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Atlantic City Criminal Defense Legal Blog

When Traffic Violations Trigger A Driver's License Suspension

From commuting to work and transporting children to school to getting groceries and attending important appointments, for most residents in Atlantic City, driving is an essential part of everyday life. It's important to keep in mind, however, that driving is a privilege and not a right and drivers who are cited for violating traffic laws can lose their driving privileges.

In New Jersey, certain traffic violations are assigned penalty points. If you accrue 12 or more points on your driving record, your driver's license will be suspended for at least 30 days. Once the suspension period ends, you must pay a fee to reinstate your license.

Will an overhaul of New Jersey's DUI penalties become a reality?

Whenever new DUI-related legislation emerges in Trenton, there's always immediate and justifiable concern that it will be overly punitive in nature, such that while it may result in offenders spending more time behind bars, it actually does very little to combat impaired driving.

In recent developments, however, a bill is currently making its way through the legislature that many believe might represent something of a departure from this trend in that, to quote one lawmaker, "it will increase safety on the roads without perpetuating the cycle of despair."

Marijuana Use And The Law In New Jersey

In recent years, state laws throughout the country regarding the use, growth and distribution of marijuana have undergone drastic changes. As large portions of the nation have become more comfortable with cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes, many states have also shown a trend toward legalization.

The process of legalization has been relatively slow. However, there has been an increase in momentum over the last few years. After the 2016 election cycle, over half of the states in the nation and the District of Columbia have some form of medical marijuana program and eight states and the District of Columbia passed recreational use legislation. Similar legislation is currently being considered in New Jersey.

A Closer Look at How New Jersey Defines Domestic Violence - III

In a series of posts, we've been examining the scope of New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, including how it defines this criminal offense, who is protected by its provisions and, most recently, the circumstances in which law enforcement officials are required to make an arrest.

We'll continue this ongoing effort in today's post, examining more about how domestic violence restraining orders are granted and what they mean for both sides.

Casino crimes in New Jersey: Using a device to obtain an advantage

In a previous post, we discussed how the Casino Investigations Unit, the largest enforcement unit within New Jersey's Casino Gambling Bureau, maintains a strong presence at Atlantic City casinos, actively enforcing the provisions of the Code of Criminal Justice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It's important to understand, however, that the troopers stationed at or dispatched to any of the city's seven major casinos or several smaller ones are doing more than just cracking down on offenses like disorderly conduct, defiant trespass, prostitution, robbery and theft. Indeed, they are also ensuring that patrons abide by the stringent regulations set forth in the Casino Control Act.

Reviewing the accuracy of breath test devices

In New Jersey, and in most other states across the nation, law enforcement officers use roadside breath test devices to determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated. If the breath test device measures the driver's blood alcohol content level at 0.08 percent or above, he or she may be arrested and charged with drinking and driving. However, multiple studies show that breath test device results are not always accurate and could show inflated readings in some situations. This could lead to a false arrest and erroneous DUI charge.

A study conducted by the State University of New York at Potsdam measured the accuracy of these devices. Researchers found that in addition to measuring the presence of alcohol in a breath sample, the machines picked up traces of other substances that could cause an inaccurate BAC reading. In fact, the following substances and factors have been shown to affect breath test readings. These include:

  •          Blood, vomit or residual food or drink in the subject's mouth.
  •          Cigarette smoke.
  •          Relative humidity and temperature of the air.
  •          Electrical interference coming from law enforcement officers' radios, cellphones and other electronic devices.
  •          Pollution and dirt in the air.
  •          Certain medication.

Can sex offenders use social media?

If you have been charged and are found guilty of committing a sexual offense, you may be banned from using certain social media sites as a result of your conviction. In New Jersey, and in other states across the country, convicted sex offenders listed on the sex registry list cannot post on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

According to NJ.com, opponents to this legislation brought the case before a state board of appeals, declaring that social media sites are more than just socializing networks. These sites have evolved to become rehabilitative to sex offenders who are looking for support groups and services. For example, LinkedIn may allow offenders to network with professionals that could help them find employment.  Opponents also brought up the potential impingement to citizens’ freedom of speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Synthetic drugs in New Jersey

Once available over the counter, synthetic and designer drugs are illegal across New Jersey. Today, a black market has developed and recent arrests suggest a rising tide for the manmade intoxicants.

Synthetic drugs are chemical compositions, created for recreation use. K2 and other synthetic marijuana products are typically a mixture of herbs laced with chemical cannabinoids. They share few characteristics with marijuana itself and are dangerously inconsistent in dosage, warns the New Jersey Poison Center. Because it comes in a package, many mistakenly deem it to be safe, despite it's being illegal in the state.

Just how seriously does New Jersey treat marijuana possession charges?

While societal attitudes toward the possession and use of marijuana have become increasingly progressive over the last decade, neither the federal government nor various state governments have followed suit. Indeed, as we discussed last week, both the federal government and the state of New Jersey continue to classify marijuana as a schedule I drug, meaning it has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse.

All this begs the question then as to what the average person arrested for marijuana possession -- from the college student with a bag in his pocket to the business executive with a bag in her glove compartment -- can expect under state law.

Appellate court to decide whether marijuana should be reclassified

History was made back in January 2010 when the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law by then-Governor Jon Corzine. Since that time, the Garden State's medical marijuana program has registered well over 7,000 patients, all of whom use the drug to treat symptoms of various medical conditions from cancer to multiple sclerosis.

While this recognition of the medicinal value of marijuana and the accompanying large patient registry would seem to suggest that the state has adopted a laissez-faire approach toward the drug in general, this hasn't necessarily proven to be the case. Indeed, the drug remains classified as a schedule I drug under state law.

Office Locations

Levin Pisetzner Levin

3123 Atlantic Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Local: 609-318-3932
Toll-Free: 800-549-7594
Emergency: 609-214-8446
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