Individuals who are convicted of certain sex crimes in New Jersey may be subject to Megan’s Law sex offender registration and community notification provisions under the statute. They may also be sentenced to Community Supervision for Life (CSL) or Parole Supervision for Life (PSL), which carries additional rules and conditions imposed by the New Jersey Parole Board.
What are the Registration Requirements in New Jersey?
Under Megan’s Law, those convicted, adjudicated delinquent, or found not guilty by reason of insanity for commission of a sex offense must provide personal information to a sex offender internet registry. The purpose of this law is to alert the public when a potentially dangerous sex offender lives in or moves to their community.
To comply with Megan’s Law registration requirements in New Jersey, a person must provide a written statement acknowledging that they have been advised of their duty to register. Registrants must also include certain information, such as the following:
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Height and weight
- Hair and eye color
- Date and place of employment
- Date and place of each conviction
- Description of the crimes
Who is Subject to PSL?
In addition to Megan’s Law requirements, sex offenders may also be subject to PSL. Under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, PSL is mandatory for those convicted of certain types of crimes, including:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated criminal sexual assault
- Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct.
- Violating a condition of a special sentence of CSL.
- Attempting to commit any of the above
What are the Terms of PSL?
Individuals who are sentenced to PSL will be supervised and subject to all conditions set by a parole board. They must also comply with general requirements, including curfews, being subject to random drug tests and searches, and must obtain permission to move to a new residence or accept a new job. Those who violate a condition of PSL may be charged with an indictable offense and sentenced to additional jail time.
How is Lifetime Supervision Terminated?
Although PSL is a special sentence intended to last for the duration of the offender’s life, there are circumstances in which an offender may be released from lifetime parole supervision, as well as Megan’s Law reporting requirements.
For individuals to be eligible for release from Megan’s Law in New Jersey, 15 years must have passed since their conviction. They must also file a motion to be removed from Megan’s Law along with evidence showing that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. It also must be shown that they were not convicted of more than one sex offense and were not convicted of aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault involving acts of penetration using physical force or coercion.
To be eligible for release from PSL, an applicant must not have committed a crime for 15 years since the date of their last conviction or release from custody, whichever is later, and must not be likely to pose a threat to the safety of others if released. To determine if one is eligible for release, they should contact a lawyer right away.
Haddonfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Assist Clients in Getting Off the Megan’s Law Registry
If you are currently subject to Megan’s Law and PSL, contact one of our Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC to see if you qualify for release. Our experienced attorneys can evaluate your case and help guide you through the process. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-287-7800. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
A person who has been convicted of a sexual crime, such as child molestation or sexual assault, is required to register as a sex offender at their local sex offender registry.
A sex offender registry maintains a list of individuals who have been convicted of crimes that are sexual in nature. The sexual offender registry provides notice to the community of the presence of such individuals in their community so that they can be vigilant. Additionally, law enforcement officers can access these registries to investigate crimes of similar nature to apprehend repeat sexual offenders.
What is Megan’s Law?
Public access to the sex offender registry was instituted in response to the case of a seven-year-old girl named Megan Kanka. A repeat sex offender raped and murdered her in New Jersey in 1994.
Soon after, New Jersey legislature passed Megan’s Law, requiring notification to the public of sex offenders in their communities through sex offender registries. In 1996, the U.S. Congress followed by passing Megan’s Law amendment, requiring every state to maintain a sex offender registry and make it accessible to the public.
The information required on a sex offender registry may include the following:
- Offender’s name
- Date of birth
- Place of employment
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle identification number
- Identifying marks and other physical features
- Offenses and punishments
Can a Name be Removed from the Registry?
When the laws were passed requiring public access to sex offender registries, few anticipated that it may unfairly impact those who appeared on the registries prior to the passage of the law. With the advent of the internet, these registries are available online. It is fairly easy for people to access these registries. If anyone has been inadvertently added to these registries, they can have severe consequences to their reputations and careers.
Those who have been inadvertently harmed by these registries include gay men convicted of sodomy prior to 1976, those convicted of crimes involving consensual gay sex before it was legalized, teenagers convicted of statutory rape of their girlfriends who are close to the legal age for consensual sex, and others for indecent exposure.
What Crimes Can be Expunged?
Crimes that involved sexual activity with a child and violence can never be expunged. However, crimes that are non-violent and tried as misdemeanors may be expunged.
How Do I Get My Name Removed?
In order to petition for removal from the sex-offender registry, one should evaluate the nature of the sex offense conviction, the length of time that has passed since the offense, and what they have done to demonstrate that they no longer pose a threat to others. If the crime was non-violent in nature and less severe, one may be eligible.
A petition to have a name removed must be filed along with documentation that proves how that individual no longer poses a threat to their community. The petition should include certifications from professional psychiatrists and counselors, attesting to the individual’s counseling and treatments. The court will review the petition and either grant or deny the petition. Additionally, a lawyer will help the removal process go smoothly.
Haddonfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Help Clients with Expungements
A conviction involving sexual offenses can have severe consequences for life. If you have been unfairly convicted or believe you may be eligible for removal from the sex-offender registry, do not hesitate to contact one of our Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC. Our attorneys will evaluate your crimes and guide you through the removal process. Contact us online or call us at 856-287-7800 for a free consultation. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
When faced with a criminal charge, it is imperative to retain an attorney. Failure to do so can cause lasting and indelible damages to one’s future. It can cause one to risk jail time and pay large financial penalties, as well as obtain a criminal record.
First and foremost, it is crucial to retain an attorney that focuses their practice in criminal defense. This area of the law requires a nuanced understanding of criminal procedures and courtroom experience.
Unlike other areas of law, a criminal defense attorney needs to have experience dealing with prosecutors, police, and the lawyer needs to understand the requirements of the local court and rules. An experienced attorney that is well known in the community can leverage their goodwill and experience in negotiations with the prosecutor and police, as well as persuade a judge and the jury.
Often, in criminal cases, an attorney may need to present a plea bargain to reduce or eliminate a sentence. An attorney may also be able to negotiate a substitution of drug rehabilitation or community service to fulfill sentencing requirements.
What are Signs of Credibility?
A criminal defense attorney can evaluate the case and tailor a defense strategy based on the allegations and evidence. The attorney should be confident and have expertise in dealing with a jury in the event the case proceeds to trial. A dynamic and credible attorney who can clearly explain complex legalese and earn the trust of the jury can be an asset in a trial setting.
How Should a Lawyer Prepare for Trial?
A criminal defense attorney also needs to interview witnesses, gather and analyze evidence to discredit a prosecution’s case, and bolster the defense. Experienced legal counsel will have honed these analytical and legal skills so that they can have the best outcome for the case. A good attorney will know how to interview and prepare witnesses for trial as many will be reluctant to do so in a criminal case.
Another way a criminal defense attorney can ensure a successful defense is by engaging suitable experts who can provide expert testimony during trial preparation and trial. Oftentimes, expert analysis can help with negotiations as expert testimony can be pivotal in proving one’s guilt or innocence. Criminal defense attorneys will also know several experts. They should be able to recruit the most suitable ones for each case. Depending on the case, experts from the fields of forensics, genetics, medical examination, physicians, accident reconstruction, and others may be needed.
When Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Some types of charges that require a criminal defense lawyer includes the following:
Drug Charges: When charged with a drug offense, it is crucial to contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Drug-related crimes include possession, sale, and trafficking of illegal substances and paraphernalia.
DUI/DWI Offense: Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a crime. Other alcohol-related crimes include underage drinking and public intoxication.
Assault and Battery Charges: An attorney can help construct a defense based on self-defense, among others.
Theft: These charges include the act of taking another’s property without their consent with the intent to permanently deprive them of the property.
Financial Crimes: These crimes involve fraud and money-laundering. If charged with a crime related to financial institutions, it is advisable to retain an attorney that specializes in white-collar crimes.
Since criminal charges carry the harshest penalties, they should not be taken lightly. It is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible
Cherry Hill Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Advocate for the Falsely Accused
If you have been charged with a crime, contact one of our accomplished Cherry Hill criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC. Our attorneys vigorously protect the rights of our clients. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 856-287-7800. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
American citizens enjoy several individual rights, including the right against an illegal search and seizure. This right ensures citizens have a right to privacy. Any evidence obtained during an illegal search and seizure is usually not admissible in court.
The source of the right against illegal search and seizure stems from the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; it allows U.S. citizens to have their privacy protected. In order for a police officer to search someone, they must have a reasonable or probable cause.
When is a Search and Seizure Legal?
A police officer exercises their own discretion when making an arrest pursuant a search and seizure. In order for the search and seizure to be deemed illegal, the search must be conducted by a government agent, and any evidence obtained by a private individual will not be deemed illegal.
According to the law, when a government agent violates a legitimate expectation of one’s privacy, the evidence obtained from such a violation should not be admitted into evidence. Before a law enforcement officer enters an individual’s home, the officer needs to obtain a warrant based on probable cause that has been signed by a magistrate.
Stop and Frisk Searches
Police often stop and frisk individuals when they are detained at checkpoints or after arrests. Evidence obtained from such stops may be allowed and the search may not be considered illegal. However, police must have a non-discriminatory justification to conduct the checkpoint or arrest.
There are several exceptions to the prohibition of a search and seizure without a warrant. Often, exceptions entail nuanced legal analysis based on case law and precedent. Whether the search and seizure was illegal can be highly fact specific, requiring in depth knowledge of criminal law.
For example, a police officer’s search may be legal if it was based on a reasonable suspicion of impending criminal activity, or a crime was committed in the police officer’s presence. Also, if the officer is under reasonable suspicion that the individual is armed, the person may be frisked, patted down, and searched. If evidence is found during the search, it is admissible and the search is deemed legal.
What is the Exclusionary Rule?
The exclusionary rule prohibits illegally obtained evidence to be used in a court case. When evidence is obtained from a search that is illegal, that evidence is excluded. In order for the evidence to be allowed, the search and seizure must be made legally. Usually, the evidence is obtained pursuant to a valid warrant that was based on probable cause; however, there are several exceptions to this exclusionary rule. A criminal defense lawyer must persuade the judge to dismiss the evidence.
Haddonfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Defend Those Accused of Crimes During Illegal Searches
If you suspect that a police officer obtained evidence in an illegal search and seizure, contact us right away. Our Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC defend those charged with crimes. Our attorneys provide aggressive and thorough counseling to protect the rights of our clients. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-287-7800. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
The flashing lights of a police car can strike fear into anyone’s heart, especially for people directed to pull their vehicles over. In some cases, the cause is unwarranted. Knowing what to do in these situations has a great deal of influence toward how things will eventually play out.
What Should I Do if I am Pulled Over?
If the police vehicle is directly behind a car and has its emergency lights and siren on, it is essential to signal and pull over immediately into a safe place. The car’s engine should be turned off. It is a good idea to be courteous, which can include turning on the interior light if it is dark out and having a driver’s license and registration ready for inspection.
Drivers should roll down the windows, but never exit the vehicles unless the officer directs them to do so. Also, any unexpected movements could lead the officer to think that the driver is reaching for a weapon, so it is important to be mindful of this.
What Prompts Police Stops?
Some of the most common traffic stops are for violations like speeding, illegal turns, or failing to stop for school buses. Minor infractions that could lead to stops include not wearing a seat belt, inoperative equipment, or darkly tinted windows. Outside the category of traffic violations and infractions, drivers can be pulled over for outstanding warrants, reasonable suspicion of having committed criminal activity, or probable cause.
Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause
Reasonable suspicion is usually based on information and personal observations from witnesses, police officers, and the police radio. In these cases, the officer should have reason for believing a traffic violation or crime was committed, if a person is planning to commit one, or if the driver is hiding evidence of a crime. This suspicion must be based on specific circumstances or facts. An example is when an officer sees a motorist weaving in and out of lanes. This could cause the officer to reasonably suspect that the driver is driving under the influence (DUI).
To prove probable cause, the officer is required to show evidence or facts that would cause a person to believe that the driver committed a crime or plans to do so. If a police officer pulls over a vehicle and sees an open container of alcohol on the floor, they would have probable cause to search the car.
Unfortunately, there are times when police officers make unlawful stops. Sometimes, an officer will pull over a vehicle because they have a feeling that something illegal is happening. This does not usually qualify as reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
One example of an unlawful stop might be pulling over a patron who has just left a bar. If the person is exhibiting DUI/DWI behaviors, like erratic or aggressive driving, there may be reason to stop that person. However, if they simply left the premises and were driving normally, there may be no reason to pull them over. There have been instances of police officers pulling over random drivers, which can violate drivers’ constitutional rights.
Can a Police Officer Search a Vehicle at a Traffic Stop?
Law enforcement officers who pull over drivers for traffic violations are not allowed to search the vehicles, except in certain situations. Officers will look for suspicious movements and anything out in the open, like alcohol, drugs, or weapons. If the officer feels that the driver or passenger is attempting to hide something, a search may be warranted.
If the officer insists that the driver and passengers exit the vehicle, they should do so. It is also permissible for the officer to do a fast pat-down of the outer clothing. If the officer detects weapon-like objects or contraband, they are allowed to remove it. If they perceive that the suspect is dangerous, a search of the passenger compartments may also be legal. As for a cellphone, this cannot be searched without a person’s consent or a warrant.
If a driver believes that they experienced an unlawful police stop, it is best to contact a lawyer. An experienced lawyer can help protect a driver’s rights.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Protect Drivers Accused of Crimes at Unlawful Police Stops
Unlawful police stops happen every day. If you are facing charges after an unlawful police stop, reach out to one of our trusted South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC. Complete our online form or call us at 856-287-7800 for a free consultation. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
Traffic between Memorial Day and Labor Day tends to increase and so does a surge in accusations of driving under the influence (DUI)during the summer.
Regardless of the time of year, getting arrested for DUI/DWI can be confusing, embarrassing, and scary. Yet, being charged with a DUI in New Jersey does not always have to lead to a conviction. Many parties accused of DUI have worked with knowledgeable attorneys to fight the arrest and avoid charges.
Why is it Important to Fight Against a Wrongful DUI?
Unlike surrounding states, New Jersey does not consider DUI a felony or misdemeanor. Nevertheless, a substantiated charge can carry severe penalties. A first DUI offense can lead up to $400 in fines, mandatory jail time up to a month, loss of license, and other actions. Accordingly, any subsequent arrests for DUI include much stricter penalties.
Even if an adult driver was drinking before getting behind the wheel, the driver still has the right to consult with an attorney and find out if the accusation can be fought.
What Defenses Against DUI Can Hold up in Court?
Every DUI arrest happens under unique, specific circumstances. Keeping that in mind, criminal defense lawyers will look into all aspects of their clients’ cases to seek out credible defenses. If the defenses present a strong enough argument in favor of the defendant, the DUI charge could be thrown out or substantially reduced.
A common defense against a DUI charge is that the law enforcement officer had no reason to stop the driver in the first place. This charge is often made when an officer randomly pulls over a driver who has been obeying speeding limits and rules of the road. An exception to this defense would be a stop at a roadblock or pre-arranged DUI checkpoint.
Another challenge that can work in favor of a person accused of DUI is an improperly or inaccurately administered field sobriety test or breathalyzer test. Many lawyers will scour through evidence regarding these types of tests. For instance, poorly calibrated breathalyzer test equipment can cause questions around the accuracy of a defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) finding.
Sometimes, people whose BAC level is tested more than an hour after a DUI arrest may point out that they were sober when they were pulled over. Alcohol does not always take effect immediately. If someone is arrested for DUI very close to his or her home and given a breathalyzer a long time afterwards, he or she may be able to show that he or she could have made it home within the legal BAC limit.
Are There Other Less Common Defenses for DUI in New Jersey?
In some unusual cases, attorneys have used rarer defenses that successfully helped clients accused of DUI. Some drivers may claim that they were forced to drive under duress, or that they needed to drive because they were the most sober of everyone else in the car. Other DUI defendants have been able to prove in court that they did not know they had drunk alcohol, as in the case of drugged or spiked beverages.
Can People Arrested for DUI Really Get the Charges Thrown Out?
Not every DUI case will end up with the charge thrown out. Nonetheless, it is worth pursuing the possibility when facing penalties. After all, many people have avoided DUI charges thanks to the help of skilled legal counsel.
Haddonfield DUI Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Develop Responses to Help Clients Charged with DUI
Did you get arrested for DUI in New Jersey? If so, call one of our Haddonfield DUI defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC today. A DUI charge can be complicated, so it is best to speak to a lawyer right away. Contact us online or call us at 856-287-7800 for a free consultation. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
A person can face severe consequences if he or she is found with drugs. When faced with a situation where police have found drugs that belong to someone else, it is important to remain calm, cooperate with the police, and request to speak to a lawyer immediately.
It is critical to refrain from negotiating with or speaking to the police without the presence of an attorney as anything that is said to the police may be presented unfavorably in a court of law. A criminal defense attorney should be consulted immediately to gather and evaluate facts to provide a strong defense.
What is the Law in New Jersey?
According to New Jersey law, possession is an act. If the possessor knowingly procured or received the thing possessed or was aware of and could control to terminate the item, it is considered possession. Per this law, a mere finding of drugs is not enough to support a finding of possession of drugs.
One is not automatically guilty when found with drugs or guilt-free if the drugs belong to someone else. In order to convict, the prosecutor has a burden to prove that the drugs were in the custody and control of the one accused of possession, and that the accused knew the drugs were there and had sufficient time and control to be able to discard them. Often, whether the accused knew and had enough time to get rid of the drugs depends greatly on the circumstances of the situation.
Most of the time, those who are caught with drugs claim that the drugs do not belong to them. Whether the claim holds true depends on whether they knew that the drugs were present and whether they had time and control over the substances. For example, police may find drugs on a person, in a car, or in a home. A prosecutor may have a strong case for possession if the drugs were found in the clothing of the accused or in the front of the car in the cup holder, versus if the drugs were found in the back seat with a passenger.
What is the Difference Between Actual and Constructive Possession?
One can be found to have actual and constructive possession of an illegal substance. As the name suggests, actual possession occurs when the person has physical control of the substance. Constructive possession occurs when the accused has the capacity to gain control and act within a given amount of time, there is no requirement for physical possession of the substance.
What are Legal Defenses That Can be Used?
Often, when defending one charged with possession, attorneys examine all the facts regarding how the drugs were found. Therefore, when consulting an attorney, prepare for the meeting by identifying to whom the drugs belonged. Assess whether there are any witnesses to this or whether there is any proof that the drugs belong to someone else.
Also, consider whether it can be proven that the vehicle or area where the drugs were found are not within one’s control. It is important to think about all relevant facts about whether one had knowledge, control, and sufficient time to discard the drugs.
Probable Cause and Exclusion of Evidence
Also, the prosecution has to prove that police had probable cause to conduct a search of the area where the drugs were found and even have a warrant to search. Additionally, they need to prove that the substance found was an illegal substance. Finally, the evidence gathered should not have violated a person’s Miranda rights or have been tainted by an illegal search.
Drug charges can affect one’s life severely, impacting one’s liberty, employability, freedom, and reputation. If one is accused of possession, it is beneficial to contact a lawyer right away.
Haddonfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Protect Those Falsely Accused of Drug Possession
If you have been accused of drug possession, speak to a lawyer right away. Our experienced Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC protect those falsely accused. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 856 287-7800. Our offices are located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
In December of 2019, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law the Senate Bill 4154, which provides a path for expungement for a range of offenses that were previously barred from such relief. This “clean slate” provision has been created to help those who might not have had an opportunity for expungement in the past or became entangled in the complex judicial rules of the state.
Who is Eligible for Expungement Under the Clean Slate Provision?
There are different levels of eligibility based on the new provision. The standard waiting period for expungement has been lowered from six years to five years. The number of offenses that can be expunged has risen from four to five. Previously, only the most recent conviction could be expunged, provided that it was eligible for expungement.
Anyone who has remained offense-free for 10 years will have all offenses removed from the record as part of the new law. However, the offenses must be eligible for the program. Offenses like robbery, murder, aggravated assault, and sexual assault cannot be expunged.
Additionally, a drug charge will be considered a disorderly persons offense. This offense can be expunged like any other, provided that the offender has gone 10 years without another offense. Someone with two or more unrelated convictions could not have his or her convictions expunged. Under the new law, expungements are allowed for eligible offenses, even if both offenses occurred at the same time.
An important feature to note is that anyone who has an ineligible offense on his or her record cannot file for expungement. Moreover, someone who is convicted of an ineligible offense after expungement will have those expungements nullified.
While Gov. Phil Murphy believes a long record of law abiding citizenship is a good indicator of rehabilitation, anyone who goes back to a life of crime will lose the benefits of this new law.
How are Eligible Expungements Claimed?
Expungements can be handled through an online system that was created with this new law. The law eliminates all expungement fees, and it only asks for compelling reasons to expunge certain offenses. Someone who is seeking an expungement no longer must prove that it is in the public interest for them to receive an expungement.
The system is also automated. New Jersey plans to create a system that will expunge all eligible offenses after 10 years without filing. This system is currently in development, and the law requires the state to budget for this program.
Currently, someone who wishes to file for an expungement under the law must submit his or her expungement application, pay a standard filing fee, and wait for the paperwork to be processed.
How Can a Lawyer Help During This Process?
Filing for an expungement can be complicated if the offender needs to provide compelling reasons to have his or her record expunged. The offender’s crimes may stretch back for some time or may fall near the line of ineligibility. While the law states that violent offenses cannot be expunged, a lawyer may need to review the case if the offender believes he or she was wrongfully convicted and has already served his or her sentence.
Haddonfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Assist Anyone Seeking Expungement Under the New Clean Slate Provision
Reach out to one of our Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC for help with an expungement today. A member of our legal team will review your case and help you file for an expungement for all eligible offenses. Call us today at 856-287-7800 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
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- What Should I Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
- Can Evidence Collected in an Illegal Search and Seizure be Used in Court?