New Jersey Criminal Defense Law Blog

New Jersey Criminal Defense Law Blog

Home2021-02-04T17:09:24+00:00

The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, is a statewide criminal defense firm with twelve offices throughout New Jersey. Our team includes ten (10) attorneys that dedicate their practices exclusively to defending the accused, making it a unique commodity in the state. The qualifications of the lawyers are also impressive and include:

• Over 200 Years of Combined Experience Representing Clients Charged With Indictable Crimes, Disorderly Persons Offenses and Serious Motor Vehicle Violations
• Former County Prosecutors Who Have Served At The Highest Levels Such As Director Of Major Crimes, Juvenile, Domestic Violence, Special Operations, Homicide, Drug Task Force, Guns, and Even An Entire Trial Division
• Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys
• Recognition as Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, Top 10 Defense Lawyers in New Jersey by the National Academy, Ten Leaders in both Criminal Defense & DWI in New Jersey and Superlawyers

Free consultations with an attorney at the firm are always free. You can reach us 24/7 at 877-450-8301.

New Jersey Court Assesses the Failure to Properly Administer Miranda Rights

People throughout New Jersey are aware that if individuals are stopped by the police, they must first be advised of their Miranda rights before any interrogation begins. It is not typical, though, for a person to know the full extent of the Miranda warning or to know if a less then complete warning has been administered. Regardless of an individual’s independent knowledge of their rights, if an investigating officer fails to provide a proper warning to a defendant, it may result in the dismissal of any conviction that arises out of evidence obtained via the defendant’s interrogation, as shown in a recent New Jersey case. If you are accused of a crime, it is advisable to meet with an accomplished New Jersey criminal defense attorney to examine your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the police stopped a car in the early morning for a traffic violation. There were two passengers in the car, one of whom was the defendant, that the driver identified as minors. The police noticed an odor of alcohol during the stop and requested that the driver undergo field sobriety testing. The driver became belligerent and ordered the other passengers to take things from the car. When the passenger door was opened the smell of marijuana wafted out of the vehicle. The police then advised the defendant to place her belongings back in the car because, at that time, they were going to conduct a narcotics investigation. The defendant complied and was advised of her Miranda rights.

Allegedly, the officer then asked the defendant if a purse in the car belonged to her. She responded, yes. The officer did not confirm that the defendant waived her rights prior to questioning her. Narcotics were found in the purse. The defendant was then charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and was adjudicated delinquent. She appealed, arguing that she was not properly advised of her rights.

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By |August 21, 2020|Categories: Drug Offenses|

New Jersey Court Discusses Jury Instructions on Lesser Included Offenses

In many instances in which a defendant is charged with a serious crime, there will be evidence that may be enough for the State to obtain a conviction. In such instances, a defense attorney will often request that the court instruct the jury regarding any lesser included offenses of the crime with which the defendant is charged, in an attempt to avoid the greater penalty associated with the more serious misconduct. An instruction on lesser included offenses is not always warranted, however, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey case in which the defendant was convicted of murder. If you are charged with a serious crime, it is prudent to speak to a seasoned New Jersey criminal defense attorney to discuss your options for seeking the best result available under the facts of your case.

Facts and Procedural History

It is reported that the defendant, who worked for the victim, bound and gagged the victim and placed a sponge soaked with ammonia over her nose. He then, along with an accomplice, transported her to a wooded area where he proceeded to dig a hole and bury her. The accomplice testified that the victim was making noises and moving while she was being buried. An autopsy revealed that the victim died of asphyxiation. The defendant was charged with numerous crimes, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, and robbery.

Allegedly, during the trial, the defendant’s attorney requested a jury instruction on the lesser included offense of aggravated manslaughter to the first-degree murder charge, arguing that the defendant’s acts were reckless rather than intentional. The court denied the request, and the defendant was convicted as charged, after which he appealed.

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By |August 15, 2020|Categories: Murder|

Avoiding a Confession in a New Jersey Criminal Case

A confession by a defendant is an extremely powerful aspect of a criminal case. This is why police work so hard to persuade someone to admit to a crime prior to their obtaining an attorney. Tactics to coerce someone into a confession have, in fact, been commonplace since our nation was created and this is why the Fifth Amendment was adopted to preclude the government from forcing citizens to self-incriminate. If you have been charged with a criminal offense and provided a confession prior to your obtaining representation, you definitely want to read this article closely. A lawyer who is knowledgeable and skilled in Miranda Hearings may be able to change the entire complexion of your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall possess these attributes with:

  • Over 200 years of collective experience litigating complex suppression issues involving Miranda and other constitutional right violations
  • 10 lawyers that limit their practices exclusively to criminal defense
  • Former county prosecutors who have served as Director of Major Crimes, Drug Task Force, Special Operations, Domestic Violence, Juvenile, and even an entire Trial Division
  • Certified criminal trial attorneys

To speak to an attorney at the firm anytime 24/7 in a free initial consultation, call 877-450-8301. Lawyers are available immediately to assist you.

How To Challenge An Illegal Confession in New Jersey

There are basically two opportunities to challenge a confession obtained in violation of someone’s rights. The first chance for attacking the statement is through a pretrial motion to suppress the testimony brought in accordance with N.J.R.E. 104(c). The state bears the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant’s statement was voluntarily and intelligently made. What this contemplates is that the accused was aware of his/her right to be represented by an attorney and knowingly waived this right despite unequivocal knowledge that any incriminating information could be used against him. If the court finds that the state has fallen short in meeting this burden, the confession is suppressed and cannot be used in any context in proving the charges. Conversely, the confession is admissible against the defendant if the court finds that the required elements for waiver of Miranda Rights exist.

Even if the court rules that the statement and confession are admissible, there is a second opportunity to challenge its use against a defendant. In this regard, Rule 104 (c) provides that:

If the judge admits the statement the jury shall not be informed of the finding that the statement is admissible but shall be instructed to disregard the statement if it finds that it is not credible. If the judge subsequently determines from all of the evidence that the statement is not admissible, the judge shall take appropriate action.

What this rule essentially says is that despite a preliminary ruling that there was a proper waiver of rights, the jury can nevertheless disregard the confession if it concludes that it is not credible, for example, that it was never provided or that the facts simply aren’t believable. The rule also provides authority for the trial judge to, after hearing the testimony presented to the jury, reverse his/her pretrial ruling that the confession was valid.

Protect Your Miranda Rights By Contacting An Experienced New Jersey Criminal Attorney At Our Firm

There are obviously opportunities to contest allegations of a confession or discriminatory statement to police. Your success in this regard definitely has something to do with the skill of the lawyers you select to represent you. The New Jersey Miranda Rights Attorneys at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, have decades of experience handling suppression hearings to challenge the use of a statement by a defendant. If you would like to speak to a lawyer on our team any time of day or night about how we can help you correct an illegally obtained statement, call 877-450-8301 for a free consultation.

By |August 11, 2020|Categories: Criminal Laws Explained|

New Jersey Court Discusses Sentences for Juvenile Defendants

Criminal defendants have numerous rights that extend even after they are convicted of crimes, especially if they are juveniles at the time they allegedly engaged in unlawful activity. For example, a juvenile that is convicted of an offense is protected from being sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment without parole. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed the parameters and implications of this prohibition, in a case in which the defendant appealed a life sentence issued when he was seventeen on the grounds that it was unlawful. If you are a minor charged with a crime, it is important to confer with a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney regarding your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that in 1976, the defendant was charged with multiple crimes when he was seventeen, including murder and armed robbery. He was then indicted on numerous other charges, including intent to steal and escaping from a youth corrections center. He ultimately pleaded not guilty to the murder and intent to steal charges in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges. He was then sentenced to life imprisonment.

Allegedly, during his imprisonment, the defendant was found guilty of over one hundred infractions, almost forty of which were serious. In 1990 he engaged in a riot during which a prison guard was stabbed. He was charged and convicted of multiple counts relating to the riot and was ultimately sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment with a parole bar of close to seven and a half years. He was subsequently denied parole multiple times. He then filed a motion arguing that his life sentence was illegal under recent case law.

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By |August 7, 2020|Categories: Juvenile|

New Jersey Court Denies Contempt Charges for Violating Conditions of Pretrial Release

The recently enacted Criminal Justice Reform Act (CJRA) aimed to enlarge and protect the rights of criminal defendants, in part by reducing and eliminating bail and pretrial containment for non-violent offenders that do not present a risk of harm. As the CJRA is relatively new, its scope and application are still being interpreted by the courts. This was demonstrated in a recent New Jersey appellate case in which the court ruled on the issue of whether the CJRA allowed for criminal contempt charges when a defendant violates the condition of his or her pretrial release. If you are faced with criminal charges, it is critical to retain a zealous New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will work to protect your interests.

Factual History

It is reported that two defendants were arrested and charged with unspecified crimes. They were both released without bail prior to trial, but they were required to comply with certain conditions. Each defendant independently violated one of the conditions of his release, and both were charged with contempt for violation of a court order. The trial courts independently ruled that, under the CJRA, the defendants could not be charged with contempt for violating a release order. The State appealed, and the appellate court reversed, after which the defendants appealed.

Criminal Contempt Under the CJRA

On appeal, the appellate court largely affirmed the trial court rulings. The appellate court noted that when a judge orders conditional pretrial release, the defendant must be notified of the conditions in a clear and specific manner so that the defendant is apprised of what conduct is acceptable. If a court fails to notify a defendant of the repercussions for violating the terms of his or her release, it does not preclude the court from seeking any authorized remedy for the violation.

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By |July 29, 2020|Categories: Criminal Laws Explained, General Criminal|

New Jersey Court Discusses Competency to Stand Trial in Criminal Matters

In New Jersey, if a criminal defendant lacks the ability to understand the crimes the State alleges the defendant committed or the consequences he or she faces if convicted, the defendant may be held unfit to stand trial. When a defendant’s competency is questioned the State must prove numerous factors for the defendant to be found competent, as discussed in a recent New Jersey case in which the defendant was charged with kidnapping and attempted sexual assault. If you are charged with kidnapping or a crime of violence, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney to analyze your potential defenses.

The Alleged Crime

It is reported that the defendant was charged with kidnapping and attempted aggravated sexual assault. The defendant had a competency hearing, after which he was found competent to stand trial. Shortly prior to trial, however, he struck his head and began exhibiting concerning behavior. The defendant’s attorney requested a second competency hearing, but the request was denied. A jury convicted the defendant, after which he appealed arguing, in part, that the court erred in denying the second competency hearing.

Competency to Withstand Trial Under New Jersey Law

Under New Jersey law, if a defendant lacks the capacity to understand criminal proceedings against the person, or to assist in his or her own defense, the defendant cannot be tried, convicted, or sentenced, during the time the incapacity exists. As such, a competency hearing must be held when evidence is produced that raises a bona fide question as to a defendant’s competence.

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By |July 21, 2020|Categories: Assault, Sex Crimes|

New Jersey Court Explains the Prior Bad Acts Exclusion

If a person is charged with a crime, the State must prove each element of the charge in order to obtain a conviction. While the State may rely on direct and circumstantial evidence in support of its position that a person committed a crime, in most instances, the State is not permitted to introduce evidence of a person’s prior crimes or bad acts to demonstrate that the person is guilty of a current charged offense. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court discussed the prior bad acts exclusion in a case in which the State appealed the trial court’s ruling barring evidence of prior charges. If you are charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to discuss your charges with a capable New Jersey criminal defense attorney to assess what evidence the State may attempt to introduce against you.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes on separate occasions. Specifically, in 2014 the defendant was charged with weapons crimes and receiving stolen property but was ultimately acquitted. The charges arose out of the seizure of a gun from a hidden compartment in the defendant’s dashboard. In 2017, the defendant was charged with numerous weapons and drug offenses, and a warrant again revealed a gun hidden in a secret compartment in the dashboard of the defendant’s car. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion asking the court to preclude evidence of the gun found in the hidden compartment as set forth in the 2014 case. The trial court granted the motion, and the State appealed.

Evidence of Prior Crimes and Bad Acts

Under New Jersey law, evidence of prior crimes, bad acts, or wrongs, is generally not admissible unless it is used to demonstrate motive, intent, preparation, opportunity, or the absence of mistake or accident when such issues are relevant to the primary issue in dispute. In other words, it is a rule of exclusion, not inclusion, and courts must exercise caution in deciding whether to admit such evidence, as it has a tendency to be prejudicial. Particularly, evidence suggesting that a defendant committed a prior crime is more likely to persuade a jury that it is probable that a defendant committed the crime with which he or she is currently charged, and a court must carefully analyze whether it should be admitted.

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By |July 14, 2020|Categories: Criminal Laws Explained, General Criminal|

New Jersey Court Discusses Elements of a Second-Degree Eluding Charge

In New Jersey, a person that purposefully evades the police can be charged with the crime of eluding, even if he or she did not commit any other crime. While generally eluding is a third-degree crime, it can become a second-degree offense under certain circumstances, as discussed in a recent New Jersey case in which the defendant argued that the jury was improperly instructed regarding the elements of the charge. If you are accused of eluding or any other crime, it is advisable to meet with a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney to discuss your options for seeking a just result.

History of the Case

It is reported that a police officer spotted the defendant driving a stolen vehicle, after which the officer activated the overhead lights of his police vehicle. The defendant began to slow down and pull over but then suddenly drove away rapidly. A chase through a residential neighborhood ensued, with the defendant driving erratically at high speeds. The defendant was ultimately stopped and arrested. He was cited for multiple traffic offenses, including reckless driving, and charged with the crimes of receiving stolen property and second-degree eluding. He was convicted of the criminal charges, after which he appealed, arguing that he was denied a fair trial because the jury was not properly instructed regarding the elements of a second-degree eluding offense.

Elements of a Second-Degree Eluding Offense

Under New Jersey law, a person operating a vehicle who intentionally flees or attempts to evade a police officer after the officer signals the person to bring the vehicle to a stop commits the crime of eluding, which is a third-degree offense. Eluding becomes a second-degree offense, however, if the evasion or attempted flight from the police creates a risk of injury or death to any person.

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By |July 7, 2020|Categories: Eluding|

New Jersey Court Clarifies Exceptions to the Sex-Offender Registry Requirement

Typically, when a person is convicted of a sex crime, the person will be deemed a sex offender. This often requires, in part, that the person registers on the internet as a sex offender. There is an exception to the internet registry requirement, however, for people convicted of a single-sex offense committed against a blood-relative, which is usually referred to as the household exception. In a recent case in which the defendant objected to the internet registry requirement, a New Jersey appellate court analyzed whether the household exception applies to a person convicted of sex crimes against multiple children in his household.  If you are charged with a sex crime, it is critical to engage an assertive New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights and reputation.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault. The victims were two children that resided in the defendant’s household. The defendant was sentenced to eight concurrent years of imprisonment for each crime. Following his release, a Megan’s Law classification hearing was held during which the defendant was deemed a Tier II offender with a moderate risk of committing another offense. The hearing judge also determined that the defendant was required to register pursuant to the Internet Sex Offender Central Registry statute. The defendant objected to the registry requirement, arguing that the household exception to the internet registry requirement should apply. The hearing judge rejected the defendant’s assertions, and the defendant appealed.

The Household Exception to the Sex-Offender Internet Registry Requirement

In New Jersey, some people convicted of sex crimes are exempt from the internet registry requirement. Specifically, a person who is no more than a moderate risk may be exempt from the requirement if his or her sole sex offense is a conviction that arose out of circumstances in which the victim was a blood relative of the offender. The statute specifically provides that a sole sex offense is a single conviction or adjudication of guilt for a sex crime in which there was only one victim, one occurrence, that involves members of a single household.

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By |June 28, 2020|Categories: Sex Crimes, Sex Offender Registration|

New Jersey Court Explains Grading Aspects of the Money Laundering Statute

Money laundering is punishable as a crime in New Jersey, but the terms of the money laundering statute are less than clear. Specifically, there is a debate as to the meaning of the phrase “amount involved,” which is used to determine the severity of the offense. Thus, a New Jersey court recently clarified the meaning of the term in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for money laundering. If you are charged with money laundering or another fraud crime, it is advisable to speak to a trusted New Jersey criminal defense attorney regarding what defenses you may be able to assert.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant took merchandise from his employer’s warehouse without permission. The merchandise had been purchased by the employer for $878,000 but had a value of approximately $4,000,000. The defendant then sold a portion of the merchandise for $63,000 to a woman in New Hampshire. The defendant was then charged with numerous crimes, including first-degree money laundering, which pursuant to the money laundering statute is an offense where the amount involved is greater than $500,000.

Allegedly, the defendant moved to have the charges amended to third-degree money laundering, which was an offense where the amount involved was less than $75,000, due to the fact that he only received $63,000 for the stolen goods. The judge then determined that the amount involved was $283,500, which constituted a second-degree offense. The State appealed.

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By |June 21, 2020|Categories: Fraud, Theft Charges|
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