Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances in New Jersey

Dry and trimmed cannabis buds, stored in glass jars

Though New Jersey has a number of laws governing the possession of illegal drugs, the Garden State takes a slightly different approach than most other jurisdictions. Specifically, New Jersey classifies certain drugs as “controlled dangerous substances.” While marijuana falls under the definition of a CDS, it is regulated differently than such things as heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine.

The New Jersey Statutory Scheme for Controlled Dangerous Substances

Under New Jersey statutes, there are five different schedules, or classifications, of illegal drugs. Schedule I includes the most dangerous controlled substances, those with the highest addiction rates and least amount of medical value. The remaining four schedules involve decreasing levels of addiction and/or greater medical importance.

When you have been arrested for possession of any CDS, the first thing you need to do is determine where the drug fits in the statutory scheme. Your potential sentence could vary substantially, based on the nature of the offense. If you are convicted of a Schedule I, II, III or IV violation, the penalties can include three to five years in prison, a fine of as much as $35,000 or both. A schedule V offense can lead to 18 months in prison and a $15,000 penalty. If you are found to possess a CDS within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus, you can also be required to serve 100 hours of community service.

Repeat offenders face significantly stiffer penalties, often double the sanctions, including fines of up to $50,000 and additional prison terms.

Contact Jack Venturi Law

Our team has the experience, skill, knowledge and resources to aggressively protect your rights. For a confidential consultation, contact us online or call us toll free at 866-339-7801. We represent clients throughout Middlesex County, Union County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Essex County and Somerset County.

Stalking Offenses in New Jersey

Stalking Offenses

With the national attention that’s been directed at responding to and curbing domestic violence, most states, including New Jersey, have enacted statutes providing criminal sanctions for anything considered to constitute stalking. Here’s what you need to know if you are under suspicion for or have been charged with stalking in New Jersey.

What Acts Are Considered to Be Stalking?

Under New Jersey law, stalking requires a purposeful act—you cannot be charged with unintentionally or negligently stalking someone. To qualify as stalking, the conduct must be directed at a specific person and it must be such that a reasonable person would fear bodily injury or death. You can, however, be charged with stalking if you acted purposefully, but didn’t intend to cause fear, but did so anyway, as long as the fear was reasonable. Stalking is not restricted to physical threats of violence. You can be charged with stalking from making repeated phone calls, sending frequent e-mails, showing up at a person’s home or place of employment, showering a person with gifts, or using social media to regularly contact a person.

What is the Punishment for Conviction on a Charge of Stalking?

At a minimum, stalking will be charged as a crime of the 4th degree. If there’s a protective order in place, or if you are on parole or probation at the time of the offense, it can be elevated to a crime of the 3rd degree. A crime of the 3rd degree can result in up to three to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000. In addition, if you are convicted of a second stalking charge involving the same victim, the charge will automatically be charged as a crime of the 3rd degree. Your conviction also serves as an application for a permanent restraining order.

Contact Our Office

At Jack Venturi Law, we bring considerable skill, knowledge, experience and resources to criminal defendants across New Jersey. To schedule a private meeting, contact our office by e-mail or call us toll free at 866-339-7801. We represent clients throughout Middlesex County, Union County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Essex County and Somerset County.

Assault in New Jersey

Businessman kicking younger colleague lying on pavement

In New Jersey, there are two specific types of assault with which you can be charged—simple assault or aggravated assault. The nature of the charge will depend a number of factors, including whether or not a firearm or other weapon was used in the attack, how seriously the victim was hurt, or whether there are specific statutes that apply to the attack.

Simple Assault in New Jersey

The first thing to understand about assault is that it does not require a physical touching or injury. One of the ways that you can commit simple assault in New Jersey is to put another person in reasonable fear of imminent and serious bodily injury. It’s also assault to attempt to cause bodily harm to another person, or to cause bodily injury to another person. Such harm may be caused intentionally, recklessly or knowingly. However, it’s also possible to be charged with simple assault for a negligent act—the New Jersey statutes make it simple assault if you carelessly injury someone while using a deadly weapon.

Aggravated Assault in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the crime of simple assault may be elevated to aggravated assault under a number of specifically enumerated situations:

  • Where the assault is committed “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life
  • Where the assault involves a deadly weapon and the prosecutor can show intent, knowledge or recklessness
  • Where the defendant points a firearm at another person (loaded or not)
  • Where the person causing injury was fleeing a law enforcement officer or illegally driving a motor vehicle
  • Injuries to emergency personnel called to put out a fire started by the defendant
  • Using or activating a laser sighting system or similar device
  • Intentionally driving a motor vehicle in an aggressive manner
  • Committing assault against anyone with protected status in New Jersey, including
    • Police officers
    • Fire personnel
    • Emergency personnel
    • School board members or employees
    • Child Protection and Permanency personnel
    • Bus drivers
    • Department of Corrections workers
    • Utility workers
    • Health care workers
    • Psychiatric care personnel

Contact Jack Venturi Law

Our team has the experience, skill, knowledge and resources to aggressively protect your rights. For a confidential consultation, contact us online or call us toll free at 866-339-7801. We represent clients throughout Middlesex County, Union County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Essex County and Somerset County.

Results: Aggravated Criminal Sexual Conduct

Another good outcome for one of our clients.

My client was accused of aggravated criminal sexual conduct for fondling his wife’s sister’s daughter’s breasts at a family beach party at the Jersey Shore. He could have received up to 10 years in prison, 85% to be served before parole. I got him a plea to a lesser charge for a suspended prison sentence, with parole supervision for 15 years.

Results: Distribution

My client was charged with distribution of 10 pills of OxyCodone and looking at an extended term of 10 years in prison. Plain clothes officers claimed they viewed the exchange inside his car in a “high crime” area. Records I obtained under the Open Public Records Act, showed only 2 arrests in that area over the last year. Prosecutor offered him a plea for 1 year of probation for 1 bag of cocaine found on him when his car was stopped and he was arrested.

Results: Possession of Cannabis & Disorderly Conduct on A Federal Reservation

Another day, another awesome result from Jack Venturi Law!

My client was charged with possessing cannabis, disorderly conduct on a federal reservation and also for taking nude photographs of his wife at Sandy Hook beach. I got the charge against his wife dismissed and pre-trial diversion for him. (And, no, I did not view the images).

Results: Burglary Sentence Changed from 8 Years to 5 Years Probation

Another chapter in the book of great results!

My client went to trial on a burglary of a vacant building where he removed $100 worth of copper wire to sell for scrap money to buy synthetic cannabis. Despite being caught red-handed, freely confessing and having his nephew testify against him, he was, shockingly, found guilty by the jury which rejected my sterling defense that he did not form the required intent to steal until after he entered the building. Due to his prior record, the prosecutor requested an extended time of 8 years in prison, with 4 years minimum before parole. But I convinced the Judge to give him 5 years probation.

Results: Mandatory Minimum for NJ Gun Charge Dropped to 12 Months

Here is another great ending to a difficult case.

My client took his dad’s handgun andGun in an evidence bag ammunition, left his home in California, and hoboed his way to N.J., where he was reported as a “suspicious person” bathing in the woods. the police came and arrested him, and found the handgun in his backpack. He was facing a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison, with a mandatory 42 month before parole, under N.J.’s draconian gun law. I convinced the prosecutor to waive the minimum and drop it to 12 months. He has already served 9 months, so he pleaded guilty and will be paroled when he is sentenced.

Jack Venturi – Lawyer in New Brunswick – Wins Criminal Trial Practice Award

Criminal Trial Practice Award – New Brunswick, New Jersey

Jack Venturi, Esq.

Jack Venturi graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BS from the University of Connecticut in 1972 and JD from New York University School of Law in 1975. Having been admitted as an attorney in New Jersey on December 2, 1975, Jack recently celebrated his 40th anniversary as an attorney. He began his long and distinguished career by representing indigent individuals accused of crimes as an Assistant Deputy Public Defender in Union County. In 1979, he was hired as an Associate at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, PA in Woodbridge where he worked exclusively for the criminal defense practice department. In 1982, Jack opened his own office in New Brunswick where he has been practicing as a criminal defense attorney for the past 33 years.

Over the course of his career, Jack has successfully represented clients in thousands of cases including a number of high profile cases that have substantially impacted the practice of law in the criminal justice system. By way of example, in 1997, Jack represented Michael Behn who was accused of a murder that allegedly took place in South River. As a result of Jack’s efforts at the trial level, that conviction was overturned in 2005 by the Appellate Division which held that the trial court incorrectly allowed the prosecutors to introduce Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis evidence through the FBI which the Appellate Division ruled as junk science that falsely matches bullet fragments. Not long after, the FBI, having used CBLA since the 80’s in over 2500 cases, agreed that it was junk science and announced that they would stop using it in all cases.

In 2009, Jack was named Lawyer of the Year by the New Jersey Law Journal for using OPRA to pursue discovery that was initially denied by a trial court in a criminal case. By way of another example, just this past year in In Re A.B., the Appellate Division ruled that it is reversible error to deny a defendant the right to investigate a crime scene based on Jack’s tireless efforts to represent his client zealously and conduct a thorough investigation at the trial level. These are just a few examples of Jack’s body of work and how his professionalism has affected the practice of criminal law for the better by not only upholding individuals’ State and Federal Constitutional rights, but defining them through the practice of law.

Jack is regularly listed among the top 100 trial lawyers in New Jersey by the National Trial Lawyers Association, has been listed in the Top Ten Leaders of Criminal Defense Law from 2005 to present, has been listed in Super Lawyers of New Jersey from 2007 to present, has been Board Certified as Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and Strathmore’s Who’s Who named him “Professional of the Year” in the criminal law practice area in 2007. Recently, Jack has been informally ranked the “number one” criminal defense attorney by the Middlesex County Correctional Facility inmate population. Recognizing his experience and accomplishments, professional organizations frequently call upon Jack to speak and teach about a vast array of criminal law topics.

Jack is always called upon by colleagues, both defense attorneys and prosecutors, to discuss legal issues and learn from his experience and insight. He is constantly giving advice to members of the criminal justice community including public defenders and private defense attorneys in Middlesex and surrounding counties. His leadership in the area of criminal law, his significant contributions to the legal community, and his reputation for personal and professional integrity are undeniable.

By: Jonathan Cowles
Executive Director
Middlesex County Bar Association/Foundation

Simple and Aggravated Assault in New Jersey

Understanding the Difference between Simple and Aggravated Assault in New Jersey

Man arrested while wife watchesUnder the criminal laws of New Jersey, if you attempt to harm someone else, or if you intentionally cause injury to another person, you can be charged with assault. There are two levels of assault, though: simple assault and aggravated assault. Whether you will be charged with one or the other depends of a variety of factors.

Simple Assault

Under New Jersey law, you can be charged with simple assault for any of the following acts:

  • Intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause another person to suffer bodily injury
  • Negligently or carelessly causing bodily injury by using anything defined by the statute as a “deadly weapon.”
  • Intentionally causing another person to fear impending or immediate bodily injury

Intentionally is defined under the law as acting either knowingly or purposefully. Your act will be considered reckless if there’s a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” of bodily injury as a result, and you consciously disregard that risk.

Your actions will be considered negligent if a reasonable person would not have done the same thing.

Aggravated Assault

The New Jersey statute identifies eleven specific situations where simple assault will be elevated to aggravated assault. They include:

  • An attempt to cause “serious” bodily injury
  • An intentional attempt to cause bodily injury using a deadly weapon
  • Recklessly causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon
  • Causing bodily injury while attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, or while unlawfully operating a motor vehicle
  • Intentionally pointing a firearm at another person
  • Attempting or causing bodily injury in a way that shows an extreme indifference to the value of human life
  • Starting a fire or causing an explosion that results in injury to an emergency services worker
  • Pointing a real or imitation firearm at a police officer
  • Committing a simple assault against anyone defined by New Jersey statute as afforded special status, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, judges, Youth and Family Services workers, corrections officials, teachers or school employees, bus or public transit operators, utility or health care workers
  • Using any laser device that simulates the laser sighting alignment systems on certain firearms

Contact Jack Venturi Law

Our team has the experience, skill, knowledge and resources to aggressively protect your rights. For a confidential consultation, contact us online or call us toll free at 732-247-3340.