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 »

NEW CHANGES TO NEW JERSEY EXPUNGEMENTS OF INDICTABLE OFFENSES (CRIMES/FELONIES)

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 »

Expunging Disorderly Persons Offenses in NJ

August 16, 2018 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

On October 1, 2018 the current law concerning this statue will change to make more Petitioner’s eligible to have their records expunged. This section of the new Expungement Statute deals only with persons who have never had a conviction for a crime, which in New Jersey is an  indictable (felony) offense. If you have had an indictable conviction you are not eligible under this section, but, you may be eligible under 2C:52-2.

The new statute permits expungement for 3 classes of people:

  1. The person has  been convicted under the laws of  New Jersey or any other State on the same or separate occasions of no more than four (4)  disorderly persons offenses, no more than four (4)  petty disorderly persons offenses, or a combination of no more than four (4) disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses. 
  2.   The person has been convicted of multiple disorderly persons offenses or multiple petty disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey (or a combination of both), which convictions were entered on the same day, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application. 
  3. The person has been convicted of multiple disorderly persons offenses or multiple petty disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey (or a combination of both) which were interdependent or closely related in circumstances and which were committed as part of a sequence of events that took place within a short period of time, regardless of the date of conviction or sentencing for each offense, and the person does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another offense in addition to those included in the expungement application (whether in New Jersey or another state).  

Part 1 of the new section allows a person can now have a total of four (4) disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons  offenses expunged. This is an expansion of the previously allowed three (3). Read More »

PTI will no longer bar Expungement of Conviction for Indictable Crime in New Jersey

August 10, 2018 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

The new Expungement Law Amendments that become effective on October 1, 2018 will benefit clients who thought they would never be able to expunge their criminal convictions. People who have completed Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) will finally have the chance to expunge their entire criminal records.

Currently, under N.J.S.A 2C:52-14(f), an expungement petition will be denied when “a person seeking the relief of the expungement of a conviction for a disorderly persons, petty disorderly persons, or criminal offense prior to or subsequent to said conviction has been granted the dismissal of criminal charges following completion of a supervisory treatment or other
diversionary program.”

This means that that once you had a criminal arrest dismissed by way of completion of PTI, you could not expunge an earlier conviction for an Indictable crime even if it was a 4th or 3rd degree crime that would ordinarily be able to be expunged.

In the new Statute, N.J.S.A 2C:52-14(f) has been deleted by amendment, P.L. 2017,c.244. This will give persons the chance to have their criminal convictions for some indictable offenses (felonies) expunged along with their PTI arrest, and in many cases will result in the complete clearing of a criminal record. This will mean that you will be able to legally say to most employers that you have never been arrested or convicted of a crime. It may even be possible to re-open or re-file expungements for individuals who previously had part of their record expunged under the old law. Please contact the Law Offices of Randolph H. Wolf at 732-741-4448 or email us at Info@RandolphWolf.com for more information and to see whether you can benefit from the upcoming changes in the law.

Pre-Trial Intervention will no longer bar Expungement of Disorderly Persons Offenses

August 5, 2018 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

Major changes are coming to New Jersey Expungement procedures when the new Expungement Law Amendments become effective on October 1, 2018. Individuals who have completed Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) will finally have the chance to expunge their entire criminal records.

Currently, under N.J.S.A 2C:52-14(f), an expungement petition will be denied when “ a person seeking the relief of the expungement of a conviction for a disorderly persons, petty disorderly persons, or criminal offense prior to or subsequent to said conviction has been granted the dismissal of criminal charges following completion of a supervisory treatment or other diversionary program.” As a practical matter what this translated to is that once a client had successfully completed PTI, he or she could only expunge the PTI arrest itself along with Boro Ordinance or Juvenile convictions. Disorderly Persons convictions could not also be expunged.

In the new Amendments, N.J.S.A 2C:52-14(f) has been deleted by amendment, P.L. 2017, c.244. This will give petitioners the chance to have their disorderly person or petty disorderly persons offenses expunged along with their PTI arrest, and in many cases will result in our clients being able to completely expunge their entire criminal history and get a fresh start. It may even be possible to file new expungement petitions for individuals who had a PTI arrest expunged and have Disorderly Persons Offenses left on their record under the old law. Please contact the Law Offices of Randolph H. Wolf at 732-741-4448 or email us at Info@RandolphWolf.com for more information and to see how the changes in the law may effect you personally.

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