Category Archives: Criminal Defense

What Crimes Can Be Expunged in NJ?

Expungement is a way to seal your criminal record from a normal arrest record search. If you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime other than a traffic violation, the file appears on your arrest record. Expungement does not completely destroy your file — rather it moves the file to a special location not accessible by an ordinary search. They are no longer public record.

Do you want to expunge your New Jersey arrest record? Our lawyers may be able to help. Here’s some basic info to see if you are eligible. In New Jersey, sealing a record is the same as expunging it.

Non-violent crimes can that be expunged?

Many non-violent, less serious crimes are available for expungement. However, pursuant to New Jersey Expungement Statutes 2C:52-2, convictions for these crimes cannot be expunged:

Am I eligible for expungement of a felony?

To be eligible for expungement of an indictable offense, also known as a felony, (OTHER than one listed above, which are never eligible), at least 10 years must have passed since you completed the terms of your sentence. You must have no other charges pending or have no other convictions. You cannot have had a previous expungement. Additionally, you must have less than three disorderly violations and were not previously granted a dismissal of charges through pretrial intervention.

Expunging your misdemeanor conviction

To expunge misdemeanor convictions, or what New Jersey refers to as municipal ordinance violations, the above requirements apply. However, you need only wait two years after all conditions of your sentence have been completed, including probation, payment of fines and restitution.

What if I was not convicted of a crime?

If you were arrested but the charges against you were dismissed, or you were found not guilty, you can qualify for an expungement.

The lawyers at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. can let you know if your record qualifies for expungement, and walk you through the process. Contact our New Jersey criminal lawyers today, for a free initial consultation, call us today at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online.  Your initial consultation is free.

New Jersey Traffic Ticket Surcharges FAQs

With overpopulation and millions of drivers on the road, New Jersey is strict on enforcing driving laws. Sometimes, too strict. One plague to the NJ traffic violations organization is its system of tacking on additional surcharges to already skyrocketing fines. With an extra surcharge, you can find yourself paying double the amount of the original ticket. To learn more about fighting traffic tickets and surcharges, contact a NJ traffic defense lawyer.

What is a surcharge?

When do I have to pay a surcharge?

  • If you accumulate six or more points within three years from your last posted violation, you will receive a $150 Surcharge plus $25 for each additional point. According to the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s website, additional violations that qualify for surcharges (billed yearly for three years) include:
  • $100 for unlicensed driver or driver with expired license ($300 total)
  • $250 for driving with a suspended license ($750 total)
  • $100 for failure to insure a moped ($300 total)
  • $250 for operating an uninsured vehicle ($750 total)
  • $1,000 for first and second driving while intoxicated (DWI) ($3,000 total)
  • $1,500 third DWI (if it occurs within three years last offense) ($4,500 total)
  • $1,000 for refusing to take test to measure blood alcohol concentration ($3,000 total)

Are surcharges one-time fees?

No. Once you pay your initial surcharge, you will be billed yearly for two more years. So, you pay one surcharge per year for three years total.

What are points on my license?

If you are convicted of certain moving violations, you receive an assigned number of points on your license. Points are tracked by the MVC. After you receive six points in a three year period, you are charged a three-year surcharge. If you receive more than 12 points, your license will be suspended.  Points are deducted from your license for every year you remain violation-free.

How many points do I get for each violation?

Offense Points Offense Points
Improper passing 4 Unlawful use of median strip 2
Operating constructor vehicle in excess of 45 mph 3 Operating motorized bicycle on a restricted highway 2
More than one person on a motorized bicycle 2 Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk 2
Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk; passing a vehicle
yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk
2 Driving through safety zone 2
Racing on highway 5 Improper action or omission on grades and curves 2
Failure to observe direction of officer 2 Failure to stop vehicle before crossing sidewalk 2
Failure to yield to pedestrians or vehicles while entering or leaving
2 Driving on public or private property to avoid a traffic sign or
Operating a motor vehicle on a sidewalk 2 Failure to obey direction of officer 2
Failure to observe traffic signals* (Red Light Camera- 0 pts.) 2 *No points assessed for red light camera violation 0
Failure to keep right 2 Improper operating of vehicle on divided highway or divider 2
Failure to keep right at intersection 2 Failure to pass to right of vehicle proceeding in opposite direction 5
Improper passing on right or off roadway 4 Wrong way on a one-way street 2
Improper passing in no passing zone 4 Failure to yield to overtaking vehicle 2
Failure to observe traffic lanes 2 Tailgating 5
Failure to yield at intersection 2 Failure to use proper entrances to limited access highways 2
Failure to yield to emergency vehicles 2 Reckless driving 5
Careless driving 2 Destruction of agricultural or recreational property 2
Slow speed blocking traffic 2 Driving in an unsafe manner (points only for third or subsequent
offense within five years of most recent 39:4-97.2 conviction)
Exceeding maximum speed 1-14 mph over limit 2 Exceeding maximum speed 15-29 mph over limit 4
Exceeding maximum speed 30 mph or more over limit 5 Failure to stop for traffic light 2
Improper turn at traffic light 3 Failure to stop at flashing red signal 2
Failure to stop for police whistle 2 Improper right or left turn 3
Improper turn from approved turning course 3 Improper u-turn 3
Failure to give proper signal 2 Improper backing or turning in street 2
Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing 2 Improper crossing of bridge 2
Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing by certain vehicles 2 Improper passing of school bus 5
Improper passing of frozen dessert truck 4 Leaving the scene of an accident – no personal injury 2
Leaving the scene of an accident – Personal injury 8 Failure to observe stop or yield signs 2
Racing on highway 5 Moving violation committed out-of-state 2


What happens when I don’t pay my surcharge?

Your license may be suspended if you fail to pay your surcharge. You can pay by check or online.

Are you facing large fees, license suspension, or other harsh driving penalties? Don’t let the state of New Jersey MVC take advantage of you.  Learn how a traffic defense attorney ensures you get a fair day in court. Contact our New Jersey criminal lawyers today, for a free initial consultation, call us today at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online.  Your initial consultation is free.

What are the Punishments for Resisting Arrest in New Jersey?

Resisting arrest means you are accused of purposely preventing a police officer from arresting you. This can be done by running away, inflicting violence, driving away, and otherwise making it difficult for law enforcement to bring you into custody. Typically a disorderly persons offense, resisting could be raised to an indictable crime (a felony) if violence or risk of violence is involved. Resisting arrest could also be known as “eluding.”  At our law firm, we understand these types of disputes are often simply misunderstandings. The punishments for resisting arrest are harsh, and we can help you get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Punishments For Resisting Arrest In NJ

If you are found guilty or plead guilty to resisting arrest here are the possible punishments you face:

  • Disorderly persons offense. $500 to $1000 fine; up to six months in jail;
  • Fourth degree offense. Up to $10,000 fine; up to 18 months in prison
  • Third degree offense. Up to a $15,000 fine; up to five years in prison
  • To be found guilty of a fourth degree offense, the court must prove you prevented a police officer from arresting you by fleeing. If you are charged with a third degree offense, it means you are accused of using violence or the threat of violence to resist arrest.

Don’t risk your freedom and your future by trusting your criminal defense case in the wrong hands. The lawyers at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. work to obtain the best possible results for your case. For a free initial consultation, call us today at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online.  Your initial consultation is free.

What Are Custodial Sentences

A specific term of imprisonment under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-2b(3) is distinct from imprisonment as a condition of probation under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-2b(2). In the latter case, a defendant convicted of a crime may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 364 days as a condition of probation (90 days in the case of a disorderly persons offense). All sentences of one year or longer (except in the case of offenders 26 years of age or less at the time of sentencing, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-5) generally will be served in a state correctional facility pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2  C:43-10. State v. O’Connor, 105 N.J. 399, 420 (1987); State v. Hartye, 105 N.J. 411, 420 (1987). A person sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 18 months may be committed to the county penitentiary or workhouse, if the county has such a facility N.J.S.A. 2C:43-10b. A sentence of less than one year will result in incarceration in the county jail, county workhouse or county penitentiary. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-10c. A defendant sentenced to a jail term in excess of 6 months cannot be compelled to serve that time in a county jail but may serve that time in a county workhouse or penitentiary. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-10c. Note further that a defendant is entitled to credit on the term of a custodial sentence for any time spent by the defendant in a jail or state hospital between arrest and sentence. R. 3:21-8.

Defense attorneys should seek a recommendation (albeit non-binding) from the judge to the Department of Corrections about the place of incarceration. Considerations such as proximity to family members, the prison population and degree of overcrowding and the physical conditions of the facilities, ought to be taken into account in seeking the most appropriate place of incarceration.

The attorneys at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. have the experience and knowledge to protect your rights and defend you against criminal charges. For a free initial consultation, call us today at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online. Your initial consultation is free.

Social Media, Texting, and Sex Crimes in New Jersey

In today’s highly connected society, there are so many blurred lines when it comes to Internet communications and texting. The laws are slowly catching up. On November 26, 2013, a New Jersey Appellate Court upheld limited Internet access for convicted sex offenders who are on parole, prohibiting them from accessing online social networks. These included Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Legislature has been proposed in New Jersey (Senate bill 2142) that would require any registered sex offenders to self identify on their online profiles. New Jersey sex crime attorneys modeled this bill after a 2012 law that requires all registered sex offenders to list in their social network profiles the crimes they committed, their physical appearance, their residences, and links to their official sex offender registry listing. They would also have to provide lists of their email addresses, screen names, and other social identities. Not complying with these requirements would lead to 18 months in jail and fines up to $10,000.

The battle over social media and is not an easy one. There is the question of free speech and the First Amendment. Legislature like this has already been struck down in other states. In 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled a similar law unconstitutional in Indiana Doe v. Prosecutor, Marion County Indiana, 2013 WL 238735 (Jan 23, 2013). The court found that it violated the offender’s First Amendment speech rights because it interfered with his “right to receive information and ideas.” In addition to speak freely, the First Amendment also provides for the right to hear or read freely.

We have yet to see if the bill will pass in New Jersey. The area of legislature as it relates to social media and sexual offenses is an ever-evolving one. If you were wrongly accused of violating sex crimes laws in New Jersey, get a hard-hitting attorney on your side to defend your legal rights.

To understand more about these developing laws, contact a knowledgeable New Jersey sex crime attorney at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online.

What Are the Penalties for an Aggravated DWI In NJ

Under New Jersey law, if a person is found to be driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level above 0.08%, they are driving while intoxicated (DWI). The zero tolerance BAC limit for drivers younger than 21 is 0.02%.

In most states, there is an additional category of DWI that carries penalties that are much harsher than the penalties for lower categories of DWI. If a driver is found to have a BAC of 0.10% or greater, it is known as aggravated DWI. An experienced New Jersey DUI defense attorney can help you understand these different penalties.

Aggravated DWI is considered a serious criminal offense. The penalties for these offenses are much greater than the penalties for misdemeanor DUI offenses. An example of aggravated DWI is driving under the influence and having minors in the vehicle, or driving under the influence and also committing additional traffic offenses. You can also be charged with an aggravated DWI if you were driving under the influence and are involved in an accident that results in a death.

In New Jersey, DWI cases are heard in municipal courts, not like in other states where DUI and DWI cases are heard in criminal courts. New Jersey is one of only six states that do not have a specific aggravated DWI law.

If you have been charged with a DUI in New Jersey, it helps to understand the laws and penalties involved. Contact a knowledgeable New Jersey attorney at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. online or at (908) 561-5577.

What is the Court Process for a Juvenile Offender In NJ?

While juvenile cases are handled differently that those of adult offenders, your son, daughter, or other loved one could be facing some serious consequences. Additionally, the process for a juvenile offender (someone aged 18 or younger) is very different from that of an adult. When a juvenile is being charged with a crime, it is important to have an experienced New Jersey juvenile law attorney on your side that understands the laws as they apply to your specific case.

In New Jersey, juveniles who are charged as delinquents must be processed through Family Court. There are specific time limitations set on how long a juvenile can be held in detention. According to the NJ office of the Attorney General’s website, these times are:

  1. An initial detention hearing must be held within 24 hours of admission.
  2. For juveniles remanded to a detention facility, the initial probable cause hearing and second detention hearing must be held within two court days. If probable cause is not found, the juvenile is released from detention pending an adjudicator hearing.
  3. Review hearings are held for detained juveniles at intervals of 14 and 21 days. At each hearing, the judge reevaluates the detention status of the juvenile.
  4. At the adjudicator hearing, the court makes a determination on the charges. A juvenile may be judged delinquent on one or more of the charges. After a verdict of delinquency, the judge will order a disposition.
  5. In cases where the juvenile is detained, the disposition hearing must occur within 60 court days of admission to detention unless extended by the court.

In New Jersey, probation is often ordered in juvenile matters, along with financial restitution or community service for minor offences. For major offences, short of committing offenders to the adult system, the most severe punishment available to the Family Court is incarceration in the Juvenile Justice Commission.

Juvenile delinquency cases are complex matters. Don’t leave the freedom of your young loved ones up to chance. We can help your loved one avoid incarceration, opt for probation, and keep his or her juvenile record clean. Contact an experienced New Jersey juvenile crime attorney at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. online or at (908) 561-5577.