Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. Appointments can be scheduled at 732-572-0500. He is author of the ABA's book "Criminal Law Forms".
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817
http://www.njlaws.com/

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Law Gives Mandatory Jail for Certain Drunks who Drive While Suspended.

The statute creates criminal penalties for persons whose driver's licenses are suspended for certain drunk driving offenses and who, while under suspension for those offenses, unlawfully operate a motor vehicle.

It will be a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle during a period of driver's license suspension if the person's driver's license was suspended or revoked for a first offense of driving while intoxicated or refusal to submit to a breath test, and the person had previously been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under suspension for that first offense.

It is a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle during a period of license suspension if the person's license was suspended or revoked for a second or subsequent offense of driving while intoxicated or refusal to submit to a breath test.

A person convicted of violating the law's provisions is to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which would include a six-month period of parole ineligibility.

The effective date is 18 months to permit the Motor Vehicle Commission to make modifications to its computer system.

NJ adopts the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.”

Medical research suggests that marijuana may alleviate pain or other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions. Federal law, however, prohibits the use of marijuana. Ninety-nine percent of marijuana-related arrests in the country are made under state law rather than under federal law. Changing state law would therefore provide legal protection to the vast majority of seriously ill people who use marijuana medically. Thirteen other states permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and with this law, New Jersey would join the effort to protect patients using marijuana to alleviate suffering from arrest, prosecution, and other legal sanctions, as well as provide protection to their physicians, caregivers, alternative treatment centers authorized to produce marijuana for medical purposes, and persons who simply are in the vicinity of permitted medical use of marijuana.

PATIENT/CAREGIVER IDENTIFICATION CARD
The law provides that DHSS shall issue registry identification cards containing the patient's photograph to qualifying patients and their primary caregivers. The law defines “qualifying patient” or “patient” as a person who has been diagnosed by a physician with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship as having a “debilitating medical condition.” “Debilitating medical condition” is defined as: cancer, glaucoma, positive HIV/AIDS status, or the treatment of these conditions; a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms; and other medical conditions that may administratively be added by the department. “Primary caregiver” or “caregiver” is defined as a person who is at least 18 years old, who has never been convicted of a felony drug offense, has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana and has been designated as primary caregiver on the patient's registry identification card, or in other written notification to the department. A primary caregiver may only have one qualified patient at any one time. A patient's physician could not serve as a primary caregiver.
DHSS shall issue registry identification cards to qualifying patients who submit the following:
- written certification that the person is a qualifying patient (medical records or a statement signed by a physician with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship, stating that in the physician's professional opinion, after completing a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition, the patient has a debilitating medical condition for which recognized drugs or treatments are or would not be effective and the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the patient);
- the required application or renewal fee, which may be based on a sliding scale as determined by the commissioner;
- the patient's and caregiver's name, address and date of birth; and
- the physician's name, address and telephone number.
The law requires that DHSS verify the information prior to issuing a registry identification card, and approve or deny an application or renewal within 15 days of receipt and issue a registry identification card within five days of approval. DHSS may deny an application or renewal only if the applicant fails to provide the required information, or if it determines that the information was falsified. Denial of an application is considered a final agency decision, subject to review by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
DHSS shall issue a registry identification card to the primary caregiver named in a patient's approved application if the caregiver signs a statement agreeing to provide marijuana only to the patient who has named him as primary caregiver. DHSS would be prohibited from issuing a registry identification card to any proposed caregiver with a felony drug offense conviction.
Under the law, it would be a disorderly persons offense, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, for a person to fabricate or misrepresent a registry identification card to a law enforcement official.
DHSS is to maintain a confidential list of the persons to whom it has issued registry identification cards. Individual names and other identifying information on the list are to be confidential, and not subject to public access, but could be released to authorized DHSS employees as necessary to perform official department duties and to authorized employees of State or local law enforcement agencies when necessary to verify that a person who is engaged in the suspected or alleged medical use of marijuana is lawfully in possession of a registry identification card.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT CENTERS
The law provides that DHSS shall establish a registration program authorizing alternative treatment centers to produce and dispense marijuana for medical purposes. A person who has been convicted of possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance shall not be issued a permit to operate, or be an employee of, an alternative treatment center, unless such conviction was for a violation of federal law relating to possession or sale of marijuana for conduct that is legal under the law. All usable marijuana, seeds and seedlings associated with the production of marijuana for a registered qualifying patient would be the property of the patient and must be provided to the patient upon request. An alternative treatment center may be reimbursed by a patient for reasonable costs associated with the production of marijuana for that patient.
An alternative treatment center permit holder or his employee would not be subject to arrest or prosecution, or penalized in any manner for the acquisition, distribution, possession, cultivation, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia related to marijuana on behalf of a registered identification cardholder, provided the amount of marijuana possessed by the center, combined with the amount possessed by the registered patient and his primary caregiver, does not exceed six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana per patient

LEGAL PROTECTIONS
The law provides that a patient and his caregiver who possess a registry identification card and collectively possess no more than six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana would receive the following protections under this law:
- The person would not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty, or denied any right or privilege, including civil penalty or disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, for the medical use of marijuana.
- The person would be entitled to a rebuttable presumption of medical use of marijuana if the patient or his caregiver possesses a registry identification card and the permissible amount of marijuana.
- The person could assert an affirmative defense of medical use of marijuana, unless the person was operating a motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana, or smoking marijuana in a school bus or other form of public transportation, on any school grounds, in any correctional facility, or at any public park, public beach, public recreation center or youth center.
- Possession of, or application for, a registry identification card shall not alone constitute probable cause to search a person or his property.
- If a patient has in his possession a registry identification card and the permissible amount of marijuana, N.J.S.A.26:2-82 (authorizing the destruction of marijuana determined to exist by the Department of Health and Senior Services) would not apply.
The law extends these protections to a qualified patient who is under 18 years of age if the patient and his legal guardian are advised by the patient's physician of the risks and benefits of using marijuana for medical purposes, and the legal guardian consents in writing to allow the medical use of marijuana, serve as the primary caregiver, and control the patient’s acquisition, dosage and frequency of use.
A physician who provides written certification for the medical use of marijuana to a qualifying patient would not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including a penalty or disciplinary action by the State Board of Medical Examiners.
In addition, the law would protect persons from arrest and prosecution for constructive possession, conspiracy, or any other offense if they were in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marijuana as permitted by the law.

New law Revises eligibility for expungement of criminal and juvenile delinquency records

This law makes some changes to the criteria for expungement of criminal convictions and adjudications of delinquency and also adds to the list of crimes that may not be expunged.

Expungement of Indictable Offenses Generally Section 1 of the law reduces the amount of time that must elapse before a person convicted of an indictable offense is eligible for expungement. Under current law, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:52-2 requires a person to wait 10 years from the date of his conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later, before applying to expunge a conviction for an indictable offense. The law would allow expungement for an indictable offense although less than 10 years has expired if the court finds that:

· Less than 10 years has expired from the satisfaction of a fine, but the 10-year time requirement is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered by the court, or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting his ability to satisfy the fine; or
· At least five years has expired from the date of conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; the person has not been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the conviction; and the court finds in its discretion that expungement is in the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense, and the applicant's character and conduct since conviction.
In determining whether compelling circumstances exist, a court may consider the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the person's age at the time of the offense, the person's financial condition and other relevant circumstances regarding the person's ability to pay.

Crimes that May Not Be Expunged Section 1 of the law also adds the following crimes to the list of crimes that cannot be expunged:
· Human Trafficking, section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8);
· Causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act, N.J.S.2C:24 4b(3);
· Selling or manufacturing child pornography, N.J.S.2C:24:4b(5)(a);
· Knowingly promoting the prostitution of the actor's child, N.J.S.2C:34-1b(4);
· Terrorism, section 2 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-2); and
· Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological
Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices, subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-3).

Expungement of Certain Drug Crimes Section 1 of the law also allows expungement of certain convictions for the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or possession thereof with intent to sell. Expungement would be allowed if the convictions involve crimes of the third or fourth degree, and the court finds that expungement is consistent with the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense, and the petitioner's character and conduct since conviction. Under current law, a person may not have his conviction for the sale or distribution of a CDS or possession thereof with intent to sell expunged unless it relates to the sale, distribution, or possession with intent to sell a small amount of marijuana or hashish.

Expungement of Delinquency Adjudications Section 2 of the law changes the criteria for expunging a record of an adjudication of delinquency. Under current law, to expunge an adjudication of delinquency, a minimum of five years must elapse after final discharge of the person from legal custody or supervision or after the entry of any other court order not involving custody or supervision. Also, the person must not have been convicted of a crime, or a disorderly or petty disorderly persons offense, or adjudged a delinquent, or in need of supervision, during the five years prior to the filing of the petition for expungement. Section 2 of the law would except periods of post incarceration supervision pursuant to section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77(C.2A:4A-44) from these five-year periods.

"Ricci's Law;" increases ignition interlock device requirements for certain drunk driving offenders.

Assembly Bill No. 3073(2R), entitled “Ricci’s Law,” provides that all persons convicted of first, second, and third offenses of drunk driving would be required to install an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle that they own, lease or operate. Current law imposes driver’s license suspensions on all persons convicted of drunk driving and allows the court the option to order the installation of an ignition interlock device after the license suspension period is over and the license is returned to the person. Under the law, the interlock device would be mandatory in all cases and, in addition, would also be required to be in effect during the period of time that the license is suspended.

These Assembly amendments provide that persons who are convicted of refusing the breath test also would be required to install an ignition interlock device. They are subject to the same requirements imposed on convicted drunk drivers under the law, except that all first offenders of the refusal statute would be required to install the device. The amendments also clarify that offenders for offenses other than drunk driving or refusal to submit to the breath test would not be subject to the provisions of the ignition interlock statute. The amendments also provide that the device would be installed only on the vehicle principally operated by the offender.

The amendments also provide for reduced fees for certain persons required to install the device. If the person’s family income does not exceed 100% of the federal poverty level, the monthly leasing fee would be 50% of the cost established by regulation. If the person’s family income does not exceed 149% of the federal poverty level, the monthly leasing fee would be 75% of the cost established by regulation. Persons who qualify for a reduced fee would not be required to pay the installation fee, the fee for monitoring of the device, or any fees for calibration or removal of the device.

New Law Authorizes court to waive or reduce parole ineligibility or grant probation instead of mandatory prison for drug-free school zone violations u

This law authorizes the court to waive or reduce the minimum term of parole ineligibility or place on probation a person convicted of distributing, dispensing, or possessing with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance while on or within a 1,000 feet of school property or a school bus.

In making a determination under the law, the court is required to consider the following factors:

(1) the extent of the person’s prior criminal record and the seriousness of the offenses;

(2) where the offense was committed in relation to the school property, including distance from the school or bus and the reasonable likelihood of exposing children to drug-related activities there;

(3) whether school was in session at the time of the offense; and

(4) whether children were present at or in the immediate vicinity of where the offense occurred.

A court would be prohibited under the law from waiving or reducing the minimum term of parole eligibility or placing the person on probation if:

(1) the offense occurred on school property or a school bus; or

(2) the defendant, while committing the offense, used or threatened violence; possessed a firearm; or resisted arrest or eluded a police officer.

A waived or reduced term of parole ineligibility or probation sentence imposed by the court under the law would not be final for 10 days so that the prosecution can appeal the court’s determination. A-2762/S-1866

Disorderly Conduct 2C:33-2

video

Volunteers needed for Metuchen Public Defender

Volunteers needed for Metuchen Public Defender

The Public Defenders provide Indigent individuals charged with criminal or serious motor vehicle charges with free or limited cost legal defense. The Public Defender of Metuchen invites persons interested in helping others or getting experience in law/ criminal justice to apply to serve as volunteer interns. Volunteer Law Clerk interns will attend Wednesday evening and occasional Friday morning court sessions.


VOLUNTEER LEGAL INTERNS NEEDED
PUBLIC DEFENDER OF METUCHEN

Court times: WEDNESDAY 1pm PM [approx]- 8:30 PM, every other Friday 9-12, plus hearing preparation work.

Volunteer Internship Description:

-Interview Clients facing charges in Municipal Court including Drug Possession, Drunk Driving, Assault, Driving While Suspended and other criminal and traffic offenses

-Make demands for Discovery on Prosecutor and review police reports

-Attend hearings and learn from experienced trial attorneys

-Prepare Motions to Suppress Evidence and Motions to Compel Discovery
-Conduct appropriate Legal research
-Acquire skills in Criminal Law and Procedure by active participation
-Participate in Public Relations activities and help organize seminars
- Update Lists of Prosecutors, Judges and Attorneys for publication of
NJ Municipal Court Law Review
- Revise criminal and traffic law Articles and submit to Law Journals and criminal law websites.
- Learn how to add criminal statutes and criminal articles to legal blogs and websites.

Volunteer to help indigent people charged with criminal and motor vehicle offenses of magnitude. In additional to time in court, you will be given research assignments. You can work more hours if you want. Help people less fortunate than you who are down on their luck. This is an unpaid internship helping indigent persons.
Program lasts 12 weeks. Minimum time commitment September- May is 10 hours per week.
For Summer- College graduates and Law students only. Minimum Volunteer time commitment in summer- 18 hours per week. Send cover letter and resume. After sending resume, call to schedule interview
732-572-0500.
We sponsor a state wide website www.njlaws.com with information on criminal, litigation, personal injury, and probate matters. It is helpful if applicants have some familiarity with HTML programming, web page design and maintenance and Internet technology. If you can update a website, please indicate so in the first paragraph of your cover letter. This office is committed to excellence and service to clients and the community. Applicants must have attention to detail. We attempt to give assignments which will be meaningful and memorable but, nevertheless, expect that interns will pitch in on whatever needs to be done.
Interested students must mail or fax a cover letter indicating the internship they are applying for and resume. If no personal cover letter by student, the resume will not be considered.
Details on internships at http://www.njlaws.com/intern.htm

Mail or fax cover letter and resume to
Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
Public Defender for the Borough of Metuchen
c/o 2053 Woodbridge Ave., Edison, NJ 08817
Fax 732-572-0030

http://www.kennethvercammen.com/Public-Defender-volunteer.html

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2C:29-1. Obstructing administration of law or other governmental function

2C:29-1. Obstructing Administration of Law or Other Governmental Function. a. A person commits an offense if he purposely obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act. This section does not apply to failure to perform a legal duty other than an official duty, or any other means of avoiding compliance with law without affirmative interference with governmental functions.

b.An offense under this section is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor obstructs the detection or investigation of a crime or the prosecution of a person for a crime, otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.

2C:40-3. Hazing; aggravated hazing

2C:40-3. Hazing; aggravated hazing
a. A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, he knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.

b. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing, a crime of the fourth degree, if he commits an act prohibited in subsection a. which results in serious bodily injury to another person.

L.1980, c. 169, s. 1, eff. Dec. 18, 1980.

2C:40-4. Consent not available as defense to hazing
Notwithstanding any other provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to a prosecution under this Act.

L.1980, c. 169, s. 2, eff. Dec. 18, 1980.

2C:40-5. Conduct constituting offense may be prosecuted under other provisions of Title 2C
Conduct constituting an offense under this Act may, at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney, be prosecuted under any other applicable provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.



18A:3-26. Information on hazing included
3. The bill of rights developed by the Attorney General pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.388 (C.18A:3-25) shall include information on the criminal penalties for hazing and aggravated hazing established pursuant to P.L.1980, c.169 (C.2C:40-3 et seq.).

L.1991,c.388,s.3; amended 1994,c.48,s.41.

18A:3-27. Distribution
4. Every public and independent institution of higher education within the State shall ensure that any student who participates in pledging activities at that institution receives a copy of the "Pledge's Bill of Rights."

L.1991,c.388,s.4.



18A:62-5. Violence and hazing; monitor of incidence; uniform record-keeping system
The Chancellor of Higher Education shall establish standards and promulgate rules and regulations to monitor the incidence of violence and hazing in the institutions of higher education in New Jersey and shall establish a uniform record-keeping system for the purpose of gathering information pertaining to such offenses. As used in this act, "violence" means any crime against person or property which creates a risk of causing bodily harm.

L.1982, c. 223, s. 1, eff. Dec. 30, 1982; per s.4, act to "remain in effect for a period of 3 years.

18A:62-6. Report by employee; filing; forwarding of report and action taken to state department of higher education
Any employee of an institution of higher education observing or having direct knowledge from a participant or victim of an act of violence or hazing shall, in accordance with standards established by the chancellor, file a report describing the incident to the chief executive officer of the institution in a manner prescribed by the chancellor, and a copy of the report shall be forwarded to the State Department of Higher Education.

The chief executive officer of the institution shall notify the State Department of Higher Education of the incident and of the action taken regarding the incident.

L.1982, c. 223, s. 2, eff. Dec. 30, 1982; per s.4, act to "remain in effect for a period of 3 years.

18A:62-7. Annual report
The Chancellor of Higher Education shall include in his annual report to the Governor and the Legislature, pursuant to N.J.S. 18A:3-21, a section detailing the extent of violence and hazing in the institutions of higher education, explaining the measures being taken to counter the problem, and making recommendations to alleviate the problem.

Friday, January 22, 2010

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE
by Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq.
New Jersey domestic violence laws are very strict. A spouse or girlfriend could call the police and if there are any signs of physical injuries the police must arrest the man. Even without independent witnesses and no physical injuries, police may arrest the man. The police are required to give the victim information about their rights and to help them. Among other things, police must write up a report. For example, O.J. Simpson would not have gotten away with abuse in New Jersey. Police are automatically required to arrest an abuser if they see any evidence of abuse or assault.
Even during the evening, your town Municipal Court or Superior Court can issue a Restraining Order which is a legally enforceable document. The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) will prohibit the defendant/abuser from any contact with the victim or entering the residence.
Unlike a criminal case where a person is provided with lengthy due process rights, and if guilty receives probation and a monetary fine, a domestic violence hearing allows judges to issue far reaching orders. A domestic violence hearing is usually held within only ten (10) days after the filing of an ex parte complaint and temporary restraining order. After a hearing, NJSA 2C:25-29 (b) allows the Chancery Division, Family Part Judge to grant substantial relief to the complainant.
Our Supreme Court has already found that the ten-day provision comports with the requirements of due process, but can be delayed.
In H.E.S. v. J.C.S., 175 N.J. 309, 323 (2003), the Court held:
“the ten-day provision does not preclude a continuance where fundamental fairness dictates allowing a defendant additional time. Indeed, to the extent that compliance with the ten-day provision precludes meaningful notice and an opportunity to defend, the provision must yield to due process requirements.” [Internal quotations and citations omitted.]
Discovery not mandatory in Domestic Violence family cases
Domestic violence actions are "summary actions," a fact that inherently precludes the right to discovery. See, e.g., H.E.S., supra, 175 N.J. at 323. However, the Appellate Division in Crespo v Crespo 408 NJ Super. 25 (App. Div. 2009) noted that one trial court has determined that, in accordance with Rule 5:5-1(d), a defendant may seek leave to obtain discovery in such a matter upon a showing of good cause. Depos v. Depos, 307 N.J. Super. 396, 400 (Ch. Div. 1997). The Appellate Court agreed with the opinion of Judge Dilts in Depos that in compelling circumstances, where a party's ability to adequately present evidence during a domestic violence action may be significantly impaired, a trial judge may, in the exercise of sound discretion, permit limited discovery in order to prevent an injustice. Judges are not required to be oblivious to a party's claim for discovery in compelling circumstances even though the court rules do not expressly authorize relief. See, e.g., Kellam v. Feliciano, 376 N.J. Super. 580, 587 (App. Div. 2005).
The Crespo court held “Here, the record reveals that at no time did defendant seek leave to conduct any discovery proceedings.” Therefore, it is important for defense counsel to demand discovery.
In Pepe v Pepe, 258 N.J. Super. 157 (Chan. Div. 1992) held that the confidentiality provision of record keeping under the Domestic Violence act applies to the records kept on file with the Clerk of the Superior Court.

The Family Judge Powers:
At the hearing the judge of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court may issue an order granting any or all of the following relief:


(1) An order restraining the defendant from subjecting the victim to domestic violence, as defined in this act.


(2) An order granting exclusive possession to the plaintiff of the residence or household regardless of whether the residence or household is jointly or solely owned by the parties or jointly or solely leased by the parties. This order shall not in any manner affect title or interest to any real property held by either party or both jointly. If it is not possible for the victim to remain in the residence, the court may order the defendant to pay the victim's rent at a residence other than the one previously shared by the parties if the defendant is found to have a duty to support the victim and the victim requires alternative housing.


(3) An order providing for parenting time…..
(4) An order requiring the defendant to pay to the victim monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the act of domestic violence. The order may require the defendant to pay the victim directly, to reimburse the Victims of Crime Compensation Board for any and all compensation paid by the Victims of Crime Compensation Board directly to or on behalf of the victim, and may require that the defendant reimburse any parties that may have compensated the victim, as the court may determine. Compensatory losses shall include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or other support, including child or spousal support, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, cost of repair or replacement of real or personal property damaged or destroyed or taken by the defendant, cost of counseling for the victim, moving or other travel expenses, reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and compensation for pain and suffering. Where appropriate, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages.


(5) An order requiring the defendant to receive professional domestic violence counseling from either a private source or a source appointed by the court and, in that event, requiring the defendant to provide the court at specified intervals with documentation of attendance at the professional counseling. The court may order the defendant to pay for the professional counseling.

(6) An order restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim or of other family or household members of the victim and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the victim or other family or household members.


(7) An order restraining the defendant from making contact with the plaintiff or others, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the victim or other family members, or their employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim.


(8) An order requiring that the defendant make or continue to make rent or mortgage payments on the residence occupied by the victim if the defendant is found to have a duty to support the victim or other dependent household members; provided that this issue has not been resolved or is not being litigated between the parties in another action.


(9) An order granting either party temporary possession of specified personal property, such as an automobile, checkbook, documentation of health insurance, an identification document, a key, and other personal effects.


(10) An order awarding emergency monetary relief, including emergency support for minor children, to the victim and other dependents, if any. An ongoing obligation of support shall be determined at a later date pursuant to applicable law.


(11) An order awarding temporary custody of a minor child….
(12) An order requiring that a law enforcement officer accompany either party to the residence or any shared business premises to supervise the removal of personal belongings in order to ensure the personal safety of the plaintiff when a restraining order has been issued. This order shall be restricted in duration..


(13) An order granting any other appropriate relief for the plaintiff and dependent children, provided that the plaintiff consents to such relief, including relief requested by the plaintiff at the final hearing, whether or not the plaintiff requested such relief at the time of the granting of the initial emergency order.


(14) An order that requires that the defendant report to the intake unit of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court for monitoring of any other provision of the order.


(15) In addition to the order required by this subsection prohibiting the defendant from possessing any firearm, the court may also issue an order prohibiting the defendant from possessing any other weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 and ordering the search for and seizure of any firearm or other weapon at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located. The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.


(16) An order prohibiting the defendant from stalking or following, or threatening to harm, to stalk or to follow, the complainant or any other person named in the order in a manner that, taken in the context of past actions of the defendant, would put the complainant in reasonable fear that the defendant would cause the death or injury of the complainant or any other person.
(17) An order requiring the defendant to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Despite the substantial financial burden and life restrictions (often referred to as penalties), the burden of proof in a DOMESTIC VIOLENCE hearing is only “by a preponderance of evidence” and not “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Too often lawyers throw up their hands when a client presents a complaint involving domestic violence and related criminal charges. While defense of the complaint may become an involved process requiring commitment and persistence, there are a number of viable defenses and arguments that can achieve a successful result. Rather than simply suggest that a client plead guilty and avoid trial, an attorney should accept the challenge and apply his best legal talents to protect the client’s rights.
We require a great deal of cooperation from our clients in an effort to help keep their costs reasonable. We require our clients to prepare diagrams and provide us with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of witnesses.
Sometimes a family friend can act as a go between for the parties and convince the complaint to dismiss the charges. A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE complainant can be withdrawn. However, if a criminal complaint is signed by the police, only the prosecutor can make a motion to dismiss.

1. The In-Office Interview at the Law Office
We advise potential clients to bring in a copy of the complaint, all their papers in connection with their case, and any documents they received from the Police or a court. Often we will instruct them to write a confidential narrative for themselves if it is a case that is fact-specific or involves a great deal of detail, to help them remember the facts.

Prior to the client coming into the office we e-mail them the Confidential New Client Interview Sheet. We obtain background information such as their name, address, the offenses charged, date of the person’s arrest, other witnesses, what they told the police, their occupation and information regarding prior criminal arrests and immigration status. Our interview sheet also asks if there is anything else important, such as a medical condition that affects their case. This form will also let us know whether or not the client will follow instructions and cooperate with us. If they refuse to provide information we may have a problem client.

After reviewing the complaint and the interview sheet at the in-office consultation I ask a series of questions of the client. We request the client wait until the end of the interview before explaining their side of the story. We also ask them if there is anything else of importance in connection with the case that we should know. The client may have pending serious criminal charges in another state or county. I often open up our statute book and show the clients the specific language of the offense they are charged with and explain to them the maximum penalties that could be imposed. By understanding the charges they are facing, my clients are more likely to realize the seriousness of the offense and pay our retainer.

2. Retaining the Attorney
Rule 1:11-2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct indicates that a retainer letter or written statement of fees is required for new clients. I also provide all my clients with written information explaining how to appear in court, our website pages to the offenses charged, and information regarding substance abuse treatment, if applicable.
Once we receive our retainer (are paid), we begin work right away. Usually while the client is still in the office, we prepare a discovery letter on the computer to the prosecutor/district attorney and court and hand a copy to the client. We occasionally call the court to advise them that we will be handling the case and to inquire who handles discovery. We check the State Lawyers Diary to determine who are the judges and prosecutor/district attorneys for the county or town. It is important to know who may be the judge and the prosecutor.

3. Post Interview Work When a Criminal Charge is Filed in Connection with the Family Domestic Violence Complaint.
Motions to Dismiss should be made in writing such as statue of limitations or lack of jurisdiction. In the case involving essential witnesses, we occasionally write to the witnesses and ask them to call us so that we can find out what really happened. If possible I have our law clerks call the witness after we send the initial letter. The attorney cannot testify if the witness provides an inconsistent statement but our law clerks can testify. I sometimes speak to friendly witnesses myself later to make a decision to determine whether or not the witnesses are credible.
If we discover a favorable reported decision, we make a copy for the judge, prosecutor, and client. Never assume the part time prosecutor or judge is familiar with all the laws. We can prepare a Subpoena ad Testificandum for witnesses to testify and Subpoena Duces Tecum for witnesses to bring documents. It is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

4. Discovery In Criminal Charges
Often we do not receive all of the discovery that we request. We send a letter to the prosecutor requesting additional discovery and request that the discovery be provided within 10 days. If we do not receive the discovery with 10 days then we prepare a Motion to Compel Discovery.
Upon receiving discovery, we forward a photocopy of all discovery to our client. We then discuss with the client whether or not they have a reasonable prospect of winning.
I recommend that my clients provide me with a list of between 10 to 15 reasons why they should not go to jail and why court should impose the minimum probation term. This provides us with information for mitigation of penalties and also provides information to be considered by the judge in sentencing.

5. Preparing for Court
When we receive the hearing notice we send a follow up reminder to the client to be on time, bring all papers and call 24 hours ahead to confirm the case is still on the calendar. The client should be prepared and look neat. The Grateful Dead and Budweiser T-Shirts should be replaced with something that looks presentable. They should have their pregnant wives sitting next to them.
Preparation is the key to winning cases or convincing the prosecutor of exceptional defenses. Upon arrival at court, we will attempt to ascertain if the police officer is available. Sometimes the police officer is on vacation, retired, or suspended. This may assist your ability to work out a satisfactory arrangement.
There is no prohibition against speaking with State’s witnesses in a non-threatening way. Outside of the courtroom, I usually call out the name of the non-law enforcement State’s witnesses to determine what their version of the facts is. If we have an excellent trial issue but believe the judge is going to rule against us, we bring an appeal notice and file it with the Court on the Record. I keep in my car blank forms for Order to Compel Discovery, Order Mark Try or Dismiss, Order to be Relieved, and an Appeal Notice.

6. Plea to a Lesser Offense in Criminal Charge
If the client is going to enter a guilty plea to an offense, it is important they understand what the offense is and put a factual basis on the record. The Judge will be angry if a person is pleading guilty to a computer theft offense and the judge asked them what they took and the person insists they did not do anything wrong. The judge will send you back to your seat and must refuse to take the guilty plea unless an adequate factual basis is put on the record.
Having previously obtained from my clients their favorable background details in writing, I usually put on the record reasons why the judge should give them the minimum penalties.
Letters of reference and character reference letters are helpful in cases where the judge has wide discretion in his sentencing. After the client pleads guilty, it is a good idea to also ask the client on the record if he has any questions of myself or of the court.
7. Conclusion
Whether or not we have a trial or there is a plea to reduce the charge, I wish to walk out knowing I did the best I could for the client. Even if I lose, I want to have been such an articulate advocate that the client walks out saying my attorney is great but the judge is wrong. We try to be innovative and prepare new arguments. Additional case law and certain legal defenses are updated on website: www.NJLaws.com.
Kenneth A. Vercammen is an Edison, Middlesex County, NJ trial attorney who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on business and litigation topics. He often lectures to trial lawyers of the American Bar Association, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association.
He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published by New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He is the Editor in Chief of the New Jersey Municipal Court Law Review. Mr. Vercammen is a recipient of the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award.
He has served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in nine different cities and towns in New Jersey and also successfully handled over One-thousand Municipal Court and Superior Court matters in the past 12 years.
In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on Criminal personal injury matters, Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings. He serves as the Editor of the popular legal website www.njlaws.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Classes of criminal offenses

Criminal and Motor vehicle violations can cost you. If convicted of a criminal offense you could face Jail Time and loss of Job. You will have to pay fines in court or receive points on your drivers license. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles] or have your license suspended. Don't give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal motor vehicle violations.



Kenneth Vercammen is the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year.



2C:1-4. Classes of criminal offenses
2C:1-4. Classes of criminal offenses a. An offense defined by this code or by any other statute of this State, for which a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized, constitutes a crime within the meaning of the Constitution of this State. Crimes are designated in this code as being of the first, second, third or fourth degree.

b. An offense is a disorderly persons offense if it is so designated in this code or in a statute other than this code. An offense is a petty disorderly persons offense if it is so designated in this code or in a statute other than this code. Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are petty offenses and are not crimes within the meaning of the Constitution of this State. There shall be no right to indictment by a grand jury nor any right to trial by jury on such offenses. Conviction of such offenses shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a crime.

c. An offense defined by any statute of this State other than this code shall be classified as provided in this section or in section 2C:43-1 and, except as provided in section 2C:1-5b and chapter 43, the sentence that may be imposed upon conviction thereof shall hereafter be governed by this code. Insofar as any provision outside the code declares an offense to be a misdemeanor when such offense specifically provides a maximum penalty of 6 months' imprisonment or less, whether or not in combination with a fine, such provision shall constitute a disorderly persons offense.

d. Subject to the provisions of section 2C:43-1, reference in any statute, rule, or regulation outside the code to the term "high misdemeanor" shall mean crimes of the first, second, or third degree and reference to the term "misdemeanor" shall mean all crimes.

L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:1-4, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by L.1979, c. 178, s. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1979; L.1981, c.290, s. 1, eff. Sept. 24, 1981.

Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea

1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)

2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:

a. You will have a criminal record

b. You may go to Jail or Prison.

c. You will have to pay Fines and Court Costs.

3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.

4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.

5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.

6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.

7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.

8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3

9. You could be put on Probation.

10. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your driver's license for 6 months - 2years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.

11. You may be required to do Community Service.

12. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.

13. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.

14. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.

15. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1

16. You may lose your right to vote.

The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.

Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:

If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.

NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;

(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;

(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;

(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.

2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:

a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;

(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;

b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;

(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;

c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;

d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;

If facing any criminal charge, retain an experienced attorney immediately to determine you rights and obligations to the court. Current criminal charge researched by Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. 732-572-0500

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Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents individuals charged with criminal, drug offenses, and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey. Our office helps people with traffic/ municipal court tickets including drivers charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Refusal and Driving While Suspended.

Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutor's Association.

Criminal and Motor vehicle violations can cost you. You will have to pay fines in court or receive points on your drivers license. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles] or have your license suspended. Don't give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal motor vehicle violations.

When your job or driver's license is in jeopardy or you are facing thousands of dollars in fines, DMV surcharges and car insurance increases, you need excellent legal representation. The least expensive attorney is not always the answer. Schedule an appointment if you need experienced legal representation in a traffic/municipal court matter.

Our website www.benotguilty.com provides information on traffic offenses we can be retained to represent people. Our website also provides details on jail terms for traffic violations and car insurance eligibility points. Car insurance companies increase rates or drop customers based on moving violations.

Providing 21+ years of excellent service to clients. Kenneth Vercammen has been a trial attorney for more than 20 years. You want to have an experienced attorney.
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© Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.

Last Revised September 9, 2008

TITLE 10A. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS CHAPTER 31. ADULT COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES SUBCHAPTER 25. VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND WORK RELEASE PROGRAM

Criminal and Motor vehicle violations can cost you. If convicted of a criminal offense you could face Jail Time and loss of Job. You will have to pay fines in court or receive points on your drivers license. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles] or have your license suspended. Don't give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal motor vehicle violations.


Kenneth Vercammen is the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year.



TITLE 10A. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS CHAPTER 31. ADULT COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES SUBCHAPTER 25. VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND WORK RELEASE PROGRAM
10A:31-25.5 Placement in a Work Release Program A person convicted and sentenced to an adult county correctional facility may be placed in a Work Release Program by order of the court in which such person was convicted, or by the assignment judge of the county in which the sentence was imposed at the time such person is sentenced or at any time thereafter during the term of the sentence.
10A:31-25.6 Inmates ineligible for Work Release Program participation

(a) The following shall make an inmate ineligible for participation in the Work Release Program:

1. Untried detainers for criminal offenses or immigration detainers;

2. Current convictions involving arson offenses;

3. Previous convictions for arson offenses, even if the current conviction is for an offense(s) other than arson; and/or

4. The applicable provisions of related statutes of the State of New Jersey, such as, but not limited to, Michael's Law at N.J.S.A. 39:4-51.

(b) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:8-44.1, no person confined to an adult county correctional facility shall be eligible to participate in any work release or vocational training release program if he or she has been convicted of any of the following:

1. Any crime involving a sexual offense or child molestation as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1 et seq.;

2. Any crime endangering the welfare of children or incompetents which concerns sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child or an incompetent, as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4 and N.J.S.A. 2C:24-7;

3. Any crime involving the manufacture, transportation, sale or possession, with the intent to sell or distribute, of a "controlled dangerous substance" or a "controlled dangerous substance analog," as defined in the "Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1986," P.L. 1987, c.106 (C.2C:35-1 et al.); or

4. Any crime involving the use of force or the threat of force upon a person or property including: armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, arson, manslaughter and murder.

10A:31-25.7 Application for admission to the Work Release Program

(a) The County Work Release Administrator designated by the governing body of the county or the County Board of Freeholders in accordance with N.J.S.A. 30:8-44 shall be responsible for advising county sentenced inmates that an application may be submitted to the County Work Release Administrator, who shall submit the application to the court for approval or disapproval to participate in the Work Release Program for purposes of employment, vocational training or to care for the offender's family. At any time, a work release order may be revoked by the court that granted the order.

(b) An inmate sentenced by the court to an adult county correctional facility, who desires an opportunity to participate in the Work Release Program by being released to the community for employment, vocational training or meeting family needs shall be required to complete and submit Form CWR-1 Application and Agreement for Assignment Under the Work Release Program to the County Work Release Administrator for submission to the court.

(c) The County Work Release Administrator shall review and evaluate the information collected on each application and make a recommendation to the court concerning admission to the Work Release Program. The basic information shall include, but is not limited to:

1. Prior criminal history;

2. Detailed information concerning present offense;

3. Detailed information regarding untried criminal charges pending and the current status of these charges;

4. Psychological and psychiatric evaluations, when available;

5. Record of violent or assaultive conduct;

6. Record of violation of financial or public trust;

7. Data on family relationships including responsibility to assist in family maintenance;

8. Work history;

9. Personal health;

10. Record of substance abuse; and

11. Information on job opportunities or vocational programs to meet the inmate's needs.

(d) The following facts and circumstances shall be viewed as negative factors when considering an inmate's application for the Work Release Program:

1. A record of association with organized crime;

2. A record of serious emotional or personality disorders;

3. A record of violent or assaultive behavior;

4. Previous violations of financial or public trust;

5. A high degree of public notoriety which would cause adverse reaction if the inmate were released to the community;

6. Indications that release to the community would be contrary to punitive intention of sentence; and

7. A history which indicates a record of convictions for offenses related to controlled dangerous substances (CDS).

10A:31-25.8 Job site evaluation

(a) The County Work Release Administrator shall be responsible for evaluating all prospective places of employment of inmates in accordance with N.J.S.A. 30:4-91.3 et seq.

(b) Whenever possible, work release employment shall be related to prior vocational training, work experience and/or the institutional training of the inmate.

(c) The following shall initially be taken into account when evaluating the job site:

1. Working conditions of employees;

2. Potential hazards to health of employees;

3. Credibility of the employer;

4. Verification of a fair rate of pay, not less than minimum wage;

5. Coverage of an appropriate workers' compensation plan;

6. Availability of transportation;

7. Duration of the offered employment and benefits; and

8. Proximity to the adult county correctional facility.

(d) Inmates shall not be placed in Work Release Program assignments which will result in the displacement of workers employed in the community.

(e) Representatives of local union central bodies or similar labor union organizations shall be consulted about the placement of inmates with an employer, when appropriate.

(f) If suitable private outside employment cannot be found for an inmate, the inmate may be employed by the county at a fair wage and reasonable hours of work.

10A:31-25.9 Notice to inmate

Form CWR-2 Notification of Admission to Work Release with Specified Conditions shall be used by the County Work Release Administrator to notify the inmate of the court's decision on the inmate's application.

10A:31-25.10 Work Release Plan

(a) The County Work Release Administrator and the inmate shall prepare a detailed Work Release Plan (Form CWR-3 Approved Work Release Plan). The plan shall include information concerning the job, transportation and a statement authorizing the County Work Release Administrator to make disbursements from earnings.

(b) The information concerning the job placement shall include, but is not limited to:

1. The name of employer;

2. The address of employer;

3. The telephone number of employer;

4. The location of work site;

5. The hourly or other rate of pay;

6. Work days and hours;

7. A plan for overtime or shift work, if necessary; and

8. An evaluation of the job offer by the County Work Release Administrator.

(c) Each Work Release Plan shall contain a written detailed Transportation Plan. The Transportation Plan shall include, but is not limited to:

1. The dates and times of leaving and returning to the adult county correctional facility;

2. The times of arrival and departure from the job;

3. The method of transportation (for example, facility vehicle, public, private conveyance);

4. The daily cost of transportation;

5. The routes of travel; and

6. A procedure to be used when there are unexpected changes in travel arrangements, such as extended work conditions, delays caused by breakdowns, etc.

(d) If the Transportation Plan calls for the use of a private conveyance as the method of transportation, the County Work Release Administrator should ensure that the appropriate licensing, vehicle registration and insurance coverage are provided. Copies of these documents shall be contained in the inmate's file.

(e) The Transportation Plan should be flexible so as to allow for normal problems anticipated in daily travel. Generally, travel time to and from a job should not exceed one hour each way.

(f) The final section of the Work Release Plan shall include information on the disbursement of wages.

(g) When the Work Release Plan is completed and reviewed by the County Work Release Administrator, the inmate shall be asked to read and indicate his or her acceptance of the provisions of the Work Release Plan by signing it.

(h) The employer shall receive a copy of the approved Work Release Plan by certified mail, return receipt requested, along with a copy of the court's order placing the inmate in outside employment. The inmate shall also receive a copy of the Work Release Plan.

10A:31-25.11 Disbursement of wages

(a) An inmate participating in the Work Release Program shall submit his or her salary, wages or stipend, in the form that it is paid (cash or check), to the County Work Release Administrator who shall, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 30:4-91.4 and applicable provisions of related State statutes, make payments from these earnings for:

1. Money advances made to purchase or redeem work clothes, travel clothes and/or work tools;

2. The cost of work transportation and cash advanced for miscellaneous daily expenses while outside the adult county correctional facility;

3. Payment of cost for board which shall be charged for each day that the inmate is participating in the Work Release Program;

4. Court costs and fines;

5. Medical and dental fees;

6. Prescription or nonprescription drugs or medicine fees;

7. Legally ascertained support of dependents after written notice to the appropriate welfare board; and/or

8. Payment on debts and legal obligations acknowledged by the inmate in writing and filed with the County Work Release Administrator on such forms as the Administrator shall specify.

(b) Every effort shall be made to secure full payment of advances as soon as possible. Except in the most unusual situations, full repayment shall be obtained no later than the second full pay.

(c) Any balance of earnings remaining after payment of items in (a) above shall be retained as required by N.J.S.A. 30:8-49(4), and paid to the inmate when he or she is discharged.

(d) Each county shall develop a written system whereby each inmate participating in the Work Release Program shall pay a fair percentage of his or her earnings for board. The daily per capita rate for the payment of board shall not include any part of the costs arising from the administration of the Work Release Program.

10A:31-25.12 Statement of disbursements

(a) An inmate participating in the Work Release Program shall receive a statement on Form CWR-4, Statement of Disbursements, itemizing deductions made from each pay check within two weeks of the county's receipt of the paycheck.

(b) The statement shall report all income and expenses and accurately reflect the statement of the inmate's account for the period covered.

10A:31-25.13 Vocational Training Release Plan

(a) If the inmate applies and is approved for a vocational training release program, a detailed Vocational Training Release Plan (Form CWR--5 Vocational Training Release Plan) shall be prepared by the County Work Release Administrator. A copy of the Vocational Training Release Plan shall be sent to the inmate and a copy shall be sent to the training agency by certified mail, return receipt requested. The plan shall include the following:

1. The name and address of the training agency;

2. The location where training will take place;

3. The dates and times of leaving and returning to the adult county correctional facility;

4. The times of arrival and departure from the training site;

5. The mode of transportation; and

6. Other pertinent data including responsibility for payment of costs, such as transportation, meals, etc.

10A:31-25.14 Family Need Release Plan

(a) A detailed Family Need Release Plan (Form CWR-6 Family Need Release Plan) shall be prepared by the County Work Release Administrator with a copy to the inmate outlining the following:

1. The nature of need;

2. The location of where family need is to be served;

3. The dates and times of leaving and returning to the adult county correctional facility;

4. The times of arrival and departure from the family need site;

5. The mode of transportation; and

6. Other pertinent data including responsibility for paying costs, such as transportation, meals, etc.

10A:31-25.15 Notification to local municipal police departments and/or law enforcement agencies

(a) N.J.S.A. 30:4-91.3 requires that the local municipal police departments be notified by the adult county correctional facility Administrator or designee when the county intends to place an inmate in the respective municipality for the purpose of a visit, study, work or residence.

(b) The local municipal police departments and/or the law enforcement agency responsible for that jurisdiction shall be notified in writing whenever an inmate is being considered for placement into the work release, vocational training release or family care release phase of the Work Release Program.

10A:31-25.16 Custody status

Inmates approved for outside employment, family care or vocational training under a Work Release Program shall be classified as minimum custody and housed separately from other inmates serving terms in ordinary confinement, if possible.

10A:31-25.17 Orientation

(a) When the inmate has been accepted into the Work Release Program and the appropriate applications and plans have been completed, the County Work Release Administrator shall provide an orientation to the inmate.

(b) The orientation shall ensure that the inmate is made aware of and has a clear understanding of the rules, regulations and conditions governing the Work Release Program.

(c) The County Work Release Administrator or designee shall also ensure that the employer is made aware of the rules and regulations and of the employer's responsibilities concerning the Work Release Program.

(d) The County Work Release Administrator shall make periodic evaluations of the extent of family needs and of job and vocational training sites to ensure that the rules and regulations governing the Work Release Program are not being violated.

10A:31-25.18 Review of status and termination

(a) The County Work Release Administrator may hold the inmate in confinement pending judicial review of the inmate's status, when there is cause to believe that the inmate has:

1. Violated the rules of the Work Release Program; or

2. Been charged with the commission of an offense.

(b) The County Work Release Administrator shall submit a written report to the court which will include the reason(s) for holding the inmate in confinement and a request that the court review the inmate's status in the Program.

(c) The County Work Release Administrator shall implement the court's decision.

(d) No inmate may be removed from the Work Release Program without an order from the court authorizing such a removal.

10A:31-25.19 Escape

(a) An inmate shall be deemed an escapee if the inmate:

1. Fails to return to the adult county correctional facility within the prescribed time or has not notified the facility within the one hour grace period that he or she is in the process of returning; or

2. Fails to notify the facility that he or she has been detained (that is, hospitalized, arrested, etc.); or

3. Fails to obtain authorization to leave his or her place of employment.

(b) If the inmate contacts the facility within the one hour grace period and is given a reasonable time limit within which to return to the facility but fails to do so, the inmate shall be declared an escapee if there are no extenuating circumstances or verified legitimate reasons for the inmate's failure to return within the time limit.

(c) In all cases of escape, the County Work Release Administrator shall arrange for immediate notice to the:

1. Adult county correctional facility Administrator;

2. Local police departments (and/or the law enforcement agencies responsible) in the municipality of the adult county correctional facility and in the municipality of the release site;

3. State police; and

4. Court that authorized the work release participation.

10A:31-25.20 Quarterly report

(a) The County Work Release Administrator shall be responsible for preparing a quarterly report (Form CWR-9 Quarterly Report of Work Release) which shall be submitted to the County Board of Freeholders and the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

(b) The quarterly report shall contain a general summary of Work Release Program information, which includes, but is not limited to:

1. The total number of participants in the Program;

2. The total number of admissions to the Program;

3. The total number of terminations from the Program;

4. The total number of revocations for violations of conditions; and

5. The total number of removals because of illness or death.

(c) The quarterly report shall also contain other statistical information on the Work Release Program and facts as may be requested by the governing body of the county or the County Board of Freeholders and the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

10A:31-25.21 Arrangements with other counties

(a) An inmate may be housed in another adult county correctional facility for the purposes of work release when the court, issuing the release placement order, authorizes the County Work Release Administrator to arrange with the County Work Release Administrator of another county for the employment of an inmate within that county.

(b) The inmate shall be in the custody of the other county and subject to the commitment and all applicable regulations while the inmate is participating in the Work Release Program.

(c) Agreements between cooperating counties shall include a statement of financial arrangements.

10A:31-25.22 Time credits

(a) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:8-50, an inmate participant may be granted a reduction of not more than one-quarter of his or her term if the inmate's conduct, diligence and general attitude merit such reduction (see N.J.A.C. 10A:31-23.1).

(b) Form CWR-7 Diminution of Term shall be used to notify the appropriate person in the adult county correctional facility as to the number of days to be credited in reduction of an inmate's sentence.

Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea

1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)

2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:

a. You will have a criminal record

b. You may go to Jail or Prison.

c. You will have to pay Fines and Court Costs.

3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.

4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.

5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.

6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.

7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.

8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3

9. You could be put on Probation.

10. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your driver's license for 6 months - 2years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.

11. You may be required to do Community Service.

12. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.

13. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.

14. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.

15. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1

16. You may lose your right to vote.

The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.

Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:

If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.

NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;

(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;

(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;

(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.

2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:

a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;

(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;

b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;

(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;

c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;

d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;

If facing any criminal charge, retain an experienced attorney immediately to determine you rights and obligations to the court. Current criminal charge researched by Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. 732-572-0500

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Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents individuals charged with criminal, drug offenses, and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey. Our office helps people with traffic/ municipal court tickets including drivers charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Refusal and Driving While Suspended.

Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutor's Association.

Criminal and Motor vehicle violations can cost you. You will have to pay fines in court or receive points on your drivers license. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles] or have your license suspended. Don't give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal motor vehicle violations.

When your job or driver's license is in jeopardy or you are facing thousands of dollars in fines, DMV surcharges and car insurance increases, you need excellent legal representation. The least expensive attorney is not always the answer. Schedule an appointment if you need experienced legal representation in a traffic/municipal court matter.

Our website www.benotguilty.com provides information on traffic offenses we can be retained to represent people. Our website also provides details on jail terms for traffic violations and car insurance eligibility points. Car insurance companies increase rates or drop customers based on moving violations.

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© Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.

Last Revised September 9, 2008