Category Archives: Criminal Defense

Driving While Your License Is Revoked

Driving on the revoked list in New Jersey is a serious charge, and depending on the reasons for the revocation will determine the severity of the consequences.  For example, a driver’s license revocation as a result of an unpaid parking ticket is not nearly as serious as a driver’s license revocation as a result of a drunk driving or driving without an insurance charge.   If you depend on your driver’s license to get to work or school, only an experienced Revoked License attorney will be able to help.

Since most people rely so heavily on their driver’s license to support their livelihood, being a defendant in municipal court can be a nerve racking one,

Especially when faced with the prospect of losing your license for an additional period of time and/or even jail time.  Additionally, if you were pulled over when no one else in the vehicle possesses a valid driver’s license, your vehicle will most likely be towed and you will wind up having to call a friend or colleague to pick you up.  Unfortunately, the financial consequences of receiving a ticket of this nature will be felt immediately since there will be a towing fee and/or possible storage fee to retrieve your vehicle from the police impound yard.

Often times, when you receive a ticket for driving on the revoked list, you may not even be aware your license was revoked at the time your vehicle was stopped by law enforcement.  In these instances, a letter from the motor vehicle commission may have gotten lost in the mail or simply didn’t make it into your hands in time to be aware that your license was revoked.  By the time a driver is stopped by law enforcement, the damage is already done and they will be receiving a ticket for driving on the revoked list.

If you or someone you know was recently charged with driving on the revoked list in New Jersey, they need to speak with an experienced driving on the revoked list attorney who is familiar with the court procedures in New Jersey’s municipal courts.

The attorneys at the law firm of Aiello Harris have represented thousands of clients in the last few decades in New Jersey. The attorneys at Aiello Harris are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regarding your driving on the revoked list charge.

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Possible New NJ DUI Laws

New Jersey may have new driving under the influence (DUI) laws coming into effect soon. State Senators Nicholas Scutari and Jim Whelan and Assemblywoman Linda Stender introduced new NJ DUI legislation, S 385/A 1368, to have convicted drunk drivers prove their sobriety via an ignition interlock device before operating a car.

Currently, NJ law requires the installation of interlock devices for all repeat and first-time DUI convictions with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 percent or greater. The new law would require a person convicted of their first DUI charge with a BAC of .08 percent to .14 percent to use an ignition interlock device for 3 to 12 months. However, it’s up to a judge’s discretion. A judge may deem a license suspension is more appropriate.

Additionally, the time of the ignition interlock device may be extended if the offender attempts to drive while drunk during the last one-third of the three to 12 month period.

At the current time, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle in New Jersey with a BAC of .08% or higher.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device connects to a vehicle’s dashboard. Before starting the car, the driver must blow into the device, which detects the driver’s BAC. If the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit, the car will not start. Additionally, the interlock device may force the driver to blow into the device while he or she is driving to prove continuous sobriety while operating the vehicle.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, interlocks reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent.

First-time versus repeat offenders: New Jersey’s penalties

The penalties for repeat DUI offenders under current New Jersey state laws are significantly harsher. Additionally, the penalties are more severe if you are caught with a BAC of .10% or more:

First Offense

  • Three months license suspension
  • $250–$400 fine
  • $230 Intoxicated Driving Resource Center (IDRC) fee
  • $100 to drunk driving fund
  • $100 to Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF)
  • $1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge
  • $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
  • Up to 30 days imprisonment
  • 12-48 hours of time at IDRC

First offense with a BAC of 0.10% or greater

  • Seven months –one year license suspension
  • $300–$500 fine
  • $230 IDRC fee
  • $100 to drunk driving fund
  • $100 to AERF
  • $1,000/year (for three years) surcharge
  • $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
  • Up to 30 days imprisonment
  • 12-48 hours of time at Intoxicated Driving Resource Center (IDRC)
  • **For BAC of 0.15% or greater– ignition interlock device during license suspension and six months to one year after restoration

Second offense within 10 years

  • Two years license suspension
  • $500–$1,000 fine
  • $280 IDRC* fee
  • $100 to drunk driving fund
  • $100 to AERF*
  • $1,000/year (for three years) surcharge
  • $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
  • 48 hours–90 days imprisonment
  • 30 days community service
  • 12-48 hours IDRC
  • Ignition interlock device during license suspension and 1-3 years following restoration

Third offense within 10 years

  • 10 years license suspension
  • $1,000 fine
  • $280 IDRC* fee
  • $100 to drunk driving fund
  • $100 to AERF*
  • $1,500/year (for three years) surcharge
  • $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
  • 180 days imprisonment
  • Up to 90 days of community service
  • 12–48 hours IDRC
  • Ignition interlock device during license suspension and 1-3 years following restoration

A DUI lawyer can help defend you against DUI charges. Make sure to enlist the aid of an experienced DUI / DWI lawyer. Some of the best DUI lawyers are former municipal prosecutors. It is critical that you speak with a knowledgably and experienced DUI attorney as they may be able to get your charge reduced.

About Christopher G. Aiello, Esq.

Christopher Aiello is a former municipal prosecutor, is an experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer.  Mr. Aiello has been practicing law since 1983.

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Timothy Broking Named Top 40 Under 40 Attorneys by the National Trial Lawyers Association

 

The Law Firm of Aiello Harris congratulates attorney Timothy
Broking on being named Top 40 Under 40 Attorneys by the National Trial Lawyers Association for the second year in a row.  Mr. Broking was recently named partner in June 2014 and has been with the firm since 2006. In the first half of calendar year 2015, Mr. Broking has settled nearly $750,000 in personal injury and workers compensation settlements consisting of settlements in the amount of $110,000, $230,000 and $325,000 along with many others.

Among his other awards, Mr. Broking has been named Top 10
Best Attorney by the American Institute of DWI Attorneys and Top 1 per-cent Attorney by the National Association of distinguished counsel.   Mr. Broking’s achievements and accolades has earned him a perfect 10.0 attorney rating by the AVVO website rating community.
Mr. Broking is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, New York, the District of Columbia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the United States Supreme Court.

Visit Timothy Broking’s profile to read up on his bio and/or to contact him at the firm.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know requires legal assistance, contact our firm 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 908-561-5577.  Our
attorneys are made up of certified civil trial attorneys and former prosecutors.  The law firm of Aiello Harris maintains several offices through North and Central New Jersey including offices in Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Somerset County and Middlesex County.

American Institute of DUI AttorneysThe National Top 40 Under 40 Trial LawyersThe National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Attorney Under 40

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The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010

New Jersey’s multitude of turnpikes, highways and streets present a host of dangers to motorists. Drunk, distracted or reckless drivers create a constant need for defensive driving and good sense. Blind intersections, perilous curves, poorly maintained road surfaces, inadequate signage and markings, bad weather — all of these conditions pose challenges to even the most diligent drivers.

But those are all factors that drivers can anticipate and understand. When faulty automobile equipment leads to a motor vehicle accident, you are betrayed by the very equipment that you trust to deliver you and your family safely on your daily rounds. There are basically two ways by which our society regulates the safety of motor vehicles: by creating standards for safe manufacture and maintenance, and by empowering citizens to pursue legal action when they have been harmed due to an auto defect. Federal regulation of automobile safety is getting a close look this summer in legislation currently before Congress.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) oversees many aspects of American automobile safety, and it has maintained an Early Warning Reporting (EWR) program to detect emerging vehicle safety issues since 2000. But as this past year’s series of Toyota auto defect reports revealed, a stronger EWR system would put necessary pressure on manufacturers to launch timely recalls when problems become apparent. More information about production irregularities, consumer claims and performance issues serves the public interest. The House version of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 (HR 5381), was recently approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and may receive full attention before the end of this year. One important provision would improve the EWR system by making more data public on a quarterly basis. Other provisions involve a host of safety issues, including:

  • Electronic data –  Semis and other commercial vehicles have long been required to preserve data that may provide clues to the cause of a crash. The new law makes progress on requiring vehicles sold in the U.S. to be equipped with a data recorder that allows law enforcement to investigate the cause of accidents, but automakers successfully lobbied against a clear deadline for this improvement.
  • Reducing drunk driving – The bill funds research for the development of on-board sensors that measure the alcohol in a driver’s system and prevent intoxicated drivers from being able to start their cars. Commercial viability of such systems may be more than a decade away, however.
  • Unintended acceleration – The bill would require installation of a brake override in new vehicles that will reduce power in the event that the accelerator sticks. Other technical improvements include new standards for push-button electronic starting systems and improvements to transmission shifting systems.
  • Automaker accountability – Automakers are not currently required to disclose data that they deem a confidential part of business operations. Under the 2010 law, the scope of the EWR system would be expanded in favor of maximum public availability of safety information. Maximum civil penalties would increase over tenfold from the $16.4 million Toyota was required to pay, and federal safety regulators would be granted the authority to order immediate recalls.

Former NHTSA administrators from the Bush, Clinton and Carter administrations have stated their support for the bill, arguing that “additional resources for NHTSA are crucially important because the motor vehicle safety program has been underfunded for years, and indeed is losing ground to additional requirements imposed on it and to inflation.” Henry Waxman, the Democratic chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a statement that the bill “will dramatically improve the safety of motor vehicles.” He defended the compromises from the original version, claiming that “through this process we were able to earn broad support from our membership.” The bill will now go to the full House for debate. A similar bill (S 3302) is under consideration in the Senate, and further compromise of safety measures is likely.

Asserting a Claim of Negligence

Clear evidence of an automobile defect can play a vital role in motor vehicle accident litigation. Airbags that fail to deploy, vehicles that roll during the slightest evasive maneuver, and tires in seemingly good condition that suddenly rupture can all lead to unexpected tragedy. For accident victims and their families who believe that a faulty part or design flaw contributed to a catastrophic injury or highway fatality, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can provide clear insights about all available legal options and a plaintiff’s prospects for recovery of damages.

Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

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Common Reasons for Fatigue of Commercial Truck Drivers

Long hours on the open road. Pressure to meet deadlines. Extreme loneliness. Commercial tractor-trailer operators must endure harsh conditions which often lead to unsafe exhaustion. Studies show that fatigued driving could be as dangerous as drunk driving. A combination of fatigue plus a thousand pounds of metal equals a deadly mix for other drivers on the road. Our New Jersey truck accident attorneys see these types of crashes all too often — and we are here to help if you have fallen victim to a fatigued driver.

Common Reasons For Exhaustion

Our New Jersey truck accident lawyers often see these reasons for exhaustion in commercial truck drivers:

  • Exceeding driving hours – According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. When drivers exceed the legal amount of driving hours, they put themselves at risk for fatigue.
  • Not taking breaks – Truck drivers work long hours and need frequent breaks to refuel. In an effort to log more miles, drivers may try to avoid resting when needed.
  • Improper training – If a driver isn’t adequately trained on safety precautions and battling fatigue, he or she could fall victim to fatigue. Drivers needs to know when to rest and when to keep going.
  • Eating poorly – Truck drivers are always on the go, and nutrition is not always a priority. Inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals could led to fatigue and decreased focus.

A tractor-trailer operator may drive in spite of exhaustion to earn extra money by driving extra miles, or to meet tight delivery deadlines. An unscrupulous company may even order a driver to keep going despite the driver’s complaints of exhaustion.

When investigating your truck accident claim, an attorney at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. will examine the driver’s logbook to see if the correct number of hours were worked and proper breaks were taken. We stop at nothing to ensure we build a solid case against the negligent party or parties.

Our personal injury attorneys in New Jersey keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

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What courts have jurisdiction in New Jersey?

Without jurisdiction over both the subject matter of the case and the defendant(s), a court may not proceed. The New Jersey Constitution gives the Superior Court subject matter jurisdiction over virtually all types of cases. N.J. Const., Art. VI 3, 2; see Chapter I. In general, the Law Division of Superior Court has subject matter jurisdiction over cases that involve primarily a claim for monetary damages, while the Chancery Division has jurisdiction over cases that entail primarily claims for non-monetary relief such as specific performance, an injunction, or other equitable relief. See R. 4:3-1(a). The Special Civil Part has jurisdiction over cases in which damages do not exceed $10,000. R. 6:1-2(a) (1).

In cases involving claims under a federal statute or the United States Constitution, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. 1331. Additionally, the District Court for the District of New Jersey has jurisdiction where the plaintiff(s) are all from a different state than all defendant(s) and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. 28 U.S.C. 1332. Sometimes either the federal court or the state courts may have subject matter jurisdiction. Though federal litigation is beyond the scope of this book, you need to consider carefully whether to choose federal rather than state court as the place to file this case. Two indispensable resources for federal litigation practice are Gann Law Books’ annotated New Jersey Federal Practice Rules, written by Allyn Z. Lite, and New Jersey Law Journal Books’ New Jersey Federal Civil Procedure, edited by Robert E. Bartkus.

Our NJ lawyers keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

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How is venue determined in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Court Rules address venue very specifically. R. 4:3-2 discusses which county is the proper place to file a case. R. 4:3-1 contains directions as to whether the Law Division or the Chancery Division is appropriate. In general, venue is proper in the county in which the cause of action arose, or in which any party to the action resides at the time the action is instituted or, in case of a nonresident defendant, the county in which the summons was served. Exceptions include actions affecting title to or other interests in real property, where the only proper venue is the county in which the property is located, actions against public agencies or officials, which must be brought where the cause of action arose, and receivership, attachment, family, probate, and Special Civil Part cases, all of which have their own venue rules. See R. 4:53-2 (receivership); R. 4:60-2 (attachment); R. 5:2-1 (family); R. 4:83-4 (probate); R. 6:1-3 (Special Civil Part). Furthermore, for venue purposes, R. 4:3-2(b), deems a corporation to reside in the county in which its registered office is located or in any county in which it is actually doing business.

When more than one venue is appropriate for a particular case, you must consider the nature of the case, whether a jury trial will be sought, how quickly case calendars are moving, and other factors that may lead to a choice of one county over another. If the case is to be filed in the Chancery Division, where one judge normally handles the matter for its entire duration, you may wish to consider the identities of the particular judges involved in making decisions about where to file. Forum-shopping and judge-shopping, though condemned by many in the abstract, are venerable tactics that every good lawyer should use reasonably to aid his client.

Our personal injury law firm in New Jersey keeps flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

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What does a complaint contain in New Jersey?

  1. Factual Allegations

Every claim for relief “shall contain a statement of the facts on which the claim is based, showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and a demand for judgment for the relief to which the pleader claims entitlement.” R. 4:5-2. The Rules require that “[e]ach allegation of a pleading shall be simple, concise and direct,” and “no technical forms of pleading are required.” R. 4:5-7. Thus, such things as malice, intent, knowledge, other states of mind, and performance or occurrence of conditions precedent may be alleged generally. R. 4:5-8(a), (b). However, allegations of  “misrepresentation, fraud, mistake, breach of trust, willful default or undue influence” must be pleaded with special particularity. R. 4:5-8(a). The gist of each cause of action must be alleged in complaint, and the defendant must be apprised of the nature of the claim. Gorbart v. Society for Useful Mfrs., 2 N.J. 136 (1949).

Our NJ personal injury counsel keeps flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

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What is a summons?

Every complaint that is to be served must be accompanied by a summons. The summons must be issued within ten days of the filing of the complaint. R. 4:4-1. Failure to issue the summons timely may result in the dismissal of the case without prejudice, though dismissal is quite rare unless the defendant is prejudiced by the delay. Id.; see, e.g., Vines v. Orange Memorial Hospital, 192 N.J. Super. 496 (App. Div. 1984).

The form of the summons is described in R. 4:4-2. Once again, the annotated New Jersey Court Rules contain an actual form of summons that may be used. Forms may also be purchased from commercial firms as well. The docket number of the case, once received, must be placed on the summons, and counsel should sign the name of the Clerk of the Superior Court (you can find the Clerk’s name in the New Jersey Lawyer’s Diary). As noted above, a copy of the track assignment must be attached to the summons. R. 4:5A-2(a). Once the summons is ready, counsel must then arrange for service of the summons and complaint upon each defendant.  

Our New Jersey personal injury advocates keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

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What is an answer?

After complaint served defendant must file an answer. Under R. 4:6-2, every defense, legal or equitable, in law or fact, to an affirmative claim must be asserted in the answer. Certain defenses, however, may at the option of the pleader be asserted by motion, with briefs. These defenses are (a) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, (b) lack of jurisdiction over the person, (c) insufficiency of process, (d) insufficiency of service of process, (e) failure to state a claim, discussed above, and (f) failure to join a party without whom the action cannot proceed, as required by R. 4:28. Defenses (b), (c) and (d) are waived if they are not asserted in the answer and raised by the motion within 90 days after service of the Answer. R. 4:6-3; R. 4:6-7. This is designed to prevent a party from keeping such largely technical defenses in its “hip pocket” for presentation at a strategic point later in the case when the parties and the court have already invested substantial time, energy and resources in the case. If you believe that such defenses are available, they should be presented immediately.

The defenses of lack of subject matter jurisdiction, failure to state a claim, and failure to join a party required by R. 4:28 may be raised at any time before trial. These defenses go to the power of the court to hear the case or to the fundamental merits of the claims asserted. For that reason, these defenses are not waived if not immediately presented. Normally, however, there is no reason to withhold them once counsel learns of their possible existence. Neither clients, who may have paid substantial sums to litigate the case, nor the court, which will have invested its time in the matter, will be happy to see a motion to dismiss the case that could have been brought months or even years earlier. You are well-advised to evaluate the availability of dispositive defenses such as these at the outset of the case, and to re-evaluate these issues periodically prior to trial in order to avoid overlooking this resource.

Other threshold motions that must be evaluated are motions to change venue or to transfer the case to another court. If a change of venue within the Superior Court is to be sought, that must be done within ten days after the last permissible responsive pleading or objections to venue are waived. R. 4:3-3(b). The ten day time period may be enlarged in the rare case where there is “substantial doubt that a fair and impartial trial can be had in the county where venue is laid.” Id. Transfers other than between the Law and Chancery Division are covered by R. 4:3-4. Unlike R. 4:6-2 motions or a motion for a more definite statement, venue or transfer motions do not alter the time by which a responsive pleading is due.

Our NJ lawyers keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

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