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Wayne Criminal Law Blog

NJ residents charged with filing fraudulent Sandy aid claims

Four New Jersey residents are joining the more than 120 individuals already charged with filing fraudulent applications for Superstorm Sandy relief. According to officials, fraudulent claims are responsible for diverting upward of $8 million from relief funds.

The four newly charged individuals falsely claimed that their homes that were damaged on the Jersey Shore were their primary place of residence. These fraudulent claims were made on grant and loan applications. As a result, the four were charged with theft by deception. These four individuals could face up to five years in prison if they are convicted.

Factors that can impact Breathalyzer accuracy

If authorities in New Jersey have ever stopped you, you probably have firsthand knowledge of just how unnerving it can be to see those blue lights pop up behind you in your rearview mirror. If the law enforcement official who stops you also has reason to suspect you may have been drinking, you can anticipate him or her asking you to submit to a breath test using a Breathalyzer device.

If a law enforcement official subsequently charges you with drinking and driving, you can bet that the results of your breath test will play a big role in determining whether a judge finds you guilty. Because the penalties associated with drinking and driving in New Jersey are so substantial, it is critical that the results of your breath test are accurate. Several outside factors can impact breath test accuracy, however, and they include:

New Jersey woman charged with DUI after fish pond mishap

Police in New Jersey have reported that a suspected drunk driver was taken into custody in Warren County during the early morning hours of Aug. 13 after she allegedly drove her car into a fish hatchery pond. The 42-year-old Washington Township woman has been charged with driving while intoxicated and entering a public park in an unauthorized vehicle. Police say that she was later released on her own recognizance.

Officers with the Hackettstown Police Department say that they came upon the woman in a public park sitting on the trunk of her car waving her arms to flag them down. Her car was found partly submerged in a pond used by a nearby fish hatchery. Police claim that they suspected impairment when they saw the woman and their suspicions were confirmed when they smelled alcohol on her breath. Reports indicate that the woman had to enter a public park and drive down a dirt road not open to vehicles in order to reach the pond.

Man charged with DWI after hitting dozens of parked cars

On July 25, a 22-year-old New Jersey man was arrested for allegedly smashing his SUV into more than 30 parked vehicles while he was drunk. The wild scene occurred in Hoboken at around 1:20 a.m.

According to authorities, the defendant ended his shift at a local restaurant and headed to a bar on Washington Street. Once there, he reportedly met two women, told them he was a livery cab driver and offered to drive them home. They accepted and got into his vehicle. However, the ride did not go smoothly. Witnesses say the defendant began weaving all over Bloomfield Street, sideswiping parked vehicles on both sides of the road. He allegedly kept driving even after his air bag deployed. The owner of one SUV he hit said her vehicle's bumper was torn completely off.

Penalties for New Jersey’s repeat DUI offenders

If you live in New Jersey, are facing a driving under the influence charge and it is not your first offense, you may have valid concerns about possibly having to spend time in jail, among other possible penalties. As you can probably imagine, the repercussions for drinking and driving in the state increase in severity for repeat offenders, so having multiple DUI convictions on your record has the capacity to impact numerous areas of your life.

While even first-time New Jersey DUI offenders typically face fines, license suspensions and possible imprisonment, among other penalties, second- and third-time DUI offenders face even harsher penalties.

New Jersey court bans alternative sentences for repeat DWI

An appeals court has ruled that the 2004 state law known as Michael's Law does not allow repeat DWI offenders to serve alternative sentences upon conviction. Michael's Law that honors a 19-year-old victim of a drunk driver strengthened sentencing guidelines by imposing a mandatory 180-day jail sentence on people convicted of drunk driving three or more times.

The issue of alternative sentences for repeat offenders came under review because of cases like a restaurant owner who was allowed to serve his 180 days in county jail two days at a time while he continued to run his restaurant Wednesday through Sunday. After being arrested for hitting two parked cars, the man eventually entered a guilty plea for his third DWI, careless driving and leaving an accident scene.

Prosecutors charging bystanders after overdose deaths

Many people in New Jersey and New York have fallen victim to the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, many people have died from overdoses of heroin and fentanyl. In some cases in which other drug users shared drugs with the overdose victims or provided drugs to them, prosecutors are filing murder charges against these bystanders.

NPR reports that jurisdictions across the U.S. have started prosecuting other drug users when people die from overdoses. The prosecutors do this by stretching what it means to be a drug dealer to include drug users who share drugs with others. This has led to multiple people being charged with serious offenses across the country.

3 things that can happen to alleged shoplifters

It is a well-known fact that individuals accused of crimes are not always guilty, and sometimes, discriminatory practices such as profiling can cause innocent people to be treated as would-be criminals. This is common in high-level courts, and it may be even more common in lesser situations, such as an alleged shoplifting offense. If you have been accused of stealing in a store, there are a few things to consider.

There are a few outcomes that may follow, with three, in particular, being the most common. If the situation involves law enforcement or otherwise becomes legally significant, you should reach out to a legal representative prior to engaging with any of the individuals who are questioning or detaining you.

3 crimes involving prescription drugs

Prescription medications help countless people every day live, work and function at a quality of life they would not otherwise be able to enjoy. The benefits to society are obvious, but, of course, there are some downsides as well. Many people abuse prescription drugs and become addicted to the point of dependence. This is a serious epidemic in America that is often overlooked simply because the drugs are prescribed.

According to WBUR, crimes involving prescription drugs are on the rise—as are death and addiction rates. If you have been charged with a crime that involves drugs of any kind, you should discuss your case with a lawyer before you speak with law enforcement or make any statements.

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