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Kenneth Albert Vercammen

Kenneth Vercammen’s Answers

147 total


  • Someone was arrested for a hand gun in a vehicle registered to me . Will I also be charged

    Someone was arrested for a hand gun in a vehicle registered to me . Will I also be charged also

    Kenneth’s Answer

    In State v. Reeds 197 NJ 280 (2009) the NJ Supreme Court stated:
    “Plainly, such possession can be constructive, meaning that "`although [a defendant] lacks physical or manual control, the circumstances permit a reasonable inference that [the defendant] has knowledge of its presence, and intends and has the capacity to exercise physical control or dominion over it during a span of time.'" State v. Lewis, 185 N.J. 363, 371 (2005) (quoting State v. Spivey, 179 N.J. 229, 236-37 (2004) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted)).
    Mere presence in a car or house is not sufficient for constructive possession.

    "For this offense the state must prove three material elements. First, it must be proved that the item is a controlled dangerous substance. Second, it must be proved that defendant either obtained or possessed the substance. Third it must be proved that defendant acted knowingly or intentionally." 33 N.J. Practice §521 p.475.

    The state must prove that the defendant acted knowingly or intentionally. The state must prove that defendant knew the nature and character of the item, and it must prove that defendant's purpose in possessing the substance. 33 N.J. Practice §520 p.471 (1982).

    Possession is the intentional control of an item accompanied by an awareness of its character. Constructive possession is when the defendant is aware of the substance and has an intention to exercise control over the substance. State v. Brown, 67 N.J. Super. 450, 455, 171 A. 2d 15, 18 (App. Div. 1961).

    Joint possession is when people knowingly share control over the article. State v. Raja, 132 N.J. Super. 530, 536, 334 A. 2d 364, 367 (App. Div. 1975).

    It is an offense to knowingly or intentionally obtain or possess a controlled dangerous substance. N.J.S.A. 24:21-20a. "The state must prove knowledge or intent on the part of the defendant. Knowledge means that the defendant was aware of the existence of the object and was aware of its character. Intent means it was the defendant's purpose to obtain or possess the item while being aware of its character. State v. McMenamin, 133 N.J. Super. 521, 524, 337 A. 2d 630, 631 (App. Div. 1975); State v. Brown, 67 N.J. Super. 450, 455, 171 A. 2d 15, 18 (App. Div. 1961).

    Mere presence in a premises with other persons where controlled dangerous substances are found is not sufficient to justify an inference that a particular defendant was in sole or joint possession of the substance. State v. Sapp, 71 N.J. 476, 477, 366 A. 2d 334, 335 (1976), overruled on other grounds by State v. Brown, 80 N.J. 587, 404 A. 2d 1111 (1979).

    The state must prove that the defendant was aware of the character of the substance to prove that the defendant acted with knowledge. State v. Reed, 34 N.J. 554, 557, 170 A. 2d 419, 421 (1961); State v. Rajnai, 132 N.J. Super. 530, 536, 334 A. 2d 364, 367 (App. Div. 1975). More info at http://www.njlaws.com/constructive_possession.html

    See question 
  • Question. If my vehicle is parked, can an officer legally write me a ticket for window tint?

    What happened is I had a court matter today. I got done court and walked into the lobby, heading out the door to leave. Before leaving an officer who was working the metal detector for the day stopped me and asked me for my license and registratio...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    Pretextual stops for tinted windows valid
    Usually- Police could stop for tinted windows. State v. Cohen 347 NJ Super. 375 (App. Div. 2002) Defendant appealed the Law Division's affirmance of the municipal court's denial of a motion to suppress, which found that a stop of defendant's vehicle was justified based on the officer's reasonable belief that tinted windows constituted a violation of a motor vehicle statute. We affirmed, holding that N.J.S.A. 39:3-74 prohibits the use of tinted windows that fail to meet the applicable standard set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:20-33.7, Thereby overruling State v. Harrison, 236 N.J. Super. 69 (Law Div. 1989), and In re R.M. and J.M., 343 N.J. Super. 153 (Ch. Div. 2001). Further, an automobile stop is proper so long as it is based on a reasonable, articulable suspicion that a violation has occurred, and the officer's belief that the tinted windows represented a significant obstruction was sufficient to implicate the "community caretaking" function. Lastly, N.J.S.A. 39:3-15, which exempts non-resident owners of vehicles registered in other states from complying with New Jersey equipment requirements, does not preclude an officer from conducting an identification check of a noncompliance vehicle.
    39:3-74. Windshields must be unobstructed and equipped with cleaners
    Every motor vehicle having a windshield shall be equipped with at least one device in good working order for cleaning rain, snow or other moisture from the windshield so as to provide clear vision for the driver, and all such devices shall be so constructed and installed as to be operated or controlled by the driver.

    No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, sticker or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, wings, deflectors, side shields, corner lights adjoining windshield or front side windows of such vehicle other than a certificate or other article required to be so displayed by statute or by regulations of the commissioner.
    No person shall drive any vehicle so constructed, equipped or loaded as to unduly interfere with the driver's vision to the front and to the sides.

    See question 
  • If I apply for a Job in retail, will they see Shoplifting on my records or Larceny?

    I was caught shoplifting a few months ago. The charges were dropped to Larceny. This was my first time shoplifting and being arrested.

    Kenneth’s Answer

    ERASE/ EXPUNGEMENT OF ARRESTS AND CONVICTIONS of shoplifting and criminal charges

    by KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ.
    If someone has been arrested or even had a private criminal complaint signed against them in the Municipal Court, they have a criminal record, even if the charges were dismissed.
    Under NJSA 2C:52-1 et seq. past criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged/ erased under certain instances. We always recommend individuals hire an attorney to obtain an expungement. The process for all expungements are held in the Superior Court. It takes a minimum of three months for the court to grant the expungement. The requirements are very formal. There can be a waiting period between 6 months up to 10 years after the criminal cases is finished. More info at http://www.njlaws.com/expungement.html
    When retaining the attorney, obtain a "certified disposition" of the court's decision, from the Court itself. Court costs and Legal fees for expungement range from $1,500- $2,500.
    Thousands of citizens over the past 30 years have been arrested for criminal, disorderly, and municipal ordinance offenses. The courts and police must keep a record of all arrests and convictions, even if 30 years old. These "secrets of the past" could be open to anyone including credit agencies. Under one proposal, for a $15.00 fee, someone could ask the state police for a person's criminal record, even arrests with not guilty findings. Allowing access to a person's old criminal conviction or arrest record could open the door for discrimination or job loss against someone who now is a productive, respected, and law abiding citizen. Many employers often do a criminal background check on new and promoted employees.
    Fortunately, if you are a law abiding citizen, you can now have old arrests or most convictions erased from public records and police folders. Under NJSA 2C:52-1 et seq. past criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged/ erased under certain instances.
    Waiting periods
    If you were convicted or pleaded guilty to a disorderly person offense (misdemeanor type) more than 5 years ago, and have not been convicted of anything since, you can have your attorney petition to the Superior Court for an Expungement (Erase and removal) of your criminal record. The waiting period starts from the full payment of fines, completion of probation or other requirements, whichever finishes latest.
    If you plead guilty to a town ordinance (ex. - Seaside Heights Drinking in Public) you can petition for an Expungement after waiting two years. A Juvenile delinquent/guilty finding for a minor can also be expunged/erased under similar circumstances. In addition, minor drug arrests which resulted in first offender conditional discharge can be erased after 6 months has passed since termination of probation or conclusion of court proceedings.
    Most importantly, arrests on frivolous complaints which did not result in a conviction or if charges were dismissed, can be expunged, without waiting.
    The waiting period on an indictable charge [guilty plea in Superior Court] is 10 years. [There is a new hardship provision to apply for expungement 5 years after probation is up. Speak with an experienced attorney]

    See question 
  • Should I be worried? Hire another attorney? Something to be worried about? HELP

    So I was caught shoplifting over a month ago. I hired an attorney who I felt comfortable with when I first met him. He told me he was going to handle everything but if there was ever a time I needed a question, I can email or call him. My court da...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    2A:61C-1 Shoplifting civil demand, retail thefts, civil action; provided.

    In addition to criminal charges in a shoplifting case, the store can demand a civil penalty

    1. a. A person who commits the offense of shoplifting as defined in N.J.S.2C:20-11 or a person who commits the offense of theft as defined in Chapter 20 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes by stealing food or drink from an eating establishment shall be liable for any criminal penalties imposed by law and shall be liable to the merchant in a civil action in an amount equal to the following:

    (1) The value of the merchandise as damages, not to exceed $500, if the merchandise cannot be restored to the merchant in its original condition;

    (2) Additional damages, if any, arising from the incident, not to include any loss of time or wages incurred by the merchant in connection with the apprehension of the defendant; and

    (3) A civil penalty payable to the merchant in an amount of up to $150.

    b. A parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of a minor who commits the offense of shoplifting or the offense of theft of food or drink from an eating establishment shall be liable to the merchant for the damages specified in subsection a. of this section. This subsection shall not apply to a parent whose parental custody and control of such minor has been removed by court order, decree, judgment, military service, or marriage of such infant, or to a resource family parent of such minor.

    c. If a merchant institutes a civil action pursuant to the provisions of this section, the prevailing party in that action shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys fees and reasonable court costs.

    d. Limitations on civil action:

    (1) Before a civil action may be commenced, the merchant shall send a notice to the defendant’s last known address giving the defendant 20 days to respond. It is not a condition precedent to maintaining an action under this act that the defendant has been convicted of shoplifting or theft.

    (2) No civil action under this act may be maintained if the defendant has paid the merchant a penalty equal to the retail value of the merchandise where the merchandise was not recovered in its original condition, plus a sum of up to $150.

    (3) The provisions of this act do not apply in any case where the value of the merchandise exceeds $500.

    e. If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with such demand within 20 days following the receipt of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability with respect to the specific act of shoplifting or theft.

    See question 
  • Can this case get waived?

    I got charged with aggravated assault (2nd degree) and unlawful possession of a weapon. Being accused of stabbing someone. The person got airlifted to a trauma center & had to get lung surgery. Now the judge is saying the case can get waived to ad...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    5:22-2. Referral Without Juvenile's Consent to adult court
    (a) Motion for Referral. A motion seeking waiver of jurisdiction by the Family Part shall be filed by the prosecutor within 30 days after the receipt of the complaint, which time shall not be extended except for good cause shown.
    (b) Probable Cause; Evidence. At the referral hearing, the court shall receive the evidence offered by the State and by the juvenile, limited to the issue of probable cause. The court also shall permit cross-examination of any witnesses.
    (c) Standards for Referral. The court shall waive jurisdiction of a juvenile delinquency action without the juvenile's consent and shall refer the action to the appropriate court and prosecuting authority having jurisdiction under the following circumstances:
    (1) Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 14 or Older and Charged with a Chart 2 Offense. The juvenile must have been 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged delinquent act and there must be probable cause to believe that he or she committed a delinquent act which if committed by an adult would constitute:
    (A) a crime committed at a time when the juvenile had previously been adjudicated delinquent, or convicted of:
    1. criminal homicide, other than death by auto; or
    2. strict liability for drug-induced deaths (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9); or
    3. first degree robbery; or
    4. carjacking; or
    5. aggravated sexual assault; or
    6. sexual assault; or
    7. second degree aggravated assault; or
    8. kidnapping; or
    9. aggravated arson; or
    (B) a crime committed at a time when the juvenile had previously been sentenced to and confined in an adult penal institution; or
    (C) an offense against a person committed in an aggressive, violent, and willful manner, other than a Chart 1 offense enumerated in N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26a(2)(a); or the unlawful possession of a firearm, destructive device or other prohibited weapon; or arson; or death by auto if the juvenile was operating the vehicle under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug; or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes; or
    (D) a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3 (Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4 (Maintaining and Operating a CDS Production Facility), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 (Manufacturing, Distributing or Dispensing Narcotics), or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes, other than where the violation, attempt or conspiracy involves the distribution for pecuniary gain of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while on any school property or within 1000 feet of such school property; or
    (E) a crime or crimes that are part of a continuing criminal activity in concert with two or more persons, when the circumstances show that the juvenile has knowingly devoted himself or herself to criminal activity as a source of livelihood; or
    (F) theft of an automobile.
On a finding of probable cause for any of the offenses enumerated above, the burden is on the prosecution to show that the nature and circumstances of the charge or the juvenile's prior record are sufficiently serious that the interests of the public require waiver. Waiver shall not be granted, however, if the juvenile can show that the probability of his or her rehabilitation prior to reaching the age of 19 by use of the procedures, services, and facilities available to the court substantially outweighs the reasons for waiver.
    (2) Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 14 or 15 and Charged with a Chart 1 Offense or with Certain Drug Offenses Committed Within a School Zone. The juvenile must have been 14 or 15 years old at the time of the alleged delinquent act and there must be probable cause to believe that he or she committed a delinquent act that if committed by an adult would constitute
    (A) criminal homicide, other than death by auto; or strict liability for drug-induced deaths; or first degree robbery......

    See question 
  • Self Defense With A Knife?

    I live in NJ and the laws here are a big grey area when it comes to knives. If someone was to try to kidnap me, can I use my knife to defend myself? If the person ends up being killed or seriously injured, would I be in trouble? I know that NJ has...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    Self Defense

    The United States Constitution and our State laws permit us to protect ourselves. As a homeowner, there are legal measures that can be used to keep out intruders. The Second Amendment to the US Constitution provides that we have the right to bear arms. Obviously, civilized society is permitted to have certain restrictions on gun and weapon use.

    The basic question many people have is if they defend themselves and the attacker claims they are hurt, can you be liable. There are two vastly different grounds for liability: criminal liability and civil liability.

    Self-Defense and Avoiding Criminal Responsibility

    A person may use force against another person if he reasonably believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person. Such justifiable use of force is commonly call "self-defense." The provisions for self-defense to protect citizens from criminal charges is found in the criminal code at NJSA 2C-3-4(a), which states in part:

    "... The use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor reasonably believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion."

    In other words, self defense is the right of a person to defend against any unlawful force. Self defense is also the right of a person to defend against seriously threatened unlawful force that is actually pending or reasonably anticipated.

    When a person is in imminent danger of bodily harm, the person has the right to use force or even deadly force when that force is necessary to prevent the use against (him/her) of unlawful force. The force used by the defender must not be significantly greater that and must be proportionate to the unlawful force threatened or used against the defender.

    Unlawful force is defined as force used against a person without the persons consent in such a way that the action would be a civil wrong or a criminal offense.

    If the force used by the defender was not immediately necessary for the defenders protection or if the force used by the defender was disproportionate in its intensity, then the use of such force by the defendant was not justified and the self defense claim in a criminal prosecution falls.

    Deadly Force and Criminal Prosecution

    The use of deadly force may be justified only to defend against force or the threat of force of nearly equally severity and is not justifiable unless the defendant reasonably believes that such force is necessary to protect (himself/herself) against death or serious bodily harm. By serious bodily harm, we mean an injury that creates substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement or which causes a protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

    One cannot respond with deadly force to a threat of or even an actual minor attack. For example, a slap or an imminent threat of being pushed in a crowd would not ordinarily justify the use of deadly force to defend against such unlawful conduct.

    In addition, one can under limited instances use force in the protection of others (NJSA 2C:35-5). Limited force under certain instances is also afforded in the criminal code for the defense of personal property (NJSA 2C:3-6C).

    See question 
  • Expungement of criminal record

    we sued Cumberland farms and won for coerced statements by loss prevention personnel Should it have been expunged after lawsuit was finalized I took PTI at the time.

    Kenneth’s Answer

    ERASE/ EXPUNGEMENT OF ARRESTS AND CONVICTIONS TO AVOID EMBARRASSMENT AND DISCLOSURE
    BY KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ.
    If someone has been arrested or even had a private criminal complaint signed against them in the Municipal Court, they have a criminal record, even if the charges were dismissed.
    Under NJSA 2C:52-1 et seq. past criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged/ erased under certain instances. We always recommend individuals hire an attorney to obtain an expungement. The process for all expungements are held in the Superior Court. It takes a minimum of three months for the court to grant the expungement. The requirements are very formal. There can be a waiting period between 6 months up to 10 years after the criminal cases is finished. More info at http://www.njlaws.com/expungement.html
    When retaining the attorney, obtain a "certified disposition" of the court's decision, from the Court itself. Court costs and Legal fees for expungement range from $1,500- $2,500.
    Thousands of citizens over the past 30 years have been arrested for criminal, disorderly, and municipal ordinance offenses. The courts and police must keep a record of all arrests and convictions, even if 30 years old. These "secrets of the past" could be open to anyone including credit agencies. Under one proposal, for a $15.00 fee, someone could ask the state police for a person's criminal record, even arrests with not guilty findings. Allowing access to a person's old criminal conviction or arrest record could open the door for discrimination or job loss against someone who now is a productive, respected, and law abiding citizen. Many employers often do a criminal background check on new and promoted employees.
    Fortunately, if you are a law abiding citizen, you can now have old arrests or most convictions erased from public records and police folders. Under NJSA 2C:52-1 et seq. past criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged/ erased under certain instances.
    Waiting periods
    If you were convicted or pleaded guilty to a disorderly person offense (misdemeanor type) more than 5 years ago, and have not been convicted of anything since, you can have your attorney petition to the Superior Court for an Expungement (Erase and removal) of your criminal record. The waiting period starts from the full payment of fines, completion of probation or other requirements, whichever finishes latest.
    If you plead guilty to a town ordinance (ex. - Seaside Heights Drinking in Public) you can petition for an Expungement after waiting two years. A Juvenile delinquent/guilty finding for a minor can also be expunged/erased under similar circumstances. In addition, minor drug arrests which resulted in first offender conditional discharge can be erased after 6 months has passed since termination of probation or conclusion of court proceedings.
    Most importantly, arrests on frivolous complaints which did not result in a conviction or if charges were dismissed, can be expunged, without waiting.
    The waiting period on an indictable charge [guilty plea in Superior Court] is 10 years. [There is a new hardship provision to apply for expungement 5 years after probation is up. Speak with an experienced attorney]

    See question 
  • Best way to handle cell phone while driving violation - 1st offense - Paterson, NJ

    I was issued a cell phone while driving summons by a NJ State Trooper. This is my first offense - clean driving record otherwise. I had picked up the phone to look at GPS - I realize not an excuse. What is the best way to handle in Paterson? Ho...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    3rd Cell phone use includes possible 90 day loss of license

    Starting back on July 1, 2014, the fines for talking or texting on a hand-held wireless communications device were increased.

    39:4-97.3 d. A person who violates this section shall be fined as follows:

    (1) for a first offense, not less than $200 or more than $400 plus court costs and possible court appearance;

    (2) for a second offense, not less than $400 or more than $600 plus court costs; and

    (3) for a third or subsequent offense, not less than $600 or more than $800 plus court costs .

    For a third or subsequent violation, the court, in its discretion, may order the person to forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of 90 days. In addition, a person convicted of a third or subsequent violation shall be assessed three motor vehicle penalty points pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1982, c.43 (C.39:5-30.5).

    A person who has been convicted of a previous violation of this section need not be charged as a second or subsequent offender in the complaint made against him in order to render him liable to the punishment imposed by this section on a second or subsequent offender, but if the second offense occurs more than 10 years after the first offense, the court shall treat the second conviction as a first offense for sentencing purposes and if a third offense occurs more than 10 years after the second offense, the court shall treat the third conviction as a second offense for sentencing purposes.
    A person can hire an attorney to negotiate no loss of license on a 3rd offense. It is not cost effective to hire an attorney on the first or 2nd offense.

    The full statute is below
    39:4-97.3 Use of wireless telephone, electronic communication device in moving vehicles; definitions; enforcement.

    1. a. The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free, provided that its placement does not interfere with the operation of federally required safety equipment and the operator exercises a high degree of caution in the operation of the motor vehicle. For the purposes of this section, an "electronic communication device" shall not include an amateur radio.

    Nothing in P.L.2003, c.310 (C.39:4-97.3 et seq.) shall apply to the use of a citizen's band radio or two-way radio by an operator of a moving commercial motor vehicle or authorized emergency vehicle on a public road or highway.

    b. The operator of a motor vehicle may use a hand-held wireless telephone while driving with one hand on the steering wheel only if:

    (1) The operator has reason to fear for his life or safety, or believes that a criminal act may be perpetrated against himself or another person; or

    (2) The operator is using the telephone to report to appropriate authorities a fire, a traffic accident, a serious road hazard or medical or hazardous materials emergency, or to report the operator of another motor vehicle who is driving in a reckless, careless or otherwise unsafe manner or who appears to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A hand-held wireless telephone user's telephone records or the testimony or written statements from appropriate authorities receiving such calls shall be deemed sufficient evidence of the existence of all lawful calls made under this paragraph.

    As used in this act:

    "Citizen's band radio" means a mobile communication device designed to allow for the transmission and receipt of radio communications on frequencies allocated for citizen's band radio service use.

    "Hands-free wireless telephone" means a mobile telephone that has an internal feature or function,

    See question 
  • Can a cop still file dui charges

    The cop let me leave after he parked my car and didn't give me a ticket or anything. He also didn't make me take a breathalyzer or administer a sobriety test but he did take my insurance and registration and did not give it back

    Kenneth’s Answer

    STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS- criminal & traffic cases NJ

    Disorderly person criminal offenses- 1 year. This means the Complaint must be signed within one year of the offense. It does not been the Complaint must be served on the defendant, or that the trial must be held within 1 year.

    Indictable Criminal Penalties [Felony type] 7 year Statute of limitations
    Jail Fine Probation
    1st degree 10- 20 years $200,000 [presumption of jail]
    2nd degree 5-10 years $150,000 [presumption of jail]
    3rd degree 3- 5 years $15,000 1 year- 5 year
    4th degree 0- 18 months $10,000 1 year- 5 year

    There are many other penalties that the court must impose in criminal cases. There are dozens of other penalties a court can impose, depending on the type of matter. For certain offenses such as murder or sexual assault, the statute of limitations is extended.

    If you or a family member are charged with a criminal offense, you should retain an experienced criminal attorney to argue to reduce the penalties!

    MOTOR VEHICLE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
    39: 5- 3 30 days Statute of Limitations except as posted below
    39: 3- 12 Illegal obtaining DL- 1 year Statute of limitations
    39: 3- 34 App. for DL while SUS- 1 year Statute of Limitations
    39: 3- 37 False App.- 1 year Statute of limitations
    39: 4- 129 Leaving the scene of accident- 1 year Statute of Limitations
    39: 10- 24 Misrepresentation on title- 1 year
    39: 3- 40 Driving while suspended DWS- 90 days S of L
    39:4-50 DWI 90 days
    39: 6B- 2 No insurance- 6 months S of L
    39: 5: 31 DMV Director of Magistrate can revoke license for willful violations even if statute of limitations has passed
    Research by: KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
    ATTORNEY AT LAW
    2053 Woodbridge Ave.
    Edison, NJ 08817
    (Phone) 732-572-0500
    More information on Fines, jail and penalties on website: www.njlaws.com

    See question 
  • What Shows on my record after I complete the PTI program for NJ? I was arrested for shoplifting and the theft amounted to $100

    This is also my first time commiting a crime.

    Kenneth’s Answer

    ERASE/ EXPUNGEMENT OF ARRESTS AND CONVICTIONS TO AVOID EMBARRASSMENT AND DISCLOSURE

    BY KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ.
    If someone has been arrested or even had a private criminal complaint signed against them in the Municipal Court, they have a criminal record, even if the charges were dismissed.
    Under NJSA 2C:52-1 et seq. past criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged/ erased under certain instances. We always recommend individuals hire an attorney to obtain an expungement. The process for all expungements are held in the Superior Court. It takes a minimum of three months for the court to grant the expungement. The requirements are very formal. There can be a waiting period between 6 months up to 10 years after the criminal cases is finished. More info at http://www.njlaws.com/expungement.html
    When retaining the attorney, obtain a "certified disposition" of the court's decision, from the Court itself. Court costs and Legal fees for expungement range from $1,500- $2,500.
    Thousands of citizens over the past 30 years have been arrested for criminal, disorderly, and municipal ordinance offenses. The courts and police must keep a record of all arrests and convictions, even if 30 years old. These "secrets of the past" could be open to anyone including credit agencies. Under one proposal, for a $15.00 fee, someone could ask the state police for a person's criminal record, even arrests with not guilty findings. Allowing access to a person's old criminal conviction or arrest record could open the door for discrimination or job loss against someone who now is a productive, respected, and law abiding citizen. Many employers often do a criminal background check on new and promoted employees.
    Fortunately, if you are a law abiding citizen, you can now have old arrests or most convictions erased from public records and police folders. Under NJSA 2C:52-1 et seq. past criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged/ erased under certain instances.
    Waiting periods
    If you were convicted or pleaded guilty to a disorderly person offense (misdemeanor type) more than 5 years ago, and have not been convicted of anything since, you can have your attorney petition to the Superior Court for an Expungement (Erase and removal) of your criminal record. The waiting period starts from the full payment of fines, completion of probation or other requirements, whichever finishes latest.
    If you plead guilty to a town ordinance (ex. - Seaside Heights Drinking in Public) you can petition for an Expungement after waiting two years. A Juvenile delinquent/guilty finding for a minor can also be expunged/erased under similar circumstances. In addition, minor drug arrests which resulted in first offender conditional discharge can be erased after 6 months has passed since termination of probation or conclusion of court proceedings.
    Most importantly, arrests on frivolous complaints which did not result in a conviction or if charges were dismissed, can be expunged, without waiting.
    The waiting period on an indictable charge [guilty plea in Superior Court] is 10 years. [There is a new hardship provision to apply for expungement 5 years after probation is up. Speak with an experienced attorney]

    See question