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Cranford New Jersey Criminal Defense Blog

What is a Batson Challenge?

If you are ever made to face criminal charges in Cranford, your fate may depend largely on the opinions of the jurors who hear your case. The hope is that those selected to a jury constitute an apt representation if your local community. To accomplish this, both your defense attorney and the attorney prosecuting your case are allowed a certain number of peremptory challenges that can be used to exclude people from the jury pool. Typically, attorneys will look to exclude potential jurors whose opinions seem to conflict with the aims of their case (with prosecutor's being to convict you and your defense attorney's being to cast doubt on the potential of your guilt). Yet what if it is discovered that jurors are being excluded for other reasons? 

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that you be tried in front of a jury that represents a cross-section of your community. This means that prosecutors should not exclude jurors from hearing your case if it is believed that their potential connections to you (whatever they may be) might make them sympathetic to your plight. Therefore, federal allows for a Batson Challenge if you believe the prosecutor in your case has done this. 

Baby left behind in New Jersey store after alleged stroller theft

Security camera footage and a social media post led to the arrest of two women alleged to have stolen a stroller from a high-end baby supply store in Middletown, New Jersey. The alleged theft occurred approximately a week and a half ago and appears to have involved three women who brought several children with them into the store. Security camera footage reveals one of the children wandering the store, left behind after the women's exit, and one of them returning briefly to the store to retrieve the child

The woman who came back into the store to collect the missing child was one of the two arrested in connection with the alleged theft. The two women arrested are both in their 20s and are originally from England. The store sells high-end imported merchandise for babies. Authorities have yet to apprehend the woman visible on security footage who appears to be exiting the store with the stroller. An investigation into the case is ongoing.

Can you request a change of venue?

If you end up facing criminal charges in Cranford, you may believe that your lack of involvement or the weakness of the allegations against you would be apparent regardless of the location of the court in which your case is presented. However, criminal trials can involve a number of complexities that, in the end, could result in your receiving an unfavorable ruling even in cases where many may not have anticipated such an outcome. One factor that can potentially influence the outcome of a criminal trial is the city or municipality in which it is argued. Thus, this should be something that you consider when preparing your defense. 

If you fear that the venue of your trial might impact its result, it is within your right to request that proceedings be moved to a different area. According to New Jersey Court Rule 4:3-3, a change of venue may be requested if the case cannot be heard in the area rightly designated by state standards (which, in criminal cases, is typically the county in which the alleged offense occurred). Other cases in which a change of venue may be requested include where doing so would be in the best interest of justice for both the parties directly involved and any witnesses to the case, as well as instances where it substantial doubt exists as to the possibility of you receiving fair and impartial judgment in the county that would normally have jurisdiction over the case. 

What to do about a traffic ticket

Even if you're a safe driver, there may come a point when you're pulled over by police for violating one of the many rules of the road. For example, you could receive a ticket for speeding, running a red light or failure to use a turn signal.

Generally speaking, you have two options if you receive a traffic ticket:

  • Pay the fine
  • Go to court to fight the charges against you

What is opiate withdrawal?

Opiates like heroin, codeine, and oxycodone cause physical dependence when taken over an extended period of time. As drug tolerance increases, a person must take more and more of a substance just to feel normal. When not taking the drug, withdrawal effects occur after long-term use. MedlinePlus explains the impact of opiate withdrawal and how it can be treated. 

The withdrawal process is accompanied by a wide range of symptoms. In the early stages, a person often experiences problems sleeping. Anxiety is also common, which can be accompanied by agitation or irritability. Other early symptoms include aching muscles, sweating, and incessant yawning. In later stages, withdrawal causes gastrointestinal issues, pupil dilation, and cramping. Withdrawal begins about 12 to 30 hours after the last dose. 

How does driving history affect insurance costs?

When driving a vehicle in New Jersey, you must follow all traffic laws to preserve the safety of yourself and others. If you fail to do so, you could be subjected to serious injury or property damage. You may also be privy to much higher insurance costs, which make it far more difficult to protect yourself and your vehicle. The Balance offers the following information on insurance points so you can keep costs manageable. 

Most states use a point system to track traffic violations. However, not all offenses incur points. Something like driving without proof of current insurance is serious but is not considered a moving violation. Conversely, something like speeding can result in points being assessed to your driving record. After so many points are assessed, your license will be suspended or revoked depending on other aspects of your driving history. Points can also cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket in some cases. 

What is kleptomania?

The crime of shoplifting isn't always cut and dry. While many people steal for personal gain, others do so because of an uncontrollable impulse. This is known as kleptomania, which is a condition that can result in legal problems as well as emotional ones. The Mayo Clinic offers the following information on kleptomania and what can be done to control it. 

Kleptomania falls into the category of impulse-control disorders, which also includes compulsive gambling and substance abuse. It's characterized by the urge to steal often valueless items that the person usually has enough money to purchase at the time. Upon feeling an impulse to steal, a person will experience intense gratification when shoplifting. This state is short-lived, however, and often an intense low mood follows. This cycle renews itself on each shoplifting excursion. While people with kleptomania sometimes steal from loved ones, incidents usually occur in retail spaces. 

DUI charges and emotional challenges

The financial impact of drunk driving charges can be enormous, and those who are pulled over for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol may also lose their ability to drive. Some people are sentenced to prison, while others may lose their job or face problems in their personal relationships. These are just some of the consequences of DUI charges, all of which can result in serious emotional challenges as well. Some people struggle with anxiety or depression because of their circumstances, and these emotions can be debilitating.

If you are facing DUI charges, you may be extremely stressed out. Your high levels of stress could interfere with your sleep, leave you unable to function in the workplace and adversely affect your health, to name a few examples. Many people also experience depression after they are charged with drunk driving, especially if they feel that their reputation has been shattered or they have lost hope with regard to certain aspects of their life and their future.

Can you get a DUI under the legal limit?

You know that the legal limit for drivers in New Jersey is 0.08% BAC (blood alcohol concentration). They told you about it when you took your driver's training and it has not changed. You always work hard to make sure you're under the limit whenever you drive. You even carry a small breath test around with you to check if you think you're close.

After all, you can't get a DUI if you don't break the 0.08 limit, right?

Passerby claims to have stopped attempted assault in Mount Holly

It may be easy for people in Cranford to make immediate decisions on one's guilt or innocence based of a simple smattering of information. The trouble with this is that those facing criminal accusations have the right to have their stories heard before actual judgment against them can be pronounced. Those quick to make judgments against another may indeed eventually find themselves in situations where they need to rely on the understanding of others to allow them to recount their sides of their stories in order to avoid criminal penalties. Yet if opinions on them have already been formed, it may difficult to have those stories heard. 

The news of the arrest of a Pennsylvania man in connection with an allegedly attempted crime near Mount Holly certainly seems to paint an unfavorable picture of the supposed perpetrator. A passerby on the freeway supposedly saw the man carry a woman into a wooded area. He followed the man and separated him from the woman, waiting for authorities to arrive to take the man into custody. Although exact details have not been released as to what actions the man was engaged in when he was discovered, he now faces criminal charges that include attempted sexual assault. 

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Cranford New Jersey Criminal Defense Blog | The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo