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Cranford New Jersey Criminal Defense Blog

Defining shoplifting in New Jersey

When most in Cranford hear that one has been arrested for shoplifting, they might immediately envision some teen being caught trying to sneak stuff out of a store in his or her backpack. This assumption is due to the fact that many view shoplifting as only being a juvenile crime. However, statistics show the exact opposite. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, 75 percent of those charged with shoplifting are adults. 

Why would so many be off in their notions of who are the most common shoplifters? Perhaps it is because most classify shoplifting as simply taking something from a retail store without paying. Yet there are actually several different forms of shoplifting. Per Section 20-11(b) of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, taking an item without paying its full retail value does indeed qualify as shoplifting. So too, however, does the following activity: 

  • Removing pricing tags from items in an attempt to pay less than their full retail value
  • Transferring merchandise from one container to another (e.g., a clearance rack) with the intent of paying less than its full value
  • Stealing shopping carts from merchants
  • Altering sales tags to "under-ring" upon checkout

Marijuana possession is still a crime

Medicinal marijuana is legal is New Jersey and several states have legalized recreational use of the drug as well. It seems as though attitudes are changing about marijuana – even former Speaker of the House John Boehner, a marijuana opponent throughout his elected career, has changed his mind.

Attitudes are changing, but the law has not. When it comes to criminal matters, the law is what matters.

Detailing New Jersey's self-defense law

Claims of self-defense may seem to be cited so often as justification for crimes allegedly committed in Cranford that many may have trouble assigning any validity to them. Yet there certainly are legitimate cases where the use of force (even deadly force) may be justified. Indeed, information compiled by the Violence Policy Center shows that as recently as 2012, 259 of the gun-related homicides reported in the U.S. were determined to be justifiable. 

Citing self-defense, however, requires that one demonstrate that his or her use of it was in accordance with the law. Fortunately, the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice is very clear is defining when the use of force may be justified. Generally speaking, it is lawful to forcefully protect oneself if it is believed to be necessary to avoid death or serious bodily harm. There are, however, limitations to this right. If, for example, one was the aggressor in provoking an altercation in which he or she eventually had to use force for protection, his or her actions may still be considered illegal. The same is true in any of the following scenarios: 

  • He or she had the opportunity to safely retreat from the situation
  • He or she could have surrendered possession of an item over which another was claiming ownership
  • He or she could have complied with a request to abstain from doing something he or she has no duty to do

Why you should never leave an accident site

There may be many reasons that a New Jersey driver who is involved in an accident leaves the scene. A drunk driver is not thinking clearly; that he or she got behind the wheel in the first place is proof of that. A driver with a suspended license or one who is avoiding arrest for any number of reasons may simply bolt. Perhaps the driver means to report the accident anonymously. With adrenaline pumping through the body, triggering the “flight or fight” instinct, flight may seem the right choice to some. Regardless of the reason, leaving the scene of an accident is never a good decision and can result in criminal charges.

State laws require drivers of all vehicles involved in an accident to remain at the scene. If the accident involves only property damage to a car, you are expected to make a reasonable attempt to locate the owner and exchange insurance information if the car is unattended. If you do not, you could be fined $200-$400, jailed for up to 30 days, or both. Plus, your license will be suspended for six months. A second offense carries fines of $400-$600, a jail term of 30-90 days and suspension of your license for one year.

What are New Jersey's implied speed limits?

Few people in Cranford set out every morning with the intention of breaking the law. However, being late for an important meeting, trying to rush to beat a red light or simply losing focus on how fast you are going for a moment may prompt you to commit a traffic infraction. Like most, you recognize the need for speed limits in order to promote safe driving, and in many cases, your apparent neglect of them may not even be intentional. After all, without a speed limit posted, how are you to know how fast you are permitted to drive? 

This may come as a surprise but the speed limit laws in most states are not driven by certain numbers, but rather determinations of what is considered to be reasonably safe (the posted speed limits are simply the maximum speed at which you are permitted to drive). For this reason, law enforcement officials may cite you for speeding even in cases where you were driving under the posted speed limit if it is believed you were driving faster than you should in the given conditions. 

Shoplifting father abandons dying son after crashing vehicle

Life is often about the choices we make and the beliefs that drive those decisions. Whether those choices are good or bad, they impact yourself and those around you. Unfortunately, a two year old boy died when his father made some irreversible choices.

In Township, New Jersey, a 28 year-old father took his son shoplifting after getting high on narcotics. When the shoplifting attempt failed, the father got in his SUV and fled without buckling up his son. Although local authorities were not chasing him, the father ran a stop light and crashed into two other vehicles.

Why Points Matter on Your Driving Record

The person with the most points wins, right? Not always. The type of points adding up on your driving record is not an accomplishment to be proud of. In fact, the fewer points the better, especially when your driving privileges are at stake. So, what are traffic points, why do they matter and how can they affect you? Here's what you need to know.

Traffic point system break-down

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) enforces points whenever there is a moving violation. It is worth noting that points do not go on your record for parking tickets, only moving-related traffic offenses. The points given vary in higher and lower amounts, but each set of points represent a negative mark on your record.

AG Sessions: US Attorneys won't focus on low-level weed cases

Even though U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems to have been clearing the way for federal prosecutors to take on marijuana crimes, he recently announced that they will not be doing so. Federal law enforcement simply doesn't have the resources to tackle "routine cases" involving marijuana.

This is positive news for states like New Jersey, where marijuana is approved for a number of medical conditions, along with jurisdictions that have fully legalized the drug. Sessions has been backing away from the hands-off approach adopted by the Obama administration, and many advocates had feared that the federal government was getting ready to crack down on marijuana use in medical and legalization states.

A drug conviction could cost a student their financial aid

It’s not unusual for a college student to indulge in the partying aspect of life on campus. For many students, this is their first time away from home, and as such, the freedom that comes with that can facilitate behaviors that they previously wouldn’t have considered—or at the very least, wouldn’t have been so brazen about.

While college may be a time for new experiences and learning valuable life lessons, a drug conviction is no minor bump in the road. For students who rely on financial aid to fund their education, an arrest and subsequent conviction could have disastrous effects on their academic career.

What are common drunk driving defenses?

There's so many ways that a false drunk driving charge can happen. In fact, criminal law judges are fully aware that police can make mistakes when arresting and accusing a driver of being intoxicated behind the wheel. For this reason, every driver accused of DUI will have the opportunity to defend him or herself against the allegations.

The defense strategy that the driver and his or her lawyer chooses will depend upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the arrest. However, here are three common ways that a driver might be able to improve his or her situation in court. Each of them points the inaccuracy of blood alcohol tests:

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