Arrested for Creating False Public Alarm in Morristown?

Creating False Public Alarm Charges Morris County NJ
Creating False Public Alarm Charges Morris County NJ

If you or a loved one has been charged with creating a false public alarm in New Jersey under N.J.S. 2C:33-3, we can help.

Here is a case we handled in 2018 for a client facing those charges where we were able to keep this felony charge off of his record. Our client was a young professional who lives in Washington D.C. and is going to school for his masters. He was up in Morristown visiting his girlfriend and family and they were out drinking at some of the bars on the green. After their night was over, they went to the Morristown Diner for food. The establishment called the police because their crowd was creating a disturbance. The police asked the group to leave and they complied.

Unfortunately, our client was not happy with his interaction with the police and didn’t feel as though they were helping him. As a result, he called 9-1-1 for assistance. The police officers on scene responded and charged him with placing a false 9-1-1 call without an actual emergency under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-3(a), which is a fourth degree crime in New Jersey. He was facing a $10,000 fine, probation, up to eighteen (18) months in prison, and a permanent felony charge on his record if he was convicted of this serious offense.

Luckily, we were able to convince the Morris County Prosecutor’s office to downgrade the felony charge back to Morristown Municipal Court as a disorderly persons offense. Then, when we appeared in court and the prosecutor reviewed the police reports and circumstances of the arrest, Mr. Tormey was able to convince him to downgrade the case again to a town ordinance violation for disturbing the peace. This resulted in a fine and no criminal record for our client.

Lawyer Needed for 4th Degree Charge Morris County? Contact Us

The client was extemely satisfied with the service provided and the results in this case. With his promising career ahead of him, it was crucial to avoid any criminal convictions on his permanent record. If you or a loved one needs assistance with a criminal charge in Morris County, contact our offices anytime for a free initial consultation.

Rockaway Shoplifting Charges Result in No Jail Time on a Third Offense

Need lawyer for shoplifting case Morris County
Shoplifting Charges Morris County NJ

Have you been arrested for shoplifting in Morris County? We can help. Here is a case we successfully handled in 2018 for a client who was facing a third offense shoplifting conviction which requires a mandatory 90 days in the county jail if convicted.

Our client was a 61-year old married father who hadn’t had an arrest or conviction since 1990 (28 years ago). Unfortunately for him, his two prior convictions in 1989 and 1990 were for shoplifting. Under New Jersey law, a third conviction for shoplifting (at any time in person’s life, even almost 30 years ago), requires that the defendant serve 90 days in the county jail. This alleged shoplifting offense was in Rockaway Township in Nordstrom Rack in an amount of $74.00.

We were retained to handle the case and filed Laurick motions in the two courts where his prior convictions occurred (Wayne and Bridgewater). Because he was not represented by an attorney on those two prior cases, under New Jersey law they can not enhance his third offense to include that mandatory jail time. The argument is that he was not properly advised of his rights and the penalties involved for subsequent convictions because he did not have legal counsel.

Luckily for our client, the motion was granted in Bridgewater and the Judge there signed an Order stating that the prior conviction could not be used to enhance a subsequent conviction. This avoids the mandatory jail time.However, the Municipal Judge in Rockaway Township could still impose a jail sentence if he believed it was appropriate under the circumstances.

We submitted a sentencing brief to the Court which details our client’s age, medical issues, proof of employment, the hardship a jail sentence would impose on him and his family, the counseling he completed after this offense, and argued that he had been living a law abiding life for the last 28 years since his prior convictions and that should significantly mitigate the instant offense and the Judge agreed. He imposed a one year probationary sentence and 90 days SLAP (which is in lieu of county jail time). The SLAP program allows people to do community service instead of actual jail time.

This was a great result for our client and the Tormey Law Firm. Here is a review from our client on this case:

5.0 stars

Posted by John September 28, 2018

Hiring Mr. Tormey to defend my shoplifting charge was the best decision of my life. I was facing mandatory jail time due to two prior convictions. My case lasted 5 months, and was the most stressful time I have ever experienced. The judge was very unforgiving, and from the first court session we learn that he was going to give me the maximum mandatory jail sentence. However, with his skill and knowledge, Mr. Tormey uses ever possible strategy to get me from being incarcerated. At the sentencing date, the judge told me and quoted “This is a very lucky day for you, I have decided not to give you jail time, and you have to thank Mr. Tormey for he has worked very hard on your behalf”. With that I was given probation and no jail time. Mr. Tormey is a professional, very responsive and stayed focus to get you the best possible outcome. At one point I was ready to plead guilty, serve the time and then just move on with my life. He reassured me by saying “That is a terrible decision, just let me do what I can do and we will avoid the jail time”. I am glad I took his advice. I also wanted to thank Mr. Brent DiMarco, an associated with his firm who assisted the case by drafting and filing various motions with the other municipal courts, and in submitting the sentencing memo to the judge. His documents were comprehensive, timely filed and were instrumental in achieving the favorable outcome. If you need an attorney in this and other criminal matters, please do yourself a huge favor and call Mr. Tormey and his team of lawyers.

Lawyer Needed for Shoplifting Charge Morris County NJ? Call Us

If you or someone you know needs a lawyer for a shoplifting charge in Morris County, contact us anytime for a free consultation.

Juvenile Arrested for Marijuana in Morris County?

Child was arrested for marijuana Morristown lawyers near meMany of the same laws apply in full force to juveniles just as they do to adults in New Jersey. However, juveniles are often treated differently with more minor offenses, and some drug crimes will fall under this more lenient treatment. One of the most common drug crimes involving minors in New Jersey relates to simple marijuana possession, also known as possession of under 50 grams of marijuana. Below are just a few things that you should know as a minor or a parent if your child is charged with this type of offense.

1. Possession of Less Than 50 Grams of Marijuana is a Disorderly Persons Offense

If anyone is charged with simple possession of marijuana, this is a criminal misdemeanor, called a disorderly persons offense. The maximum amount of time in jail is six months, and you can face up to $1,000 in fines. If possession is over 50 grams, however, it is considered an indictable crime. In either type of charge, your driver’s license may be suspended for six months. Juveniles, however, face a different kind of penalty after a marijuana possession charge.

2. Sentences for Juvenile Marijuana Possession Charges are Flexible

If you get a possession charge as an adult, you may only have a couple of choices when it comes to a potential sentence. Most of those include jail time and fines, unless you have no prior criminal record, in which case you may be eligible for Conditional Discharge (explained below). As a minor, however, your sentence may involve things like probation, community service, drug rehabilitation, mental health counseling, or restitution. Suspension of driving privileges is also likely.

3. Your Child May Qualify for a Deferred Disposition

Individuals charged with marijuana possession who are first-time offenders are often eligible for a divisionary program called Conditional Discharge. This type of program allows them to stay out of jail and avoid a criminal record by completing a period of probation, during which they may have to submit to random drug testing. A deferred disposition in a juvenile case works very similar to having conditional discharge as an adult. Essentially, the minor can fulfill the requirements imposed by the juvenile judge and keep their juvenile record clean.

4. Paraphernalia Can Also Trigger a Weed Possession Charge in New Jersey

If a minor has a pipe that has marijuana residue, even if they do not have any marijuana on them, the minor can still be charged with possession of pot. The same can be said if an officer finds a joint nearby, even if it has already been mostly smoked. Essentially, any amount of a drug found in drug paraphernalia can lead to drug possession charges under New Jersey law.

5. Having Drug Paraphernalia is a Separate Charge

A minor might also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in addition to possession. That type of charge is also a disorderly persons offense. Even things like jars, pipes, rolling papers, bongs, scales, and electronic cigarettes could all be considered drug paraphernalia in some circumstances.

6. Marijuana Possession Charges for Juveniles Are Heard in Family Court

If you are under the age of 18, your possession charge will be heard in Family Court of the Superior Court in the county where you reside. It does not matter that you were charged in a different county—you must return to the county where you live to be charged as a juvenile. However, if you are over 18, then you will be prosecuted in Municipal Court where the incident occurred. If you or your child is a Morris County resident, your juvenile marijuana case will be heard in the Morris County Superior Court Family Division in Morristown, NJ.

7. You Might Have More Defenses Available Than You Realize

When police find marijuana, it is often the result of a search. However, there are only certain conditions that searches are permitted. If the search was invalid and they found marijuana as a result of the invalid or illegal search, then the evidence that it existed at all could be thrown out. Even questioning and telling someone about their rights must be done in a specific way. Any of these factors could create a defense to a juvenile marijuana possession charge.

8. Juveniles Will Still Face Drug Charges if Marijuana is Legalized in NJ

Although the question of whether marijuana will be legalized in New Jersey is still up in the air, one thing is certain: juveniles will still be charged with criminal offenses for marijuana possession if it is legalized. Minors and parents should keep this in mind regardless of what happens with any new marijuana laws in the coming months.

If you or your child has been charged with marijuana possession, get help formulating the best defense from our Morris County marijuana possession lawyers. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us today for a free consultation.

Need a Lawyer for Parsippany juvenile caseNot every juvenile case in New Jersey will go to a formal hearing before a Juvenile Judge. Some cases will be referred to “Juvenile Referees.” These individuals act as a go-between for the minor facing the charges and the judge. Juvenile referees hold hearings, but the proceedings are much less formal. The juvenile referee is trained and certified to fulfill their role. They will often decide cases using much less stringent evidence requirements. They may also make more creative recommendations regarding how a juvenile should be treated if the child is found to be “delinquent.” Here are the basics of what you need to know about Juvenile Referees if your son or daughter needs to appear for a juvenile case in New Jersey.

What is a Juvenile Referee in New Jersey?

A Juvenile Referee is appointed by the Family Court Judge. He or she is also approved by the Chief Justice. The State of New Jersey also has specific requirements that this person must meet to serve in this role, including undergoing training and education. Generally, the Juvenile Referee will hear pleas from juveniles and conduct hearings if the juvenile pleads “not guilty.” As a rule, more serious offenses (those that are considered at least third degree crimes) will not be heard by a Juvenile Referee. Sometimes, turning to a Referee is a logical next step if you have had an unsuccessful Juvenile Conference Committee meeting or if the case involves a repeat offender or violation of probation.

Hearing Before a Juvenile Referee in NJ

Trials that involve Juvenile Referees are far more informal than traditional juvenile hearings. Nonetheless, like a conventional hearing, both the state and the juvenile can call witnesses and submit evidence. The minor can testify on his or her own behalf if they wish as well. Once all of the evidence is presented, the Juvenile Referee will determine whether the juvenile is “delinquent” or “not delinquent,” just as they would do in an adult hearing that involves a “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict from a jury. However, there are no juries used in these types of hearings.

The Juvenile Referee will take recommendations from the law enforcement officer and the victim as to how the case should be decided. Nonetheless, the Referee has the ultimate decision-making power. He or she will then make a recommendation as to how the case should be resolved. That recommendation is then passed along to the Juvenile Judge for a final decision. Many times, the Juvenile Judge will use the advice of the Referee and defer to his or her judgment regarding any factual disputes, but not always.

Need a Lawyer for Morristown Juvenile Referee Hearing

The Juvenile Referee will ultimately recommend how the juvenile’s case should be handled. There are a wide variety of potential options that the Referee can suggest to the judge. For example, he or she may recommend dismissal, community service, fines, mental health evaluations, supervised probation, suspension of a driver’s license, and other more creative options.

Although a Juvenile Referee hearing is informal, it is still highly advisable to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you and your child obtain the best outcome. Presenting evidence and arguments in your son or daughter’s defense is a vital part of the process. The recommendations that the Referee makes are often used by the Juvenile Court, so getting it right the first time is very important. You certainly have a right to a lawyer in these proceedings and making that decision early in the process can help you be best prepared for what happens next. Call our Morris County Juvenile Defense Attorneys at (908) 336-5008 for more information on this unique juvenile process and find out how we can help you.

Arrested for Criminal Mischief in Morris County?

Help Charged Criminal Mischief Morris County need lawyer best defense
Criminal Mischief

Have you been arrested and charged with criminal mischief in Morris County? Do you need a lawyer to fight these charges in court? We can help. Here is a case we recently handled for a client with great success in Florham Park.

Our client was arrested and charged with criminal mischief in the 4th degree (for alleged damage to property over $500 but less than $2,000). He was also charged with disorderly persons offenses of simple assault and harassment. He has no prior criminal history and this was his first contact with the criminal justice system at 48 years old. He and his significant other had an argument where he allegedly damaged their television and threw the remote control at him. He also was charged with harassment for excessive phone calls after he left the house.

Because of the fourth degree felony charge, the case was scheduled for CJP court in Morristown. Any felony cases must be handled in the Superior Court as opposed to the Municipal Court. Luckily, our lawyers were able to convince the Morris County Prosecutor’s office to downgrade the felony criminal mischief offense to a disorderly persons (misdemeanor) charge and all the charges were then remanded back to the Florham Park Municipal Court for disposition.

The alleged victim in this matter did not want to proceed with the charges and wanted the case dismissed. Since he was the only witness to the alleged acts, the State could not prove the charges in court beyond a reasonable doubt without his testimony. As a result, the Judge and the prosecutor in Florham Park agreed to a carry order where the case is dismissed after 60 days as long as there are no other domestic violence calls to their residence. When we returned to court after to 60 days had passed, the charges were completely dismissed. Now, the client is filing an expedited expungement to have the arrest removed from his record as well.

Need lawyer for simple assault, harassment Florham Park?

If you or a loved one needs assistance with a criminal mischief, simple assault, or harassment charge in Morris County, contact us anytime for a free initial consultation.

The juvenile court system in New Jersey has a number of nuances that are provided as opportunities for minors who would otherwise enter the criminal justice system. The Juvenile Conference Committee (JCC) is one such alternative venue for juvenile cases. The Committee will hear cases that do not go to the Superior Court, Family Division. Without this Committee, most cases involving minors could go straight to a Juvenile Judge. Instead, the Juvenile Conference Committee operates as a separate division of the Superior Court in every county in New Jersey.

Juveniles accused of minor offenses, who have either never been accused of a prior crime or they have one other conviction, may have the opportunity to go through the JCC instead of seeing a Juvenile Judge. Minor offenses (known as disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses) will generally include things like disorderly conduct, shoplifting (petty theft), trespassing, and criminal mischief.

What is a Juvenile Conference Committee in New Jersey?

The JCC includes six to nine citizens who volunteer to serve on the panel. They are appointed by the local Family Division Judge. These individuals will hear and decide matters involving juveniles who have been charged with committing criminal offenses. Each volunteer must go through training to sit as a member of the JCC in New Jersey.

If a juvenile is assigned to see the JCC, he or she will receive a notice in the mail for a conference. The notice will be addressed to the minor and his or her parents or guardians. The notice may also request that you bring specific information, including medical records and school reports. The victim or individual who complained about the minor’s actions will also be invited to attend. The parents or guardians and the alleged victim, if any, will also be invited to discuss the offense and related issues with the Committee. All JCC proceedings are confidential. That means that everything the minor (and the parents, guardians, and victims) says will be kept private.

Once the Committee has heard the evidence and charges, it will consider the facts presented to it, and make recommendations to a judge for a resolution.  The JCC will consider all aspects of the juvenile’s life in deciding what type of resolution is appropriate for the situation.

What are the Possible Outcomes of a Juvenile Conference in NJ?

The focus of a Juvenile Conference Committee is on the rehabilitation of the minor. Any resolution will have the best interests of the child in mind—with an eye toward personal development and growth. In many situations, possible recommendations will include things like performing volunteer work, paying back any victim for damages or losses (fines), or mental health counseling. Creating apology letters or writing essays regarding the minor’s actions may also be potential punishments as well.

By law, a Juvenile Conference Committee is required to consider the following in all of its processes and in creating a resolution:

  • Providing balanced attention to the protection of the community;
  • The imposition of accountability for offenses committed;
  • Fostering interaction and dialogue between the offender, the victim, and the community as a whole; and
  • Development of competencies to help the minor become a responsible and productive member in the community.

One of the primary focuses of the JCC is to prevent future misconduct, which may include following up with the juvenile in the future as well.

Have a Juvenile Conference Committee Date?

Working through the JCC is generally beneficial for a minor when dealing with allegations of juvenile misconduct in New Jersey. However, it is a good idea to have an attorney who has experience with his unique process in order to ensure the best possible result for your child. An experienced New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyer will be able to craft a resolution that will be acceptable to the JCC and provide the most benefit for the juvenile involved to prevent permanent damage for the young person’s future. The attorneys at our firm provide this type of assistance for juveniles charged with offenses in Morris County and throughout New Jersey. Learn more about how we can help you by contacting our team at (908) 336-5008 or filling out an online form. We provide free consultations.

Stationhouse Adjustments in NJ Juvenile Cases

Morristown Juvenile Case AttorneyJuveniles are treated differently in the criminal justice system in New Jersey, and rightfully so. Children generally do not need the harsh treatment that adults receive through the criminal justice system. Instead, taking steps to focus on rehabilitation is much more critical for minors suspected of committing criminal offenses.

When a juvenile is taken into custody for doing something that would otherwise be a crime if an adult was engaging in the act, then law enforcement often has the option to decline to file a formal criminal complaint. Instead, they can conduct what is known as a “stationhouse adjustment.”

What is a Stationhouse Adjustment?

Police will sometimes decide to make a stationhouse adjustment instead of filing a formal criminal complaint against a juvenile in New Jersey. This process usually involves having a meeting with the minor, along with his or her parents (or guardian), and, in some cases, the victim of the alleged crime. This group of people will sit down and discuss the offense. The juvenile will also have to go through some kind of punishment for his or her behavior, such as doing community service, paying restitution, or writing an essay.

The idea behind a stationhouse adjustment is to teach the juvenile a lesson without forcing them to go through the criminal justice process, including the formal court appearance. It allows them to avoid having something on their criminal record as well. It is faster, easier, and includes immediate consequences for a juvenile’s actions. It may also service the victims of a particular types of offenses, such as those whose property was vandalized.

When Is a Stationhouse Adjustment an Option?

Stationhouse adjustments can only be used for certain types of offenses. These include things like petty disorderly persons offenses, disorderly person offenses, fourth-degree offenses if the juvenile has no prior record, and municipal ordinance violations. Officers will generally use stationhouse adjustments for minor crimes committed by first-time offenders. Some of the most common offenses include things like trespassing, shoplifting (petty theft), and disorderly conduct. Charges related to controlled substances, sex crimes, third-degree offenses, and violations of parole are not offenses where a stationhouse adjustment is appropriate or permitted.

When determining whether to use a stationhouse adjustment or file a formal criminal complaint, the officer involved will consider factors like the nature and seriousness of the offense, the age of the juvenile involved, and the cooperation of all of the parties involved. For example, if a victim was seriously harmed by the juvenile’s actions, then the officer may be less likely to use a stationhouse adjustment.

Officers can also use stationhouse adjustments when a juvenile is engaging in an activity that is not necessarily illegal, but it is dangerous to themselves or others or disruptive. The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has encouraged officers to use the stationhouse adjustment process as the first alternative to taking a juvenile into custody and making a formal charge. Police are permitted to use curbside warnings as a substitute as well.

How Does a Stationhouse Adjustment Work?

A juvenile officer will generally conduct the stationhouse adjustment. However, if one is not available, then the arresting officer or the detective can consult with the juvenile officer to sign off on the stationhouse adjustment as well. The officer will ask the juvenile, parent or guardian, and the victim to the police station to discuss the issue. If a victim does not agree to address the problem, then a stationhouse adjustment may not be possible.

Our team can work with you and your child to encourage that an officer use a stationhouse adjustment in certain circumstances. Contact The Tormey Law Firm for more information about how we can help you and your child if you are trying to maneuver through the juvenile justice system in New Jersey. Having an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney can be a helpful asset under these circumstances. Call (908) 336-5008 or send us an email for more information.

Juvenile Defense Lawyers Morristown, NJ

New Jersey Juvenile Court LawyersNew Jersey uses the “JJC” or Juvenile Justice Commission to address all of the criminal cases alleged against those considered minors under NJ Law. The terms “minor” and “juvenile” are used interchangeably to refer to individuals under the age of 18. The JJC is the entity responsible for all planning and policy development related to the juvenile justice system. It was created in 1995 to help ensure that juveniles had their own criminal justice system that was less punitive than the adult system. The focus is three major issues: the care, custody, and rehabilitation of minors in New Jersey. Although the juvenile system is dedicated to upholding the standard of the best interests of the child, this should not lead you to believe that juvenile charges cannot result in severe consequences for those found guilty.

Juvenile Court in New Jersey

In addition to protecting the interests of juveniles in the system, the JJC also protects citizens throughout the state of New Jersey by ensuring that there is a program that addresses minors who may be considered dangerous to others. Public safety and personal responsibility are at the forefront of the JJC’s goals. The focus is also always on encouraging young people to be productive, independent, and law-abiding citizens in New Jersey. Unfortunately, situations occur in which young people are charged with criminal offenses such as possession of marijuana, cocaine possession, disorderly conduct, shoplifting, criminal mischief, trespassing, assault, and other crimes that force them into the Juvenile Court System. When these difficult scenarios occur, it is critical to have an experienced juvenile defense attorney protecting the rights of the minor and working toward the best possible result.

If your child has been charged with a juvenile criminal offense in New Jersey, the experienced juvenile lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm can help. Our attorneys defend minors in Family Court in Morris County and throughout New Jersey regularly and we are committed to protecting your child’s future from the detrimental effects of juvenile charges. Contact our firm anytime for an absolutely free and confidential consultation about your child’s  juvenile case.

NJ Juvenile Justice Process

How a Juvenile Enters the Criminal Court System

A young person enters the JJC system through a complaint process. The complaint charges the minor with a delinquent act. These delinquent acts would be considered a crime if an adult engaged in this type of activity.
Law enforcement can, and often does, take a juvenile into custody when he or she believes that a delinquent act has occurred. In addition to signing a delinquency complaint, an officer can also:

  • Release the juvenile to his or her parents or guardians with a warning or reprimand
  • Conduct a station house adjustment

The minor will be held in a secure detention facility in some cases. The officer must make a referral to court intake services for this type of admission to take place. The juvenile can also start the juvenile court process through non-law enforcement complaint or through a family crisis intervention unit referral. Family crisis intervention units (JFCIUs) divert specific problems away from the court. These specifically deal with family issues, including problems associated with:

  • Truancy
  • Runaways
  • Incorrigibility
  • Serious family conflict

JFCIUs provide crisis intervention services right away to try to stabilize the family situation. The JFCIU may also refer the family to other available community agencies as well.

Court Jurisdiction in NJ Juvenile Cases

The Family Court has jurisdiction over juvenile delinquency cases. However, a juvenile can also be waived into adult court as well. It is more likely that the minor will be treated as an adult if the delinquent act alleged is particularly violent, such as armed robbery, carjacking, aggravated assault with a weapon, manslaughter, or aggravated sexual assault.

Unlike the adult criminal justice system, minors charged with crimes in New Jersey generally appear in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county where they live, not the county where the alleged offense occurred. In other words, if your child is charged with a juvenile offense in Hackensack but you live in Parsippany, their juvenile case will be heard in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, NJ.

Possible Outcomes of a Juvenile Court Case in New Jersey

The next step in the JJC process is to determine whether a minor will be detained before their Family Court hearing. After that, the court will determine the “disposition” of this case. Disposition is another word for the result of a juvenile case. Assuming the charges are not dismissed, additional options for disposition may include:

  • Probation
  • Community-based services
  • Out-of-home services for child behavioral health
  • Fines
  • Restitution
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Incarceration in a juvenile detention center

The court may also use a “deferred disposition” to resolve a juvenile matter. This option allows the juvenile to avoid being adjudicated delinquent (same as a conviction for an adult) as long as he or she complies with certain conditions. It’s designed to be a second chance for a minor. The youth can avoid going to court and jail, paying fines, and having a criminal record. A deferred disposition is similar to a diversionary program for an adult, with terms of probation that ultimately prevent a juvenile charge from tarnishing the child’s record.

Juvenile Facing Charges in Morris County, New Jersey

If your child has been accused of a crime, navigating the juvenile justice system can be confusing and overwhelming for you and your family. Get legal help by calling the Morristown criminal defense team at The Tormey Law Firm. We have successfully defended countless juveniles in Family Court and adult court in New Jersey and we are fully prepared to present your child’s case in a way that will minimize the impact on his or her future.

Falsely Accused of Drug Distribution in Morris County NJ

FDU Student Charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute

Morristown NJ Marijuana Lawyer
Drug Distribution Charges Morris County NJ

The Morris County criminal defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm LLC recently represented a client who was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute arising on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University located in Florham Park, New Jersey. His charges were as follows:

  • Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in a quantity more than one (1) oz. but under five (5) lbs, a crime of the third degree, in violation of N.J.S. 2c:35-5(b)(11)
  • Possession of marijuana more than fifty (50) grams, a crime of the fourth degree, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10(a)(3)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, a disorderly persons offense, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:36-2
  • Possession of a fake ID, a crime of the fourth degree, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:21-2.1(d)

The third degree crime is the most serious offense which is punishable by 3-5 years in prison. The fourth degree crimes are each punishable by up to eighteen (18) months in prison and the disorderly persons offense is punishable by up to six (6) months in the Morris County Jail.

Our client is a college student at FDU with no prior criminal history. He was living in a dorm room and his roommate had these illegal drugs in their bathroom of the dorm suite when it was raided by the police. First, we were able to convince the Morris County Prosecutor’s office to downgrade the felony charges to misdemeanors (disorderly persons offenses) and remand them back to the Florham Park Municipal Court for resolution.

Then, when we appeared in Florham Park Municipal Court, we were able to convince the municipal prosecutor that the roommate was responsible for the contraband and not our client. We plead guilty to a municipal ordinance violation (also known as a local ordinance) for the possession of the Fake ID which resulted in a fine and no criminal record.

Drug Charge Attorneys Fairleigh Dickinson University in Florham Park NJ

This was a great result for our client and the Tormey Law Firm LLC. If you or a loved one needs assistance with a criminal charge at Fairleigh Dickinson University (known as “FDU”) or anywhere in Florham Park or Morris County NJ, contact our Morristown offices now for immediate assistance at 908-336-5008. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.

Is New Jersey Headed toward Legal Marijuana?

The war over marijuana rages on in New Jersey, with politicians and lawmakers taking up sides. Officials in Jersey City are on the pro-decriminalization side of the argument, which is manifested in their actions of late. Mayor Steve Fulop and Chief Prosecutor of Jersey City, Jacob Hudnut, recently sent out correspondence to Jersey City’s criminal prosecution team. The memo set out plans for a much more lenient policy related to marijuana charges, with the ultimate goal of decriminalization. This new Jersey City plan directed the city’s prosecutors to address specific marijuana-related crimes very differently. It directed assistant prosecutors to downgrade these charges to non-criminal, local ordinance offenses:

  • Marijuana possession
  • Possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle
  • Under the Influence of marijuana
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Loitering to get or distribute marijuana

This new directive also states that if you are arrested on a marijuana charge in Jersey City, then your case may be dismissed under certain conditions. One of those conditions is that you do not have any prior convictions. In addition, under Jersey City’s new policy, every marijuana-related case relative to a simple violation of a local ordinance, which does not leave you with a criminal record.

Mayor Fulop, and Chief Prosecutor Jacob Hudnut believe that prosecuting marijuana-related cases has a disproportionate impact on minorities and is a drain on Jersey City’s municipal resources. There are several benefits for the city that come from declining to pursue these cases.

However, New Jersey’s Attorney General almost immediately responded to Jersey City’s plan by saying that it could not be legally effective based on the current legal landscape. Attorney General Grewal argued that city prosecutors should adhere to the supervisory power of the attorney general’s office as well as the office of the county prosecutor. He states that the city cannot independently decriminalize marijuana without support from other governmental entities, including the county and the state.

In addition, Grewal argued that city prosecutors can only alter pre-existing complaints, including by amending or dismissing them, for “good cause” based on the Rules of Court. He states that this policy will not hold up in court because marijuana is still illegal in the State of New Jersey. Exercising prosecutorial discretion will generally not be considered “good cause” under these circumstances.

It is anticipated that in September, Attorney General Grewal will release his directive as it pertains to the use of prosecutorial discretion in marijuana-related cases in the municipal courts. In addition, New Jersey lawmakers are expected to vote on a piece of legislation that would legalize marijuana in the coming months. Although lawmakers are making strides toward decriminalizing marijuana use, nothing is certain yet.

Keep in mind, in New Jersey it is still a crime to possess, grow, and sell marijuana, as well as being in possession of drug paraphernalia. If you are arrested on a marijuana-related charge, you should immediately retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Travis Tormey and the defense team at The Tormey Law Firm are prepared to be strong advocates for your rights. Contact our Morristown office at 908-336-5008 or contact us online for a free consultation.

For additional information pertaining to this issue, access the following resource:

Prominent New Jersey Democrats Unite to Decriminalize Marijuana