The common perception of criminal law cases is typically that of a team of prosecutors and defense squaring off against each other in the tense courtroom setting. Yet oftentimes in criminal proceedings in Cranford, the unique circumstances of one's case may make it advantageous to consider plea bargaining. Indeed, information shared by the Bureau of Justice Assistance estimates that 90-95 percent of both federal and state court cases are resolved with a guilty plea. Yet simply because this appears to the norm in criminal matters does not mean that the process does not have its complexities.
A common refrain often heard in connection with alleged criminal activity in Cranford is that the accused perpetrator "should have known better." That statement may imply both a strong understanding of the law and also a blatant disrespect for it. However, many criminal cases may not easily fit into such a generality. There may be times when one does not understand how serious his or her actions are viewed (at least not to the point of considering them to be criminal). Then there may also be cases where cravings and perceived needs could cause one to set aside legal standards that he or she might otherwise honor in order to satisfy an addiction.
Many in Cranford are likely familiar with the old saying "sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me." Harassing and threatening language may, however, leave one facing criminal charges due to New Jersey's terroristic threats statute. The issue in arresting and charging one for making threats may come down to a simple question of delivery, which prompts the question of what matters most: the intent of the speaker, or the interpretation of the audience?
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.
Life as a person under the rule of law doesn't come with a handbook. That's unfortunate. The volumes of laws on the books in New Jersey and at the federal level fill libraries – literally. Some of the fundamental rules are codified in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but not all. Over the course of two centuries, some have been added and refined. How can you possibly know what you need to know, and when?
We are a mobile society. That is something East Coast states have recognized since the founding of the country. It is truer today than it was 200 years ago. All you have to do is walk through a packed parking lot and scan the license plates. Most might be from New Jersey, but many will be from other states – perhaps even Canada.