Effective July 1, 2014, revisions to New Jersey’s cell phone law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3, will result in enhanced penalties for cell phone tickets. These enhanced penalties include increased fines, the imposition of motor vehicle points, and possible driving privilege suspensions.
The increased penalties are the result of information demonstrating that driver distractions were a major factor in 1.4 million motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey from 2004 through 2013. Driver distraction represented about half of all crashes that occurred during that time period. Read more
Clients often inquire as to whether or not any previous out-of-state DWI convictions or other alcohol-related traffic violations will effect their New Jersey DWI matter. A previous out-of-state alcohol-related traffic offense can indeed affect the penalties that will be imposed in your current New Jersey DWI case. This is because the DWI penalties in New Jersey increase with each subsequent DWI conviction. Due to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC) a New Jersey court can count an out-of-state conviction as a prior conviction for sentencing purposes if the statute under which they were convicted of having violated is considered to be of a “substantially similar nature” to a DWI in New Jersey. N.J.S.A. 39:5D-4(2)(c). Read more
In order to expungement a felony conviction in New Jersey, an individual must not have been convicted of any “prior or subsequent crimes.” What this means, in effect, is that a person cannot expunge a felony conviction if they have more than one felony conviction on their record. While it is clear that individuals who have been convicted and/or sentenced for multiple felonies on multiple dates are not eligible for an expungement, questions remain. For example, what about individuals who have multiple felony convictions, but were sentenced on the same date? Similarly, what about individuals who have been convicted for felonies that occurred within a relatively close of time to each other (often referred to as a “crime spree”). Read more
In response to the increase in the number of teenagers that have committed suffering as a result of online harassment and bullying, several states have passed laws criminalizing cyber-harassment, cyber-bullying, and cyber-stalking. New Jersey has long advocated for anti-bullying and anti-harassment laws. Just recently, in fact, New Jersey passed the State’s first law that criminalizes cyber-harassment to address this increasing problem. The new law passed both houses of the New Jersey legislature unanimously and, on January 21, 2014, was signed into law by Chris Christie. Read more
Reduced Client’s Driver’s License Suspension Time by Two Years
Randolph H. Wolf recently represented a client who, from 1988 through 1998, received various motor vehicle violations in New Jersey, which resulted in numerous orders of suspension. Those violations included DWI convictions in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 as well as several convictions for driving while suspended in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-40. During sentencing, the courts ran the suspension periods for each conviction consecutively (or back-to-back), rather than concurrently (or at the time same time). Read more
Expungement clients often ask the attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf whether or not their expunged records can ever be disclosed. The short answer is: Yes. Although your records were expunged, they are not actually destroyed and they can be accessed under certain circumstances. Those circumstances, however, are very limited and are established by statute. They are as follows:
1. If you apply for another expungement.
If you apply for another expungement, your expunged records may be used by the court to determine whether or not you are eligible for a subsequent expungement. The information will only be disclosed to the court and those parties that are entitled to notice of your expungement. Those parties would include the New Jersey State Police, the prosecutor, the police of the municipality where the offense was committed, and the court in which the original proceeding was heard.
2. If a claim has been filed with the Violent Crimes Compensation Board.
If a claim has been filed against you with the Violent Crimes Compensation Board, your expunged records may be supplied to that board.
3. When the subject matter of your expunged record is the subject of pending litigation.
Access to your expunged files may be permitted when they are the subject of pending litigation. In order to have the expunged information disclosed, however, the party seeking disclosure must demonstrate good cause and a compelling need for the records. As an example, permission to inspect expunged files under this exception may be granted when a person being sued for malicious prosecution based on charges that were the subject of an expungement order. Permission to inspect an expunged record might also be granted pursuant to this exception when the person seeking the records is being sued for libel based on what was written about the charges made or the conviction. Expunged records, however, will not be disclosed when the purpose is solely to impeach a witness.
4. If you apply for a diversionary program, such as Conditional Discharge or Pretrial Intervention.
If you are subsequently arrested and are applying for a diversionary program in the State of New Jersey, such as Conditional Discharge or Pretrial Intervention, your expunged records may be used by a court to determine eligibility for these programs, which usually require the absence of a criminal record.
5. For purposes of setting bail and determining sentencing.
If you are subsequently conviction of a criminal offense, your expunged records may be disclosed if requested by a judge, prosecutor, or probation department for purposes of sentencing. Additionally, expunged records may be disclosed to a Parole Board. The Parole Board is entitled to use the records and give them the same weight as they would have had if they were not expunged. The Parole Board, however, does not have the right to obtain expunged records of arrests that did not result in a conviction, such as when the charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty.
6. To the Department of Corrections when assigning you to a correctional institution.
Your expunged records may be released to a correctional department for purposes of classifying and assigning you to a correctional institution.
7. If you are applying for a position in law enforcement, corrections, or the court system.
If you are applying for a position in law enforcement, corrections, or the court system, you are required to disclose expunged matters on your employment application. This does not necessarily mean that you are barred from ever receiving a job in those areas. Unless a statute specifically states that a prior arrest or conviction is disqualifying (and very few do), then disclosure of the expunged information does not automatically disqualify you. You can explain that the matter has been expunged. The government agency will then consider your application and either approve it or reject it.
Expunged records do not need to be disclosed when applying for a position in any other profession, so long as it is not within law enforcement, corrections, or the court system. Professional license applications (other than to practice law) also do not need to disclose expunged matters.
As can be seen, these situations are very limited and involve access of your expunged record by the court or correctional systems. They do not permit private employers or other third parties to access your information. Moreover, so long as you remain law-abiding, the vast majority of these exceptions would not apply to you. The Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf has extensive experience and knowledge in the processing and consequences of expungements. Call us today if you have questions about your case, or click here to complete an expungement interview form online and we will help you determine if you qualify for expungement.
Being convicted of a DUI as a member of the military can carry a variety of negative consequences, both professionally and civilly. Military clients often contact Randolph H. Wolf to aggressively defend against military DUI convictions with several questions about the consequences they face. This article will provide a brief overview of those consequences.
There are two types of military DUI cases: those where a military member is arrested by the civilian police for DUI and those where a military member was arrested for DUI while on base. The procedures and consequences depend on which type of case you fall under. Read more
Although some states have begun legalizing marijuana for both medical (such as New Jersey) and recreational use (such as Colorado), much research has not yet been conducted on the effects of driving while under the influence of marijuana. Answers to important questions such as how dangerous it is, how to test for impairment due to marijuana, and how the risks compare to driving while intoxicated, have been slow to reach the general public. Read more
Charging Rent in Excess of a Rental Control Ordinance: Violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act
Randolph H. Wolf recently represented a client who lived in a rent-controlled building in New Jersey. The client entered into a lease with his landlord in 1996. The initial monthly rent was $765.00. Each year thereafter, the client renewed his lease with the landlord and, with each renewal, the landlord increased the monthly rent. The client recently discovered that these increases in rent violated the Red Bank Rent Control Ordinance and retained Randolph H. Wolf to recover the excess rent payments. Based upon the legal rent calculation provided under the ordinance, the client had overpaid rent in the amount of approximately $50,000.00.
Randolph H. Wolf brought suit against the landlord not only for the excess rent payments, but also for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq. This is because if a landlord increases a tenant’s rent in violation of the local rent control ordinance, the landlord can be found to have violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. This can have very costly consequences, including the awarding of treble (or triple) damages to the tenant along with attorney’s fees and costs. Thus, Randolph Wolf brought suit for treble damages in excess of $150,000.00 as well as attorney’s fees and costs. Read more