New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Vote Today

March 25, 2019 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 

Today could be the day that we in the Criminal Defense bar have been waiting for. After promises of a vote for over a year now, we are scheduled for a vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana in both the Senate and General Assembly, on Monday, March 25.

It is unclear whether it will pass. It appears that the General Assembly has enough votes, but the Senate is still up in the air. It is also unclear as to whether the bills to voted on will include expansions for medical marijuana and the automatic expungement of prior marijuana arrests.

Governor Murphy campaigned on the promise of the legalization of recreational marijuana and the expansion of medical marijuana in New Jersey. Today could be the day that recreational marijuana is legalized, making New Jersey the 11th state to do so. This can have an impact on your current and past marijuana arrests.

We will continue to keep you updated as the issue is voted on and debated in the Statehouse. If you have any questions or concerns while we wait, please do not hesitate to call and speak to one of our attorneys at (732) 741-4448.

Global Entry Appeal from Revocation

March 13, 2019 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

In August of 2018 our office was contacted by a traveler who had previously been approved for Global Entry, but, had his membership revoked. Global entry is a program that permits expedited entrance through passport control in the United States. The program is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and citizens of certain other countries.  It enables travelers to skip lines at passport control and customs and enter the county using a touch screen and fingerprints.

When our client originally applied for global entry he was interviewed by Customs and Border Control and was questioned about a criminal arrest that was not disclosed on his application. He informed the officer that the arrest happened almost 40 years previously and that it had been expunged from his criminal record. The application was passed on to the supervisor and the client later received his approval in the mail.  

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State v. Cassidy – DWI Re-Opener Update

February 1, 2019 · Posted in Blog, DWI / DUI Blog 

On January 29, 2019, the Administrative Office of the Courts appointed Retired Appellate Court Judge, Robert A. Fall, as the Special Master for handling judicial and administrative decisions related to the affected matters. Judge Fall is going to decide whether a statewide management program is the best way to handle the affected cases, or it should be left up to the individual municipalities. Judge Fall is expected to report immediately and begin his assessment.

For more on State V. Cassidy, click here to read our last blog post.

Judge Fall graduated from University of Miami Law School in 1973, and was appointed a Superior Court Judge in Ocean County in 1986. In 1998 he was appointed the Appellate Division. Judge Fall retired from the bench in 2006. His last recall was in 2018, to the Appellate Division, as part of the Civil Appeals Settlement Program (CAPS).  He had previously been recalled in 2014 to the Ocean County Civil Division and handled the Superstorm Sandy Docket.

We will continue to keep you updated as Judge Fall makes his decisions. If you have any questions or concerns while we wait, please do not hesitate to call and speak to one of our attorneys at (732) 741-4448.

N.J. Supreme Court Paves Way for the Re-Opening of Over 20,000 NJ DWI Cases

November 16, 2018 · Posted in Blog, DWI / DUI Blog 

For almost two years, cases affected by the conduct of Sgt. Marc Dennis have been stayed by the New Jersey Supreme Court. The stay was put in place after it was discovered that Sgt. Dennis had not been following proper procedure with the calibration of the Alcotest machines in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union Counties.

Shortly thereafter, Judge Joseph F. Lisa, J.A.D. was appointed as a Special Master to hear testimony and arguments from both the State and Defense Bar  to determine the accuracy and admissibility of results of the Alcotest machine when the calibration was not done in accordance with the requirements of State v. Chun. In an extensive opinion, Judge Lisa determined that the State could not sustain their burden of proof as to the scientific reliability of the Alcotest machine without the NIST-traceable temperature check being performed on the simulator solutions. Read More »

Marijuana DUI’s in New Jersey, Part 2

October 29, 2018 · Posted in Blog, DWI / DUI Blog 

This is the second installment of a series of blogs discussing how different DUI laws are adopted in states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized. As New Jersey is on the cusp of legalization, this series will look at how other states handle Marijuana DUIs. This can give us an idea of how New Jersey may handle them as well.

The last state we looked at was California.   In this article we will be looking at the DUI laws related to marijuana in Colorado. Please review the issues involving testing we discussed in the last installment.  

One of the major differences we see in Colorado, is not only is there a charge for Driving Under the Influence, but there is also an offense called Driving While Ability Impaired (“DWAI”). This does not usually have a license revocation, and is a lesser offense. The State in these DWAI cases, must show that your ability to operate a motor vehicle has actually impaired, but not enough to rise to level of DUI. A DWAI is when marijuana affects you so that your ability to safely operate a vehicle, either physically or mentally, is less than what it ordinarily would be. Read More »

Marijuana DUI’s in New Jersey, Part 1

October 29, 2018 · Posted in Blog, DWI / DUI Blog 

In this series of blogs we are going to discuss the effect on DUI laws in states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized. Since New Jersey seems to be on the cusp of legalization, this series will look at how other states handle Marijuana DUIs. This can give us an idea of how New Jersey may handle them as well. It is important to note that in many other states DUIs and DWIs are criminal offenses, while in New Jersey they are motor vehicle offenses.

The issue of how to test for marijuana are applicable to all states. The problem with blood tests and marijuana is that, unlike alcohol, marijuana can stay in your blood for several weeks after using it. Therefore, blood tests are not accurate in showing when the marijuana was consumed and how much was consumed. Further, depending on your habitual marijuana use, the level in your system can vary, regardless of recent use.

    Urine tests do not have the ability to detect THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), just marijuana metabolites. This is problematic because THC is the active ingredient that causes the high which could impair driving. However, especially with medicinal  marijuana that has a high cannabidiol (CBD) level and limited, if any THC, this is a issue. CBD does not cause intoxication and therefore CBD alone cannot impair a driver.

    California is similar to New Jersey, where in order to be found guilty of a DUI or DWI the State must be able to prove that 1) the driver was intoxicated, 2) the intoxication impaired the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, and 3) the driver operated the motor vehicle. The following is from CALCRIM 2110: Read More »

Glove Box Defense – What is it and When to Use it

September 22, 2018 · Posted in Blog, DWI / DUI Blog 

A sometimes useful defense for DWI and DUIs is known as the “glove box” defense. The glove box defense comes into play when the motor vehicle is pulled over on the side of the road or parked somewhere. It also helps if drugs, alcohol, or empty bottles or packaging are found in or around the vehicle. One of the key elements that the State has to prove to convict a person of a DWI or DUI is that they were intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time they operated the motor vehicle or that they then had an intention to operate the vehicle. The glove box defense is saying “Yes, I may have been under the influence, but, it is plausible that I drove to the location you found me perfectly sober and drank the alcohol or taken the drugs while I was sitting here, and I was just going to take a nap. I did not have any intention of operating a motor vehicle at this time.” Read More »


September 1, 2018 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

The New Jersey Legislature in its major overhaul of the NJ Expungement Law effective October 1, 2018 has made  major changes to this statue which deals with indictable convictions (felonies) They can be summarized as follows:

The time period necessary to obtain an expungement has been reduced from ten (10) years to six(6)  years from the most recent conviction, payment of fine, completion probation or parole, or release from jail whichever is later. A  Fine is defined as any fine, restitution, and other court order financial assessment imposed by the court.

If the fine has been paid, but, less than 6 years have expired from the date of satisfaction, and the time requirement is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the petitioner complied with the payment plan or could not due so to compelling circumstances,  then the Court can grant the expungement even though the 6 years have not run. Compelling circumstances are determined by considering the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the person’s age at the time of conviction, the person’s financial condition, and other relevant information regarding the person’s ability to pay.   Read More »

NJ May Soon Eliminate DMV Surcharges, Institute Restricted Licenses

August 24, 2018 · Posted in Blog, License / Insurance Blog, Traffic Law Blog 

by Amanda F. Wolf, Esq.*

As attorneys handling DWI and other Motor Vehicle matters, the most common question we get is whether New Jersey has any kind of work license or restricted license program for people who have their license suspended by a Court for such matters as DWIs or by the Division of Motor Vehicles for getting too many points or for driving during a suspension period.  We also receive numerous calls asking how to get rid of NJ MVC Surcharges or if there is a way to reduce them to a reasonable amount. Unfortunately, the current answer to all of these questions is “No.” New Jersey currently has no program for issuing restricted or work licenses and the only way to get out of paying surcharges is to file for bankruptcy. However, there have been several recent pushes, both by the NJ Supreme Court and the State Legislature which may have a positive impact on creating change. Read More »

2C:52-5: Expungement of Records of Young Drug Offenders

August 20, 2018 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

This provision of the Expungement Statute was adopted in 1979 in order to permit young drug offenders to have their records expunged without waiting the full time period (then 10 years) required for older adults.  Its permits expungement after one (1) year. On October 1, 2018 the current law concerning this statue will change to make more Young Drug Offenders eligible to have their records expunged. This change in the statute ispart of the new legislation which broadens the availability of expungements to increase the ability of New Jersey residents to obtain employment.  The Petitioner will still have to meet the all of the following requirements: Read More »

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