New Jersey Restraining Orders: Proving Intent to Harass
If you are the defendant in a restraining order case who is being charged with harassment, it is vital that you contact an experienced New Jersey restraining order attorney to discuss your case. The criminal charge of harassment is quite broad and nature and, as a result, is often alleged by the plaintiffs in restraining order contexts.
New Jersey case law, however, requires that the defendant have acted with an actual intent to harass in this context. Many times, the defendant’s alleged harassing conduct was not done with an actual intent to harass the plaintiff, but instead was done for some other reason. As such, the plaintiff’s failure to prove that the defendant acted with an intent to harass can be a winning defense in many of these cases. Read more
New Jersey DWI/DUI FAQs
The DWI attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf have been representing defendants charged with DWI/DUI for over more than 25 years. We know not only the law, but also how the system works and we use our knowledge and experience to help protect your rights and fight for you to achieve the best possible outcome.
The following are some of the most commonly asked DWI questions. Read more
NJ Restraining Orders: Do New Jersey Courts Have Personal Jurisdiction Over an Out-of-State Defendant?
Often times, victims of domestic violence flee their home state in order to escape the violence of their alleged perpetrators. In these instances, the State of New Jersey does protect victims of domestic violence who come to New Jersey looking for refuge from their alleged abusers. In this regard, New Jersey’sPrevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. § 2C:25-17 to -35, permits fleeing victims of domestic violence to file for a protective order in a place where the plaintiff resides or is sheltered at the time of the filing. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:25-28 (“[A] plaintiff may apply for relief under this section in a court having jurisdiction over the place where the alleged act of domestic violence occurred, where the defendant resides, or where the plaintiff resides or is sheltered.”) Read more
New Jersey Bail Reform – Major Changes Effective January 1, 2017
On January 1, 2017, substantial changes to the processing of criminal cases in New Jersey will go into effect. Although the changes made under New Jersey’s criminal law reform will affect almost all aspects of a New Jersey criminal case, the focus in particular will be on the following two areas of criminal law in New Jersey: (1) pretrial release and bail; and (2) the right to a speedy trial. Read more
Out of State DWI Convictions May Count Towards Priors When Charged with Violating N.J.S.A.2C:10-26 (Fourth Degree Operating a Motor Vehicle During a DWI Suspension)
Just recently, in State v. Luzhak, the New Jersey Appellate Division construed N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26, fourth degree operating a motor vehicle during a license suspension stemming from DWI, to apply to DWI convictions from anywhere in the United States. In that case, the defendant, who had two prior DWI convictions, one from 2013 in Maryland and the other from 2010 in New Jersey, was issued a motor vehicle summons in Woodbridge for driving with a suspended license in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.
The defendant was subsequently indicated for fourth-degree operating a motor vehicle during a second license suspension stemming from a DWI, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b). The defendant thereafter filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the 2013 DWI conviction in Maryland did not qualify as a predicate DWI conviction pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b). The defendant’s argument was essentially that, since N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b) did not specifically reference license suspensions due to out-of-state DWI convictions, the statute should be interpreted to specifically require previous license suspensions pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, New Jersey’s DWI statute.
The Appellate Division first reviewed the legislative history regarding N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26 and noted that the Senate intended to impose
“criminal penalties for persons whose [drivers’] licenses are suspended for certain drunk driving offenses and who, while under suspension for those offenses, unlawfully operate a motor vehicle.”
The court also noted that the law was prompted by reports of fatal or serious accidents caused by those with multiple DWI convictions, who continued to drive with suspended licenses. In addition, the court further noted that prior decisions have held that out-of-state convictions for an offense equivalent to a DWI were to be considered as a prior offense for enhanced sentencing purposes on a subsequent DWI conviction.
Using this analysis, in addition to New Jersey’s strong public policy against drunk driving, the court held that N.J.S.A.2C:40-26(b) contemplated convictions for DWI or its equivalent in foreign jurisdictions — even those jurisdictions which are not a party state in the Interstate Driver License Compact. In short, what this means is that DWI convictions from anywhere in the United States can expose you to the criminal penalties as set forth in N.J.S.A.2C:40-26, a fourth-degree crime. Those penalties include a mandatory 180 day county jail sentence in addition to up to two years of license suspension on top of the already existing suspension.
Despite the Appellate Division’s decision, other defenses may remain. For example, if we are able to establish that your out-of-state DWI conviction was based exclusively upon a violation of a proscribed blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.08%, then that conviction may not count against you as a prior DWI conviction. If you have been charged with violating N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26, contact the DWI attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf today. We will review your case for possible defenses to this charge. Call us today at (732) 741-4448 for a free consultation.
On September 19, 2016, it was released that State Police Sgt. Marc Dennis, a former coordinator in the State Police’s Alcohol Drug Testing Unit (“ADTU”), has been suspended pending an investigation into his calibration of Alcotest instruments. Sgt. Dennis was responsible for the calibration of Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C units in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union Counties.
Specifically, the State is alleging that Sgt. Dennis failed to use the proper thermometer to test the simulator solutions prior to starting the calibration of the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C units. This step is necessary under the Supreme Court’s decision in which set forth the necessary steps the State Police must undertake to properly calibrate the Alcotest instrument. Read more
Just recently, the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf represented a client that was being charged with their fourth cell phone violation in New Jersey. As a fourth offense, pursuant to New Jersey’s hands free driving law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3, the client faced a fine of between $600.00 and $800.00 dollars, the assessment of 3 motor vehicle points, and up to 90 days of driver’s license suspension. Read more
Expungement of Conviction for Third-Degree Possession of C.D.S. with Intent to Distribute Granted in Mercer County
The New Jersey expungement lawyers at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf just recently represented another client in Mercer County on another successful “public interest” expungement of his conviction for third degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute. In the past, convictions for possession of CDS with intent to distribute were ineligible for expungement. In 2010, however, the law changed. If the conviction was of the third or fourth degree, the record eligible for expungement so long as you prove that expungement is consistent with the “public interest.”
The client we recently represented was arrested in 1989 and charged with possession of CDS (heroin) in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), possession of C.D.S. (heroin) with intent to distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5A(1), and distribution of C.D.S. (heroin) in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5b(3). The client subsequently appeared in the Mercer County Superior Court, where he was found guilty of third-degree possession of CDS in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), third-degree possession of C.D.S. with intent to distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5A(1), and third-degree distribution of C.D.S. in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5b(3).
Pursuant to the 2010 amendments to the expungement statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(c)(3);
c.In the case of conviction for the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession thereof with the intent to sell, expungement shall be denied except where the crimes relate to involve:…
(3) Any controlled dangerous substance provided that the conviction is of the third or fourth degree, where 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.
Thus, pursuant to this statute, the New Jersey expungement attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf argued that the client’s expungement was in the “public interest.” In doing so, we first pointed out that it had been 21 years since the client had completed his sentence. Courts may take into account the number of offense-free years since conviction because;
“As the number of offense-free years after conviction increase, the risk of re-offending drops.” Ibid. (citing to Megan C. Kurlycheck, et al., Scarlet Letters and Recidivism: Does an Old Criminal Record Predict Future Offending? 5 Criminology & Public Policy 3, 489 (2006).
Thus, “this fact would generally tend to support petitions made closer to the ten-year mark than the five-year mark.” Ibid.
We next pointed out that the nature of the offense also weighed in favor of expungement. With respect to this factor, we noted that there was no indication that weapons or violence was involved in the commission of the offense. Nor was there any evidence that the client had distributed drugs to children or in the past.
We further pointed out that, since the client’s arrest, he has changed immensely. Since his conviction he has lead an exemplary life and has had no other arrests. He subsequently enrolled in college, where he received two Associates degrees. He also completed a job training program, where he received his Licensed Practical Nurse Certificate.
We also pointed out that the client continues to maintain family and community ties that promote law-abiding behavior. We highlighted the volunteer work that the client had performed when he collected donations and food to feed the less fortunate. He also volunteered to collect money for Christmas gifts for children.