, or create the risk of injury to an officer, this is a more serious crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

It’s important to note that New Jersey does not prosecute individuals for resisting arrest by non-law enforcement officials, such as private security guards. However, while you can’t be charged with resisting arrest by a private citizen, you could still face assault charges if you end up in a violent altercation as you resist.

Is Resisting Arrest a Misdemeanor in New Jersey?

New Jersey law does not use the terms “misdemeanor” or “felony” to describe illegal activities. Instead, offenses that would be considered felonies in other states are simply referred to as “crimes,” and violations that are referred to as misdemeanors in other states are called “disorderly persons offenses.”

In New Jersey, minor or peaceful cases of resisting arrest are usually classified as disorderly persons offenses. However, individuals who attempt to flee custody or otherwise leave the scene of their arrest typically have their charges elevated to a crime of the fourth degree, equivalent to the least severe felony charges in other states.

If an officer in a motor vehicle pursues you while you are driving and indicates that you must stop, you may be charged with a crime in the third degree if you refuse to pull over. If you resist arrest in any way that puts a law enforcement officer at risk of bodily harm, your offense will likely be charged as a very serious crime of the second degree, which could result in years of prison time if you are convicted.

What Constitutes Resisting Arrest Under New Jersey law?

Per The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, the offense of resisting arrest is defined as intentionally preventing public servants from executing lawful arrests or other official functions. To successfully prove charges of resisting arrest, the State is required to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that three key elements exist:

  1. That the individual being arrested committed an “unlawful act” or any act of “flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle” during the course of their arrest.
  2. That the defendant’s actions were intended to obstruct, impair, prevent, or pervert the execution of an arrest, administration of the law, or other lawful governmental function.
  3. That the defendant’s actions did or attempted to obstruct, impair, or pervert the administration of law, execution of lawful arrest, or other governmental function.

What If the Original Underlying Charges Were Dismissed?

Generally speaking, charges associated with resisting arrest stand independently of any other offenses, including any underlying offenses that led to your arrest. Even if those underlying charges are later dismissed or your arrest was made unlawfully, you may still be convicted on charges of resisting arrest.

However, there are two main exceptions that may offer valid defenses for those charged with resisting arrest:

  • The first involves self-defense. In some cases, police officers may neglect to adequately identify themselves as law enforcement officials or fail to make it clear that individuals are legally under arrest. If this happens, defendants who resist arrest may reasonably claim that they acted in self-defense, since they were unaware of the true, lawful nature of their arrests.
  • The other involves the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers. Whether or not an arrest is made lawfully, police officers are not entitled to use excessive force during the execution of an arrest. If a police officer behaves inappropriately in this way, defendants may have a valid argument against any subsequent charges of resisting arrest.

Contact Our NJ Criminal Lawyers Today for Help

If you are facing a disorderly persons offense or more serious criminal charge related to allegations of resisting arrest in New Jersey, you need a fearless and aggressive advocate in your corner. Criminal prosecutors in our state are tough, so you should never settle for less than the representation you deserve.

At The Law Office of Jason A. Volet, our talented legal team has more than 15 years of experience handling all types of charges throughout New Jersey. We’re standing by to take immediate action in your case. Call us or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential initial case review now.

Penalties for Minors Facing Marijuana Possession Charges in New Jersey

You have many things to worry about if the police arrest your child for marijuana possession in New Jersey. However, you won’t have to worry about your child’s case going through the adult criminal justice system. If the child is under age 15, the child’s case must be handled as a juvenile delinquency matter in Family Court in New Jersey. Even if the child is age 15 or older, the child’s case can be waived to adult criminal court only if it is a serious or violent offense – and a marijuana possession charge is not one of those.

Still, you need to take the charge seriously. If a judge adjudicates your child as guilty, the child could face consequences that greatly harm his or her future, including the loss of educational opportunities. For this reason, you should seek help from a knowledgeable New Jersey juvenile crimes lawyer as soon as possible.

Attorney Jason A. Volet is an experienced criminal defense lawyer and a former prosecutor who is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a criminal trial lawyer. He knows how to fight drug charges and navigate New Jersey’s juvenile justice system. He can meet with you and your child right away at our offices in Freehold or Neptune or wherever else is most convenient for you to review the minor’s marijuana possession charge. Connect with us today to get started.

How Do New Jersey’s Marijuana Laws Apply to Minors?

The possession of marijuana without a valid prescription is illegal in New Jersey for adults and minors alike. Our state classifies marijuana in all of its forms – oil, resin or edible – as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance (CDS). Additionally, it is illegal to possess drug paraphernalia such as baggies, rolling papers, pipes or bongs.

If you are an adult who is found to have knowingly possessed 50 grams or less of marijuana, it is treated as a disorderly persons offense. Many people refer to this charge as “simple possession.” Possession of drug paraphernalia also is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. For adults, the charge carries up to six months of incarceration and a fine as high as $1,000.

Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana is a fourth-degree crime. A conviction could lead to as many 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $25,000. If the offense occurs within 1,000 feet of a school, it can add up to 100 hours of community service.

Depending on the circumstances, a prosecutor may choose to charge a person with possession with intent to distribute, which carries even greater penalties. A prosecutor may press this charge if a person is found with a large quantity of marijuana as well as a high amount of cash, scales, baggies or other items which tend to indicate the intent to sell or distribute marijuana.

Any minor in New Jersey (or person under age 18) who is accused of engaging in conduct that would be a crime if committed by adult can instead face juvenile delinquency charges. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges are among those offenses. However, in our juvenile justice system, the focus is on rehabilitation rather than on punishment. In other words, the penalties which minors face are not the same as those for adults.

What Happens After Your Child’s Marijuana Possession Arrest?

Police who arrest a minor for marijuana possession in New Jersey can place the minor in a juvenile detention facility. Within 24 hours, a hearing must be held to determine whether to continue to keep the minor in custody. If the minor is further detained, the minor is entitled to another review hearing within 48 hours. If the minor remains in custody, the minor is entitled to a review hearing within 14 days and then every 21 days after that.

If your child faces a simple marijuana possession charge, it is highly likely that the child will not be placed in a juvenile detention facility for any long period of time – if at all – and will remain free at least until the child’s adjudication hearing date. If the child goes to a hearing, and a judge enters an adjudication of guilt, the child’s case will move to the disposition phase. The judge may order your child to be placed in a detention facility or may place your child on probation and require the child to comply with conditions such as:

  • Paying fines and probation supervision fees
  • Undergoing drug and alcohol counseling
  • Being subjected to random drug testing
  • Complying with a driver’s license suspension
  • Performing community service
  • Committing no other offense while on probation.

If the minor violates the terms and conditions of probation, a judge can revoke the probation, which could result in confinement in a juvenile detention facility.

Can a Minor Get Deferred Disposition for a New Jersey Marijuana Charge?

If a minor charged with simple possession of marijuana (50 grams or less) or drug paraphernalia is a first-time offender, a Family Court judge may give the minor a “second chance” and allow the minor to participate in a deferred disposition program. Attorney Jason A. Volet can help you to explore and pursue this alternative for your child.

Deferred disposition can provide a minor with an opportunity to put a bad mistaken behind and move ahead with a clean record. As long as the minor complies with the program’s conditions over a certain period of time – one year, typically – then the charge(s) against the minor will be dismissed, and any records related to the minor’s arrest will be destroyed. On the flip side, if the minor fails to comply with conditions, the charges against the minor will be reinstated, and the minor can face adjudication.

How Can a NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Help Your Minor After a Marijuana Arrest?

Attorney Jason A. Volet will aggressively protect your child’s rights if he or she has been arrested for marijuana possession. For instance, if the police violated the minor’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, Jason can move to get the evidence thrown out, which could ultimately lead to a dismissal of the charge. Additionally, the prosecution’s evidence may simply fail to establish that the minor knowingly possessed the marijuana, which could also lead to a dismissal. To discuss your case in more detail and learn more about how an experienced and highly dedicated criminal defense lawyer such as Jason A. Volet can assist your child, contact us today and schedule a free, no-risk consultation.

What Is the Difference a Bench and Arrest Warrant in New Jersey?

Police in New Jersey can obtain different types of warrants. Arrest warrants, bench warrants and search warrants are the three main types. While police use a search warrant to find and seize evidence in a case, they use bench and arrest warrants to take people into custody. If you face a bench or arrest warrant, it is a serious matter. If one of these has been issued against you, you need to get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately.

Here, we discuss the differences between bench and arrest warrants. It is important to understand these differences and how they could possibly impact your criminal case. To discuss the specific facts and issues in your case, make sure to call The Law Office of Jason A. Volet as soon as possible. Jason is a former assistant prosecutor who has years of experience with helping people throughout New Jersey to fight the charges against them. He understands both sides. He can put those unique insights to work for you. Contact him today to learn more.

What Is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant tends to spring from existing legal matters and court orders that have already been put in place by a judge. As Rule 7:2-3 of the New Jersey Court Rules states, a court may issue a bench warrant where a person is held to be in contempt of court. In other words, the person failed to follow the court’s instructions by:

  • Failing to appear in court when required
  • Failing to respond to a summons
  • Disregarding the terms of an existing court order that is in place
  • Behaving in a manner that was either disruptive or threatening during court proceedings.

Once a bench warrant has been issued against you, the police can arrest you and hold you in the local jail until a hearing is held. As a condition of your release, you may be required to comply with all the terms of an existing court order. If you violate those terms, you may face additional contempt of court charges, which can result in additional fines and other penalties.

What Is an Arrest Warrant?

A court typically issues a bench warrant for a person’s failure to comply with the court and its procedures in existing civil or criminal matters. An arrest warrant, on the other hand, generally involves new criminal cases and those currently under investigation. Arrest warrants in New Jersey may be issued in the following situations:

  • As the result of a citizen complaint – When the victim of a crime reports the incident, an arrest warrant may be issued against the alleged perpetrator.
  • Upon investigation by a law enforcement agency – An arrest warrant may be issued if a law enforcement investigation establishes probable cause that a person has committed a crime.
  • Due to an indictment being issued – A prosecuting attorney may present evidence to a grand jury which ultimately chooses to indict a person with one or more charges. Once the jury returns the indictment, a warrant will be issued for that person’s arrest.

In all three of these scenarios, the law requires probable cause to believe that a crime has occurred and that the person named in the warrant is the perpetrator of the crime.

Why Would You Get a Bench Warrant?

The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office reports that it processes thousands of different types of warrants each year, resulting in more than 900 arrests. According to its website, the majority of these are bench warrants issued for people who failed to appear for scheduled court proceedings. Other situations in which a bench warrant may be issued against a person include:

  • Failure to appear for traffic citations
  • Failure to pay fines imposed by the court
  • Violating the terms of a restraining order
  • Violating the terms of probation
  • Failure to pay child support or to take other court-ordered actions.

If you are placed under arrest for a bench warrant, the outcome will depend on the situation involved. You may be eligible for release within a few hours or days, or you may be detained until you comply with the terms of an existing order or until a more formal hearing can be held.

How Can a Lawyer Help You?

Whether you have been arrested as the result of a bench warrant issued on a traffic ticket or due to more serious criminal charges, having an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer on your side can help you to seek a release in the quickest amount of time possible. In situations involving bench warrants, attorney Jason A. Volet can also help you with resolving any underlying legal issues. He can also review the terms of any existing orders in your case.

If you have had an arrest warrant issued against you, Jason can provide the strong legal guidance and aggressive defense you need. Actions that our law firm can take on your behalf include:

  • Investigating the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the evidence against you
  • Talking to witnesses, friends and family members while gathering evidence in your defense
  • Negotiating with law enforcement officials and prosecuting attorneys in your case, with the goal of having your charges reduced or dismissed.

Protecting your freedom when an arrest warrant is issued is a top priority. Depending on the situation, we may be able to have your warrant dropped or negotiate the terms involved. Our law firm’s years of experience and our relationships within the legal community make us a strong ally on your side, helping you avoid the penalties associated with your charges and a possible conviction.

Reach Out to a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

When facing the possibility of jail time due to an arrest or bench warrant, it is important to take immediate action. At The Law Office of Jason A. Volet, we will provide the trusted legal guidance and professional representation you need to protect yourself and your freedom in this situation. To discuss the options in your case, contact us for a consultation today.

What Should I Do If I Receive a Bench Warrant in New Jersey?

It can come as a shock to find there is a bench warrant out against you. Issued by a judge, a bench warrant is generally put into effect when you have failed to comply with a court order or to take certain required actions. Unfortunately, once it has been put in place by the judge, the bench warrant will remain in effect until it is either lifted, the court requirements are satisfied, or you are placed under arrest.

To protect yourself and your freedom, it is important to have an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney on your side. At The Law Office of Jason A. Volet, we provide the trusted legal guidance and professional representation you need in this situation. Regardless of why the warrant against you was issued, we can outline your options and help you to address the underlying legal matter.

Reasons Why Bench Warrants Are Issued in New Jersey

If you already know or suspect a bench warrant has been issued in your case, you can contact the clerk of court or your local police department to find out why it was issued and what you will need to do to have it lifted. Under New Jersey Court Rules, several common reasons exist for why a judge may have taken action to place a bench warrant against you. Generally, these warrants are used in cases where you ignored a court summons or failed to comply with the terms of an existing court order that was in place. Examples include:

  • Failure to pay fines on parking tickets and traffic violations
  • Failure to appear for arraignment or a scheduled court hearing
  • Violations of your bail or bond conditions
  • Violations of the terms of your parole or probation
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failure to comply with court rules and procedures.

Finding out exactly why the warrant has been issued plays an important role in avoiding arrest. Depending on the situation, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Jason A. Volet may be able to work with prosecuting attorneys and others involved to have your warrant recalled or to make the appropriate arrangements to satisfy the underlying legal issues. In addition to protecting your freedom, he can help to avoid some of the other negative consequences of having an active bench warrant out against you.

Driver’s License Suspension and Bench Warrants

Unfortunately, when a bench warrant issued, it is common for a notice of driver’s license suspension to be issued as well. If you suspect this is the case in your situation, you will want to contact the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to find out for sure.

In addition to the sheer inconvenience a driver’s license suspension causes, being unable to drive can prevent you from working, going to school, attending doctor visits and meeting your family obligations. It also subjects you to arrest if you are stopped in your vehicle by the police. All of these ramifications are viewed by the court as additional motivating factors for you to either surrender yourself to the court or to address the underlying issue which caused your bench warrant to be put into effect in the first place.

Repercussions of a Bench Warrant

The major and most obvious repercussion of a bench warrant is the fact that it subjects you to immediate arrest. The stress of knowing that you have an active warrant out against you can affect your physical and emotional health, your job performance and your relationships with family and friends. In addition to the hardships associated with the loss of your driving privileges, other ramifications of a bench warrant in New Jersey include:

  • Revocation of the terms surrounding your parole or probation
  • Revocation of the terms surrounding any alternative sentencing agreements or pretrial intervention programs you may have been eligible for
  • Addition fines, court costs and criminal charges.

The fact that a bench warrant has been issued against you will appear as part of your criminal record, alongside of your charges. This could prevent you from obtaining employment, housing, or even student loans. It will follow you wherever you go, and it could result in your extradition if you move out of the area or to another state. In our area alone, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office makes more than 900 arrests on warrants each year. To avoid having this hang over your head, it is important to take the steps to resolve the issues surrounding your bench warrant right away.

How Do You Lift a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant will stay active and remain on your record indefinitely until you are either arrested, or the matter is resolved. Rather than continuing to evade the issue, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Jason A. Volet can guide you in getting your bench warrant lifted.

One of the first steps in lifting a bench warrant is to appear in court. Under New Jersey law, you can be subject to immediate arrest and a 72-hour hold while a hearing is scheduled. However, having a lawyer by your side can help you to avoid this. By negotiating on your behalf, we may be able to have your bench warrant lifted without you being placed under arrest. Common defenses which can be raised are:

  • You were not properly notified of hearing dates or time
  • You did not receive notice of the terms of an order
  • You suffered an unexpected illness, injury or other hardship
  • An error in court administration or procedure occurred in your case.

Contact Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Law Firm for Immediate Help

If you are facing a bench warrant in New Jersey, The Law Office of Jason A. Volet is here to help you. We can advise you on how to successfully resolve underlying legal issues, avoid jail time and face other repercussions. We have offices conveniently located in Freehold and Neptune. So, contact our New Jersey criminal law firm and receive a consultation today.

What Are the Fines and Prison Terms for Aggravated Assault in New Jersey?

If you are charged with aggravated assault in New Jersey, you need to take the charge seriously. While simple assault is a disorderly persons offense, or misdemeanor, aggravated assault is an indictable offense, or felony. If convicted for the offense, you could face a significant fine and prison sentence as well as:

  • Restitution payment to the alleged victim
  • Mandatory participation in anger management classes
  • Loss of the right to possess a firearm.

A conviction for aggravated assault can also follow you through life as you search for a job, pursue an education or look for housing. Your future and your family’s future could be in jeopardy.

Here, we take a closer look at the possible fines and prison terms for aggravated assault in New Jersey as spelled out in N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b). Remember: An arrest does not automatically result in a conviction. With help from an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor such as Jason A. Volet, you can fight the charge and fight for your future. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Second-Degree Aggravated Assault in New Jersey

If you are convicted of a second-degree crime in New Jersey, you face a potential fine of up to $150,000 and a prison term of five to 10 years. Additionally, under the No Early Release Act (NERA), you must serve at least 85 percent of your sentence before you can be eligible for parole. To prove you are guilty of second-degree aggravated assault, a prosecutor must prove that you did any one of the following:

  • Attempted to cause serious bodily injury to another or caused such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances showing an extreme indifference to the value of human life.
  • Caused bodily injury to another while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer or while operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.
  • Caused significant or serious bodily injury by knowingly or purposely starting a fire or causing an explosion that resulted in injury to any responding emergency services personnel. (If you caused merely bodily injury, it would be a third-degree crime.)

Types Of Injures Important To Aggravated Assault Charges

As you can see, when you are dealing with an aggravated assault charge, it will be important know the difference between three types of injuries:

  • Bodily injury – This is an injury that involves physical pain, illness or impairment of a physical condition.
  • Significant bodily injury – An injury that results in a temporary loss of any one of the five senses or the function of an organ or bodily member.
  • Serious bodily injury – An injury that creates a substantial risk of death, serious and permanent disfigurement or extended loss or impairment of the function of an organ or bodily member.

An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney will know how to look at the medical evidence in a case. For instance, a prosecutor may be forced to drop an aggravated assault charge to simple assault if the evidence shows that the alleged victim suffered only a bodily injury and not a significant or serious one.

Third-Degree Aggravated Assault in New Jersey

A conviction for a third-degree crime in New Jersey carries a possible fine of up to $15,000 and a prison sentence of three to five years. Many types of aggravated assault charges fall into this category. To convict you of third-degree aggravated assault, a prosecutor must show that you did any one of the following acts:

  • Attempted to cause or purposely or knowingly caused bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
  • Attempted to cause significant bodily injury to another or caused such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances showing an extreme indifference to the value of human life.
  • Knowingly pointed or displayed a firearm at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer, showing extreme indifference to the value of human life.
  • Knowingly pointed, displayed or used an imitation firearm to intimidate, threaten or attempt to scare a law enforcement officer.
  • Used or activated a laser sighting system or device (or an imitation system or device) against a law enforcement officer in the course of duty.
  • Attempted to cause significant bodily injury or caused significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances showing extreme indifference to the value of human life to a person who meets the definition of a domestic violence victim.
  • Knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly obstructed the breathing or blood circulation of a person who falls within the definition of a domestic violence victim by putting pressure on the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth.

Additionally, you can face a third-degree aggravated assault charge if you commit a simple assault that causes bodily injury to any one of the following while they are performing their professional duties:

  • Law enforcement or corrections officer
  • Paid or volunteer fireman
  • Emergency medical responder
  • Teacher, administrator, bus driver or other school employee
  • Employee of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency
  • Member of the judiciary
  • Bus driver or rail passenger service operator
  • Utility worker or cable company employee
  • Health care or psychiatric care worker.

If the simple assault on of those workers does not result in bodily injury, then it is a fourth-degree crime.

Fourth-Degree Aggravated Assault in New Jersey

If you are convicted of a fourth-degree crime in New Jersey, you can face a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 18 months. For a fourth-degree aggravated assault charge, the prosecutor would need to prove that you did any one of the following:

  • Recklessly caused bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
  • Knowingly under circumstances showing an extreme indifference to the value of human life pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another, regardless of whether you believed the gun was loaded.
  • Committed a simple assault upon an institutionalized elderly person when you were employed by a nursing home or similar long-term care facility.
  • Committed a simple assault upon another at a school or community-sponsored youth sports event while in the presence of a child under age 16.

Get Help from an Experienced New Jersey Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyer

Attorney Jason A. Volet is a former Monmouth County criminal prosecutor who now aggressively defends those who have been charged with serious crimes such as aggravated assault. Over the course of his career, he has successfully handled more than 2,000 criminal cases. He can go to work for you today.

Aggravated assault carries serious consequences. You need to begin your defense immediately. So, don’t wait to get help from The Law Office of Jason A. Volet. Call or reach us online now for a free and confidential consultation.

Underage Drinking in New Jersey

Possession of Alcohol Underage in NJ Results in a Fine

Most people know that the legal age to consume alcohol in New Jersey is 21. If a person under the legal drinking age, or a “minor,” is caught holding or drinking alcohol in our state, the minor could face consequences that go well beyond a criminal charge. As we discuss below, a charge and conviction could also affect the minor’s ability to pursue future education and career opportunities.

However, if you or your child recently received a citation for underage drinking in New Jersey, don’t give up hope. Instead, get help from an experienced DUI lawyer who has handled underage drinking cases as both a prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Jason A. Volet today. He will review your case in a free and confidential consultation and work with you to craft a strategic defense.

What Are New Jersey’s Underage Drinking Laws?

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15, a minor can face a disorderly persons charge if he or she:

  • Knowingly possesses an alcoholic beverage without legal authority or knowingly consumes an alcoholic beverage
  • In any school, public place or motor vehicle.

What Penalties Could a Minor If Convicted Of an Underage Drinking Offense.

If convicted of the offense, which is the equivalent of a misdemeanor, the minor could face direct penalties that include:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • A fine between $500 and $1,000
  • Suspension or postponement of driving privileges for six months (if the minor commits the underage drinking offense in a motor vehicle)
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol education or treatment program.

The minor is not the only one who could be in trouble for underage drinking. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15(e) and 33:1-81.1a, the parent, guardian or other person with legal custody of a person under age 18 who is convicted of underage drinking can also face a fine of $500 if the minor is subsequently convicted of the offense, and the prosecutor presents evidence that the person “failed or neglected to exercise reasonable supervision or control over the conduct” of the minor.

Does an Underage Drinking Offense Go on a Minor’s Record?

Underage drinking is a crime. Just because a person is a minor when an offense occurs, it does not mean that he or she will be spared a lifetime of potential negative consequences for his or her actions. Under limited circumstances, options may be available down the road for getting a charge expunged. With that said, the risk of getting a conviction on one’s record makes it important to wage a strong defense now if you or your child has been charged with underage drinking.

Other Consequences for Underage Drinking in New Jersey

Sadly, the consequences of an underage drinking conviction go beyond the criminal penalties. Here are just a few of the unfortunate realities of life after an underage drinking conviction:

  • Work. Many employers will reject a job application if the person has a criminal conviction on his or record even if it is a relatively minor offense such as underage drinking. Plus, certain career fields have licensure requirements that limit opportunities for those with criminal convictions.
  • Education. With a recent criminal conviction or pending charge for underage drinking, many colleges will deny admission or financial aid to a student.
  • Military service. It may depend on military demands and the needs of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, many military enlistments are held up or even outright denied due to criminal convictions.

Other intangible issues come with a criminal conviction such as the social stigma which attaches to it. Plenty of people will view a conviction as a moral failing or evidence that a young person is not fit for accepting responsibilities. While this view may be an unfair one, it is simply one of the harsh realities that a young person must face if he or she is convicted of underage drinking.

Defenses to Prosecution for Underage Drinking in New Jersey

In a few situations, an underage individual could be either exempt from the ban on possession of alcohol by a minor or immune from prosecution. Those situations are:

  • A minor can possess an alcohol beverage if the minor is actually engaged in the performance of his or her job duties with an employment permit issued by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, working for a hotel or restaurant or preparing food while enrolled in a culinary arts or hotel management program.
  • If an underage person calls 911 and reports underage consumption requiring medical attention, then the person calling for help and the person receiving medical attention are immune from prosecution. If the underage person who called for help disclosed to the operator the names of up to two other people who were involved in underage drinking, then those people would be immune as well.

Public policy supports these rules. After all, we want minors to work and receive job training. Additionally, we want to encourage minors to “do the right thing” and get medical attention for a friend in need – even if the minor may have initially made a poor choice.

How Can a New Jersey Underage Drinking Defense Lawyer Help?

At The Law Office of Jason A. Volet, we aggressively protect the rights of those who have been charged with underage drinking. Some of the steps that we can take on behalf of you or your child are:

  • Taking over communications. You won’t need to talk directly with the police or prosecutors. Attorney Jason A. Volet can represent you in those discussions.
  • Reviewing the evidence. Jason is a former Monmouth County prosecutor who knows how prosecutors pursue charges against defendants, including minors charged with underage drinking. He can review the facts of your case, identify problems with the prosecution’s evidence and craft a solid defense strategy.
  • Negotiating for a better deal. If you or your child wants to avoid going to trial, Jason can work with prosecutors and pursue a plea agreement that minimizes the consequences of a conviction. He can also explore sentencing alternatives.
  • Fighting for you at trial. If your case goes to trial, Jason can bring many years of dedicated criminal defense experience to the courtroom on your behalf. You can be assured that your case will be in good hands, and he will put your rights and interests first at all times.

Don’t look back years later and regret your decisions after an underage drinking charge. Contact us for a free case review and get an aggressive criminal defense law firm on your side today.

Understanding Shoplifting

Ranking as the country’s top property crime, shoplifting is a serious concern in the United States. Shoplifting results in more than $20 billion dollars in property loss annually for U.S. retailers. Because of the sheer number of thefts and revenue loss linked to shoplifting, many states have taken a harsh stance and have strengthened their criminal penalties for anyone convicted of these charges. Today we give you the basic keys to understanding shoplifting.

How Do Shoplifting Charges Work?

Contact New Jersey criminal defense attorney Jason Volet today for a free consultation.There are two different types of shoplifting charges that a person may face, defined as theft under the criminal code. The details on these charges can change from state to state, but many of the same rules apply.

The lesser shoplifting charge, petty theft, can occur when a person takes a small-value piece of property, such as a movie or some food. These charges typically only deal with property under a certain value.

The more serious allegations come when the stolen item’s value exceeds this maximum petty theft value. If a person steals something or a number of items exceeding the petty theft value, they may be charged with grand theft. These charges often carry severe mandatory sentencing if a person is convicted.

How Can You Fight Shoplifting Charges?

The criminal justice system is complex and often confusing for many people. It’s common to rely on a legal advisor to help if charged with petty or grand theft crimes. Arrests for shoplifting usually only occur after some physical evidence of theft has been uncovered, making these allegations particularly tough to fight.

If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, you could be facing anywhere from probation through jail; shoplifting can be graded as a disorderly person’s offense which will be heard in municipal court or it can be graded as a fourth degree or a third degree or even a second degree depending on the value of the items that were taken. In order for the state to prove that you’ve committed a shoplifting, they have to prove that you have passed all point of sales and that you intended to take that merchandise without paying for it. If you’ve been charged with this crime, contact an attorney immediately to defend you against these charges.

If you’re facing shoplifting charges and aren’t sure about what next steps to take, I may be able to help you. Contact me today to schedule a free case evaluation. Once I have learned about your situation I can explain the options available.

What To Do If Your Child Was Caught Shoplifting

First and foremost, remain calm. Most prosecutors acknowledge the difference between impulsive shoplifting for an inexpensive item from a felony shoplifting arrest.

If your daughter is arrested for shoplifting, the best course of action is usually to seek the counsel of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.  An experienced lawyer can immediately begin representing your daughter and protecting her interests against the state.

Unfortunately, many times parents believe that if they call the prosecutor’s office and explain that this is the first time their daughter has been arrested, that the prosecution’s office will simply dismiss the case. Usually, this is not the best course of action.

Prosecutors are usually willing to speak to a criminal defense attorney, as it’s typically necessary during any criminal proceeding. As a criminal defense attorney with more than 15 years of legal experience, my job will be to speak with the prosecution’s office to understand their thoughts and objectives. I have a wealth of experience and knowledge concerning how shoplifting cases are typically handled. I will use this experience to seek the best possible outcome based upon how the prosecution’s office has handled similar cases.

Before speaking with the prosecution’s office, I will want to fully understand the circumstances relating to the case. Often the case of the prosecution may be weak. They may not have any eyewitnesses who want to be involved. There may be other facts that cast doubt on whether they can prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

In these cases, it may be more advantageous to pursue having the charges dropped entirely. If the prosecutor won’t drop the charges, pursuing a plea bargain is another option. Once I know about the facts and circumstances, I can offer legal advice and strategy on how to proceed.

Please Call Me to Learn More

I am happy to meet with you to learn more about any shoplifting or other criminal charge. It’s important to consider retaining a theft defense lawyer as soon as possible, so that your interests are protected and rights are preserved.


3 Common Questions You May Have About Your Miranda Rights

When a person is arrested, the police are supposed to read them their rights as a person facing criminal allegations. This reading, sometimes known as a Miranda warning or a reading of the Miranda rights, is a basic part of most arrests and is required in many cases. However, not all arrests require the reading of these rights at the time of arrest.

If you have been arrested and are facing criminal charges, it is important that you obtain vigorously committed legal representation in your case. For a free consultation regarding your case, contact the New Jersey criminal lawyers of the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at (732) 863-5050.

Do the Police Have to Read the Miranda Rights Every Time?

It is not required that police officers always read a person their Miranda rights if they want to question them. In some cases, officers may stop someone on the street or take them to the police station and ask them about a crime without reading these individuals their Miranda rights. This is typically acceptable because these individuals are not in police custody at the time of questioning.

What Are the Miranda Rights?

The Miranda rights are a set of warnings issued to a a person being questioned by the police which are intended to prevent them from self-incrimination. These rights insulate a person against unfair interrogation or being forced by the police to make a false statement. They include the right to remain silent, the right to seek a legal advisor, and the right to stop speaking to a police officer at any point during an interrogation.

Contact New Jersey criminal defense attorney Jason Volet today for a free consultation.What Happens if These Rights Are Not Read?

If an officer is supposed to read these rights, but fails to do so, the information obtained through subsequent questioning cannot be used in court. This includes any confessions that may have been issued.

What are My Rights if I am Arrested in New Jersey?

When you are arrested for a crime, you are still entitled to certain inalienable rights under the law. The police cannot take these rights from you, and if they do violate them by making a wrongful arrest or neglecting proper procedure, the charges against you may be dropped.

Under the U.S. Constitution you have the following rights:

  • The right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.
  • The right to hire a lawyer or have one provided for you by the state.
  • The right to a fair trial before your peers.
  • Protection against improper search and seizure.

Contact Us

If you were arrested, taken into police custody, and questioned, you should have received a reading of your rights. If the police failed to do this, a skilled and experienced criminal attorney may be able to have related evidence excluded from consideration of your case.

An experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can help to explain your rights and your options during questioning, your hearing, and your trial. To speak with an attorney about your criminal charges and organizing your legal defense, contact the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at (732) 863-5050.


How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

With a multitude of internet resources and books available regarding how the law works, many people believe that they are capable of handling their own defense if charged with a crime. However, even minor criminal convictions can have significantly greater effects than a person may first realize. Additionally, criminal defense cases can prove complicated in some cases, virtually requiring professional legal help.

When you are arrested for a crime, the prosecution will likely take an aggressive stance to try to convict you as quickly and as severely as possible. You need an experienced New Jersey criminal lawyer who understands your rights and criminal charges and can fight back in your defense. A criminal attorney can help you through all steps of your criminal case, from advising you during police questioning to gathering evidence and testimony in your defense.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

Attorneys can provide invaluable services during a person’s criminal defense case. Some defendants may not see the point in hiring an attorney, however. This is especially the case if they intend on pleading guilty or don’t believe that the penalties are serious enough to warrant a legal advisor’s help. However, a lawyer can provide the following important services:

  • Work through important legal procedures and paperwork.
  • Prepare a strong legal defense against a criminal charge.
  • Take some of the burden of dealing with legal problems.
  • Provide advice when difficult decisions arise.

Even seemingly minor criminal charges can have long-term consequences for a person, making his or her criminal defense case all the more important.

If you’re facing criminal charges and are thinking about representing yourself in court, you may want to at least speak with an attorney first to learn more about your options. For a confidential consultation, contact me today. Once I have learned about your case I can explain the options available.

Having a knowledgeable, competent lawyer on your side during your criminal trial can make all the difference in your case. Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys understand the ins and outs of the criminal system and will work aggressively to pursue a favorable resolution for your case.

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

When a person is facing prosecution for criminal charges, they may want to find a legal defender who can provide a strong defense for their rights. The criminal defense process can be particularly complex at times, making it all the more important for a legal defender to have a strong understanding of the law and how to use it to defend a client. With this in mind, it’s important for a person facing criminal accusations to find a worthwhile attorney.

There are thousands of criminal defense attorneys in the state of New Jersey, making the choice of picking a single representative more difficult. However, there are some important indicators that a person may want to look for when searching for legal help. These things include:

These important pieces of information can help a person get a clearer picture of who an attorney is and how capable they are of successfully working with clients.

Who is the Best New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case?

When searching for the best New Jersey criminal defense lawyer for a case, people often turn to the Internet to look for search rankings or some other type of objective criteria, such as a list. As with all professions, there is not a single objective measure of what constitutes the “best.” There are, however, certain criteria that may be important for you or your case, such as the following:

Certification by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney

In New Jersey, experienced criminal trial lawyers can apply to be certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney. To learn more about New Jersey criminal trial attorney certification, please read the articles on this site. Certification requires meeting a number of standards, including recognition by other attorneys. I am one of a limited number of attorneys in New Jersey who have been certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney.

Litigation and Trial Experience

Another aspect to consider in choosing a criminal defense lawyer is the amount of experience that the lawyer has. I have been an attorney focused on criminal law matters for more than 15 years, and have worked on more than 2000 cases, starting as a former Assistant Prosecutor in Monmouth County. Having formerly served as a prosecutor, I know what it’s like to practice criminal law as both a prosecutor and defense attorney.

Trust and Dedication

Criminal matters are serious. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need an attorney not only whom you can trust, but one who will work tirelessly in seeking to achieve for you the best outcome possible given the facts and circumstances of your case.

I and my firm have the experience, dedication, and trust that are often highly sought after in searches for a criminal defense attorney. We provide all of our clients with tenacious representation and full attention to their matter.

If you need a criminal defense lawyer, we would look forward to meeting with you and learning about the events pertaining to your charge, whereupon we can explain how we can help if we are retained. Please call our firm to schedule an appointment at your convenience.

Never Try to Represent Yourself Against a Serious Criminal Charge in Criminal Defense Case

In the legal world, there is a saying that “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This adage recognizes that even lawyers should retain legal counsel in serious legal matters rather than representing themselves.

If a lawyer, who has the legal education and perhaps many years of legal practice, should retain another lawyer instead of representing himself or herself, so too should non-lawyers retain a lawyer for a legal matter.

In criminal matters, the law is complicated and prosecutors work hard in seeking to convict. They want their conviction rate to be high so that their record looks good. Their job is not to care about how a legal conviction may affect the life or family of a person charged with a crime.

An experienced criminal defense attorney often will have years of practical experience and be in a much better position to advocate strongly and develop solid legal strategy than a person who has no training in the law.

Experienced criminal lawyers know how to spot evidence that may be inadmissible, and how to move to seek that such evidence is never introduced at trial. In the case where the prosecution’s main evidence is likely to be inadmissible, a criminal attorney may remind the prosecutor of the prosecutor’s legal duty to dismiss a case if there is not credible and admissible evidence upon which a conviction may be obtained. Experienced criminal lawyers thus not only focus on winning a case at trial, but also on strategies to have cases dismissed or charges reduced wherever possible prior to trial.

When charged with a crime, you should never try to go it alone.

The stakes are usually too high. If you’ve been charged with a crime, please call our office to schedule an appointment to learn how we may be able to help.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer.

What Is Time Frame to Expunge My Record in New Jersey?

Expunging your record in New Jersey, unfortunately, is a fairly lengthy process which can take upwards of six or seven months. If a determination has been made that your record can be expunged, then the necessary paperwork has to be done. So what does that include? That includes the order, it includes the verified petition signed by you, it includes copies of judgment of convictions or dispositions and ultimately we have to get a court date. Once that court date comes along and that order is signed, that paperwork is then sent back to our office and has to be re-sent out to all the agencies that now need to start conforming their records and basically putting them off to the side so that they would not show up on a background check.

How Long Does It Take To Have My Record Expunged?

It generally takes somewhere in the neighborhood of around three months to get that hearing date once the paperwork is done. It then takes another twelve weeks before we get the letter back from the state police indicating that they have now confirmed their records and they are sending the Expungement on to the FBI. That is the important letter, the letter from the state police, because that’s the letter that shows everywhere that your record has now been expunged, so the short answer, again, is probably six or seven months to get that taken care of.

Do I Have The Ability To Have My Record Expunged?

The answer to that is maybe.

You may have heard that you can have your record wiped clean. Some arrests and convictions can be expunged (wiped clean) from your record. Others cannot. In some drug cases your record may, in fact, be eligible to be expunged. Expungement means that there would not be a record of your arrest and conviction. An expungement of your record would make it easier for you to apply for many jobs, and a background check would not reveal anything about this past mistake.

What Factors Will Play Into Having My Record Expunged?

There are a number of factors that will play into whether or not you can have that record expunged such as what is your prior record? How many incidences do you have on that prior record? How long ago did those incidences happen? Has there been a sufficient amount of time that has passed since then? Do you fall under one of the public interest categories that is not basically an automatic or an expungement that really never has an issue with the prosecutor’s office? These are all factors that need to be taken into consideration when making a determination as to whether or not your record can be expunged.

Who Should I Call to Learn About Seeking Expungement in New Jersey for My Conviction?

Anyone who has a criminal record recognizes how tough it may be to find a job. All things being equal, prospective employers will hire the person without a criminal record.

In most instances, those who have had a criminal conviction expunged can truthfully answer “no” on job applications if asked about whether they have had a prior conviction. The same response also can be given in a job interview if a person is asked this question directly. The person need not explain that they had been convicted and that the conviction was expunged.

If you have been convicted of a criminal offense in New Jersey, find out if your conviction is eligible for expungement.  Contact me to learn about whether expungement is available for you, and to learn how I can help.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Expungement Lawyer.

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