Category Archives: Criminal Defense

New Jersey’s New Bail Laws Update

New Jersey’s Bail Reform and Speed Trial Act went into effect in January 2017. Previously, the judge assigned to a defendant’s criminal case would assign a specific cash bail value that the defendant would need to raise in order to be released from jail. Being out of jail is important because it preserves the accused’s freedom and makes it easier for the defendant to review and prepare his or her case with a defense lawyer.  A release from jail also can mean the ability to keep a job, spend time with family, and keep their housing. It also helps to reduce the prison population.
Prior to the new law, many underprivileged defendants were unable to raise bail money even when they were charged with minor crimes. Now, the playing field is a bit more level.

Use of a risk assessment system to determine the amount of bail

Now, to set a bail amount, the courts are expected to use a risk assessment tool created by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The tool examines the following factors to determine the risk of a defendant committing another criminal offense – especially, a violent offense:

  • The defendant’s age at the time the criminal act was alleged to have taken place
  • Whether the offense is a violent or non-violent offense
  • The defendant’s prior record of convictions
  • Whether the defendant failed to appear in court before
  • Any other open charges

Use of the risk assessment process is expected to help many defendants get a lower bail or to be released on their own recognizance. After release, defendants are still required to appear at scheduled court hearings and provide notice of any changes to the court.

Additionally, defendants are now required to be arraigned within 48 hours of their arrest. Bail is set at the arraignment (which also includes a reading of the charges). The new law thus requires that the risk assessment be completed in 48 hours. The assessment tool does not take into account the ethnicity or race of the defendant nor geography.

If a defendant is jailed, prosecutors must bring an indictment in 90 days and the trial must be scheduled in 180 days or less. In 2012, the average wait time between an indictment and trial in New Jersey was 314 days, according to the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office.

The new law still gives the judge the ability to hold defendants without bail if the judge has reason to believe the defendant is a likely threat to witnesses or the public and is a flight risk.

Benefits of the new bail system

Firstly, it helps reduce the number of people in county jails. In a 2013 study, 75 percent of the people in New Jersey county jails were just waiting for their court date. An estimated 40 percent were in jail because they couldn’t pay the cash bail. For about 12%, the amount of bail was under $2,000.

The new law also helps to restore a better legal balance. Judges have the final say on the amount of bail rather than prosecutors. In the past, judges often deferred to the recommendations of a prosecutor.
Critics include the counties who claim the 48-hour time limit means they need to spend large sums on pre-trial services and bail bondsmen who now are less needed. In the past, people would often pay a bail bondsmen a fraction of the bail amount. The bondsman would pay the full amount. If the defendant appeared at the hearing, the bail money would be returned to the bondsman.

Anyone charged with a criminal offense should seek the help of a skilled strong New Jersey lawyer

Your attorney can assert your rights, prepare your defense, negotiate with prosecutors, and try your case before a jury.

The defense attorneys at Aiello, Harris have been fighting for the accused for more than 60 years. To make an appointment, please call us at (908) 561-5577 or fill out our contact form.

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Be Wary of What You Post on Social Media When Awaiting Trial

Social media includes a variety of online platforms and services that let people communicate with their friends and the greater public, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. While social media can be fun, most social media platforms record your posts and keep the pictures and videos you upload.

During a criminal case, you can almost guarantee the prosecutor will pull your social media postings and put them into evidence. Unfortunately, social media posts can be quite damaging.

In the worst case, they are a direct admission of guilt. For example, a picture can show that you are in possession of stolen property. Posts can also be used at trial to show that you are not credible or that you are not telling the truth. Posts may lead to the prosecution of other witnesses who can testify against you.

Posts may even be crimes themselves. They may constitute harassment, fraud, or a hate crime and can lead to criminal charges.

Key legal considerations

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution provides that that people have the right to be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures and that warrants can’t be obtained without probable cause.

Whether a search is reasonable depends, in part, on whether a defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy when the social media post was made. One guide to determining whether privacy was expected is the personal privacy settings on the account. If the settings make everything open to the public, then there is no privacy expectation and the post can be searched by the prosecution. Even if you had some expectation of privacy, the government will likely argue that that expectation was waived or limited and, thus, that the evidence can be used against you.

The Fourth Amendment protection only applies to the accused. If a person you are communicating with makes an incriminating post, that post is available to be used in court and by the prosecution.
These are a few more legal considerations to keep in mind:

  • A social media post may provide the government with the probable cause needed to obtain a warrant.
  • The authenticity of the post does need to be verified.
  • The judge should consider whether the post has probative value and whether it is relevant to the case against you.

The best advice if you are charged with a crime or believe you are a suspect is to stop using social media.

Pick up the phone instead and give us a call.

At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys fight to exclude evidence that can be used against by bringing the appropriate legal challenges. To speak with an experienced trial litigator, please call us at (908) 561-5577 or fill out our contact form to arrange an appointment.

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My Loved One’s Been Arrested in NJ What Do I Do Now?

Being charged with a criminal offense is a traumatic experience, including for the extended family of the accused. A conviction means they may lose their freedom, job, and the companionship of family and friends. Convictions normally stay on record forever unless they can be expunged.

To help your loved one and to help mitigate the damage, first find out where your friend or family member is being held. Next, call a criminal defense attorney for assistance and representation. Communicate with the attorney and take his or her suggestions on how you can best serve your loved one.

What will happen now and how a lawyer can help?

An experienced criminal lawyer will immediately work by:

  • Explaining your loved one’s Constitutional rights. Even though it’s a common saying, “you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you,” many defendants feel the need to speak. An experienced attorney will inform the police and prosecution that no conversations should take place unless the lawyer is present. Most defense attorneys, unless a reasonable exception applies, will advise your loved one to stay quiet. The lawyer will also explain what the Fourth Amendment requirements are to search your loved one’s home, car, or private possessions.
  • Arranging for an arraignment and bail hearing and representing you at the hearing. New Jersey now requires that arraignments and bail hearings take place in 48 hours after the arrest. At the arraignment, your loved one will be advised of the criminal charges. At the bail hearing, the lawyer will present the best arguments for releasing your loved one on minimal bail (or no bail at all).
  • Reviewing and investigating what happened so that any defenses that can apply are properly heard. It is important to speak to witnesses as soon as possible while their memory is fresh. Experienced lawyers will normally hire investigators to examine the location where the crime is alleged to have occurred and investigate any evidence that can help exonerate your loved one.
  • Explaining the New Jersey criminal procedure process. The attorney will explain each stage of the criminal process including any hearings and motions that take place before the actual trial.
  • Negotiating on your loved one’s behalf. Many charges can be reduced or dismissed if the lawyer is experienced and understands which factual and legal arguments to make.

Even minor criminal charges can destroy reputations, result in jail time, mean significant fines, and cause severe emotional distress. Early intervention in cases by knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorneys increases the changes that charges will be dismissed or reduced.

Let us help you. Call for a free consultation.

At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., we have six decades of criminal trial experience. Many of our lawyers worked as prosecutors, so we know how the other side thinks. We handle most types of criminal charges. For strong advocacy, please phone us at (908) 561-5577 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation. We see clients in jail if needed.

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I Got Hit by a Drunk Driver… Now What?

Have you ever ended up in a car accident as the result of a drunk driver? Unfortunately, many people have been in the wrong place at the wrong time when an intoxicated person decided to make the dreadful decision to drive drunk. You may be wondering, “What now?” or even “Can I sue the drunk driver for the pain and suffering they caused me when I innocently was involved in the accident due to their negligence?” We have the legal answers for you!

The laws in New Jersey have been designed to protect the innocent victims that become entangled in the poor decisions of a person who decides to drive drunk. First and foremost, YES, the drunk driver can and will be persecuted in a criminal court. Additionally, you have the option to sue the defendant in civil court after the criminal case has concluded. The criminal charges the defendant will face in New Jersey criminal courts will result in imprisonment as well as monetary reimbursement and the results for your civil case are dependent upon the specifics of your personal case.

If you decided the route of suing the defendant in a civil court, there are two main types of negligence that will be examined regarding your specific car accident case:

Comparative Negligence

The first type of negligence a court willexamine in your case is referred to as Comparative Negligence. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, Comparative Negligence is defined as the way the court regulates the degree of responsibility both persons involved in the accident had on the date of the incident. The Comparative Negligence Act states that auto insurance companies must review the details of the accident and make the final determination of who was responsible for each individual aspect of the accident.

The specific details that auto insurance companies will be reviewing are the following:

  • Primary reason the accident occurred, i.e. running a stop sign, veering into next lane, etc.
  • Vaster responsibility of care, i.e. the person to the right has the right-a-way
  • Clear opportunity to avoid the auto accident, i.e. measures taken to evade the collision

Contributory Negligence

The second kind of negligence that will be taken into consideration is called Contributory Negligence. Contributory Negligence is the determination if a person was hurt due in part to their own negligence, in which they “contributed” to their own injury. For example, if a person is driving drunk but the person they hit was already crossing over the separating lane line, the person who was veering, in fact, contributed to the accident as well as the drunk driver. Some states have deemed this doctrine of law unfair and it is not as widely used as the Comparative Negligence doctrine.

Civil Suit Against Drunk Driver

After a drunk driver has been convicted in the criminal courts, you have the option to sue the defendant in a civil court. Criminal court is calculated to keep the public safe from a drunk driver as a means of deterrence of conducting a repeat offense. The drunk driver will serve the terms of punishment after convicted of the crime. Civil court is designed to allow the innocent victim to file an injury lawsuit against the defendant in order to recover damages from the accident. It is possible that you may be injured from the accident, which may result in a loss of wages, medical expenses, personal property damage as well as other damages. These wages are referred to as “compensatory damages”. There are other damages that may be recovered on the emotional front, also known as pain and suffering, that are referred to as “punitive damages.”

In order to get the process started, it is imperative to hire a credible and experienced attorney in the field of personal injury. Your selection of attorney(s) is your ultimate ticket to recovering any and all damages. Finding the most experienced attorney is crucial for enduring what could be a grueling process and painful regurgitation of the events that caused you injury as the innocent party. The process of a civil suit will go as follows:

File a Complaint- The injured party will file a complaint against the accused.

Provide Adequate Evidence- The plaintiff is mandated to provide enough credible evidence to prove the damages were directly caused by the actions of the defendant. The plaintiff will ask for either/or compensatory and punitive damages for loss of wage, car repair, medical bills, funeral bill, pain and suffering, etc. This evidence will need to be in the form of doctor’s notes, bills, pictures, report slips, employee certificates, etc. If the driver was killed in the accident, the heirs of the plaintiff will sue for wrongful death and ask to be awarded both compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the decedent.

Defendant is insolvent- If the defendant does not have the means to pay the awarded damages, the plaintiff has all rights to seek payment from the defendant’s employer by making a claim against them if the accident occurred within the scope of duty, or “on the clock”. The employer is then mandated to take into consideration the offense and supervise the employee. If the plaintiff proves the employer did not show proper due diligence, the plaintiff or heirs of the decedent can file suit against the employer.

Lastly, the judge will take into consideration all the details and specificities of your case. After careful and thoughtful deliberation, and with the right attorney(s), you will be awarded the adequate damages needed to heal properly, regain lost wages, fix and/or replace your car, economic recovery and psychological pain and suffering relief. Do not get left out in the cold if you become the innocent victim of a drunk driving accident.

Contact the Law Office of Aiello Harris for your free consultation. We provide experienced counsel to assist you in your legal matters. We will fight for your rights!

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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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