img

Can You Beat a Speeding Ticket?

Speeding-Ticket2

It takes just an instant…you’re driving on unfamiliar roads or you’re thinking about something else while behind the wheel. Suddenly, you see flashing lights in your mirror and realize that you’ve been traveling above the speed limit. A speeding ticket can be costly—you can incur substantial fines and there’s a chance that your automobile insurance rates will go up. Maybe you were driving a new car or you simply weren’t aware of the posted speed. Is there any way to challenge or minimize the consequences of a speeding ticket?

It’s important to understand up front that successfully challenging a speeding ticket is extremely difficult and can depend on a variety of circumstance, some of which will be beyond your control and some of which you might be able to impact. Here are some tips for getting the best outcome:

  • Don’t get into a debate or confrontation with the officer—Even though you may think the police officer was wrong, you won’t accomplish much by arguing or challenging what he or she saw. If there are extenuation circumstances—you’re driving a rental car, for instance, and you are unfamiliar with its power or cruise control—carefully and courteously explain that to the officer. You may get off with a warning, or the officer may simply choose not to show up if you challenge the ticket in court.
  • Write a letter—If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the officer at the time of the traffic stop, don’t worry. It can be nerve-wracking to try to remain calm when you’ve been pulled over. When you calm down, write the officer a letter, outlining any unusual or extenuating circumstances that contributed to or caused you to exceed the speed limit.
  • See if the prosecutor will strike a deal—You can talk to the prosecutor before the scheduled date of trial to see if a plea bargain can be negotiated. You may be able to escape any points on your record by pleading to a lesser offense.
  • Gather your evidence—If you do end up in court, you’ll have to convince the judge that your version of the facts is more likely than that of a police officer. To do that, you’ll need compelling evidence. Take pictures of anything that’s relevant—speed limit signs blocked by trees, for example—and be prepared to have eyewitnesses give testimony in court.

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.

Tips for Avoiding a DWI/DUI in New Jersey

DUI-in-New-Jersey1

Simply being arrested for drinking and driving can be a costly enterprise. If you’re convicted, you can face the loss of your driving privileges, incur substantial fines and go through substance abuse counseling. Here are some tips for minimizing the risk of a DUI arrest.

Don’t Drink and Drive

It’s common sense, but often hard to do. There can be a lot of pressure to have a few beers at a party, especially if everyone else is doing it. But it’s always a risky proposition to have any alcohol and get behind the wheel. You don’t have to be driving erratically to be pulled over. The police only need probable cause to believe that you have violated any law or ordinance. You can get pulled over for a minor traffic violation, feel completely in control of your faculties, but blow a BAC above the legal limit and suddenly be in the nightmare of a drunk driving prosecution.

Don’t Draw Attention to Yourself or Your Car

The police need probable cause to pull you over. As indicated above, that doesn’t require that you weave back and forth on the road. You might have a tail light out or your vehicle registration may have expired. You might fail to come to a complete stop at a traffic light or sign. Once you’ve been stopped, the police can ask if you’ve been drinking, or can required a field sobriety or blood alcohol test. Don’t give them a good reason to stop you in the first place. Maintain your vehicle and make certain everything is current.

Have the Party at Your House

It’s summer and you want to have a few beers…why not invite everyone to your house. You won’t have to worry about drinking and driving. Pay attention to your guests, though. If someone drinks too much at your party and causes an accident, you could be liable.

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.

What Is Embezzlement in New Jersey?

Embezzlement-in-New-Jersey

If you are under investigation for or have been charged with the crime of embezzlement in New Jersey, you’ll need sound legal counsel to protect your rights. Unlike many other types of crimes, embezzlement is typically treated as both a criminal offense and a civil wrong. That means that you can be convicted and serve time and that you can be sued for the recovery of funds taken.

What is Embezzlement?

Under the law, embezzlement is the theft or misappropriation of funds placed in your trust or belonging to your employer. Unlike other forms of larceny or theft, embezzlement involves wrongful taking of something the perpetrator had permission to handle in some way. While there are many ways in which embezzlement can take place, most often the crime occurs within the context of employment. It can be as simple as taking money from the cash register when no one is looking, but it can take a number of other forms:

  • Depositing vendor or customer checks into a personal account
  • Creating fake expenses
  • Preparing duplicate checks
  • Taking equipment or items intended for company use and converting them to personal use
  • Doctoring books (especially digitally maintained records) to hide losses, stolen amounts or payments to personal accounts

Embezzlement can also occur outside of the employment relationship. If you have been entrusted with money or property in any organization, and you convert assets of the organization to personal use, that’s embezzlement. Pocketing money from a fundraiser, selling a family member’s property and taking the proceeds, cashing someone else’s Social Security or other government check—those are all examples of embezzlement.

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.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in New Jersey

Drug-Paraphernalia

In New Jersey, as in other states, police and prosecutors take drug crimes seriously. The penalties for possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), trafficking, cultivation and conspiracy can be severe. But you don’t even have to be caught with illegal drugs. Like most other jurisdictions, New Jersey has laws that make it a crime to possess certain “drug paraphernalia.” Possession of drug paraphernalia, though not as serious as other drug crimes, can lead to a jail term of six months and $1,000 in fines.

What Constitutes Drug Paraphernalia

New Jersey has a fairly broad definition of the term “drug paraphernalia.” It can include almost anything involved in the use, cultivation, manufacture, testing or storage of controlled dangerous substances. That includes some of the items you’d expect, such as rolling papers, special pipes or bongs and roach clips. It can also include certain household items, such as baggies or jars, or scales. It’s also pretty common, if police find drug residue on a pipe or other device, to have a charge of possession tacked on.

When an Item May Be Used for Other Purposes

If you are found to be in possession of items that are known to be used in connection with illegal drugs, but which also have non-drug-related uses, the court will typically apply a five-part test to determine if the materials are drug paraphernalia:

  • What have you told others about the purpose or use of the item?
  • What other possible uses are there for the item?
  • How would the item be used in connection with a CDS?
  • Is there any drug residue on the item?
  • Is there any other evidence indicating the actual usage of the item?

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.

Firearms Offenses in New Jersey

Fireearms Offenses

Though the 2nd Amendment has been held to grant certain rights with respect to the ownership of firearms, those rights are not absolute. The state of New Jersey has enacted a number of laws governing the possession and use of guns, including:

  • Possession of a firearm during the commission of certain crimes
  • Possession of a gun for unlawful purposes
  • Possession of an assault weapon
  • Possession of a firearm without a license or permit
  • Threatening a person with a firearm
  • Possession of a gun (or even a fake firearm) at a school

The penalties for violation of firearms laws in New Jersey are severe. As a general rule, any firearms conviction can lead to a minimum sentence of five years in prison and up to 10 years of incarceration. Under the Graves Act, New Jersey’s firearms law, you must serve at least three years before you can be considered eligible for parole.

Defenses to a Firearms Charge

Because of the seriousness with which prosecutors approach gun cases, it can be extremely difficult to defend a firearms charge in New Jersey. The most common defenses include:

  • Challenging the validity of the search—If law enforcement officers allege that the search was consensual, produce evidence that indicates you were coerced or misled into giving your consent.
  • Challenging the validity of the search warrant—A search warrant must generally be based on probable cause. Show that the officer had no reasonable suspicion or belief that you were engaged in illegal activity
  • Challenging the traffic stop—As a general rule, you can’t be pulled over unless the officer has probable cause that you are violating the law
  • Arguing that the possession was legal under New Jersey’s “gun transportation” policy—You don’t need a permit to carry a firearm if you are transporting it between
    • Your residence or business and any place of purchase
    • Your home and your place of business
    • From one residence or place of business to another as part of a move
    • Between your home or business and a firearms repair service

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.

White Collar Crime in New Jersey

White Collar Crime

Forgery…embezzlement…fraud…misappropriation of assets…these types of crimes generally fall under the terminology of “white collar crimes,” offenses of opportunity typically committed by people who have been given access to funds or property because of their position in an organization. They are complex cases, often taking years to investigate. Here are some of the important things to know if you are under investigation for or have been charged with committing a white collar crime.

What Must the Prosecution Show to Obtain a Conviction on a White Collar Crime Charge?

As a general rule, white collar crimes require intent. You cannot commit a white collar crime through carelessness or negligence. Accordingly, the prosecution must show that your wrongful actions were intentional, knowledgeable or willful.

You can be charged and convicted of a white collar crime, even if you don’t successfully complete the scheme. You cannot be charged for thinking about embezzlement, fraud or forgery, or even for entertaining the idea with another person. However, if you take any identifiable steps toward putting a plan together or implementing that plan, you can be charged and you may be found guilty. You may not be charged for suggesting to a co-employee that you redirect profits into your personal bank account (although you might get fired for saying so), but if you falsify a company check to yourself, you can be charged, even if you don’t cash the check.

Defenses to White Collar Criminal Charges

There are a number of ways to challenge a white collar crime charge. Because it’s a crime that requires intent, that’s the first and most obvious defense. If you can show that you didn’t know you were doing anything wrong, that may be a defense.

Another effective defense, if it applies, is entrapment. This defense argues that law enforcement officers initiated the idea and used coercion, misrepresentation or undue influence to convince you to participate.

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.

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.