Skip to main content

Violent crime

Violent crime refers to any crime where the victim was harmed or threatened with harm. Homicide, rape, robbery, and assault are the main types of violent crime.

Alan Peyrouton | Sep 30, 2019

Dismissing Criminal Charges: Top 7 Ways To End The Nightmare

What Are Your Options If You Can't Get Your Criminal Charges Dismissed? You have two options if you can’t get your criminal charges dismissed. Option 1: Plead Guilty Option 2: Go to trial In every criminal case, you will be offered a plea deal OR you can you’re your criminal case to trial. If you accept a plea deal, you will have to admit to committing a crime. If you go to trial, you will incur tremendous expense & your fate is up to a jury. The Basics of Getting Your Criminal Charges Dismissed Of course, you know that you are innocent until proven guilty. But the criminal justice process is long & you may have many sleepless nights until your case is over. First, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of the criminal charges against you. Are you facing Felony or Misdemeanor charges? What are the penalties & consequences of your charge? Will you have immigration consequences? Or is your career in jeopardy? Next, find the criminal defense attorney that is right for you. During your meeting, your criminal lawyer should patiently listen to your side of the story. Next, he will explain your charges and provide an understanding of the long road ahead. Dropped Charges versus Dismissed Charges Before we get to the good stuff, let’s answer this question: “What’s the difference between getting criminal charges dismissed and getting them dropped?” Dropped charges and dismissed charges get you the same result. “Dropped charges” means the prosecution stopped pursuing the charges. In other words, you never have to go to court. For example, this happens when a detective discovers that a key witness lied about what they saw. Or when DNA evidence reveals that it is impossible for you to have committed the crime. “To get your criminal charges dismissed" means your lawyer identified a Constitutional violation. For example, the police conducted an illegal search. Moving on. Let's discuss the top 7 ways you can use to get your criminal charges dismissed. 7 Ways To Dismiss Criminal Charges 1. Lack of probable cause for the arrest 2. Mistakes in the criminal complaint or charging documents 3. Illegal stop and search 4. Insufficient evidence 5. Grand Jury Dismissals 6. Procedural Issues 7. Lack of resources Dismissing criminal charges: Method 1 - No Probable Cause To Arrest In New Jersey & across the country, police need something called “probable cause” to arrest you. This is a basic fundamental right that protects citizens against tyranny. In other words, a cop can’t arrest you because he has a “hunch” that you’re up to no good. He has to provide an acceptable explanation for his arrest. The officer’s reasonable belief must include objective, factual evidence, and circumstances. For instance, if a police officer gets a tip that a drug dealer is wearing a pink bowtie, the officer may have probable cause to stop an individual matching that description. But if the officer sees you and you are not wearing a pink bowtie, then he cannot simply arrest you. You don’t fit the description. We file a motion with the court showing the lack of probable cause. If the court agrees with us, then your criminal charges get dismissed. Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 2 - Challenging The Complaint Police officers must sign criminal complaints under oath. If the criminal complaint against you contains serious mistakes, then we file a motion to dismiss. For example, let's say that you are 5 ft. 9 inches tall, weigh 150 lbs., and have blonde hair. And the officer's complaint states that you are 6 ft. 6 inches tall, weigh 300 lbs., and have purple hair. Well, you get the picture. Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 3 - Illegal Searches The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from illegal stops, searches, and seizures. This is the law of the land. Law enforcement can only stop you under certain circumstances. As previously discussed, police need “probable cause” or a “reasonable belief” that you may have committed a crime. Also, the police can only search your person, your car, or your home if they have a search warrant. But there are exceptions to the warrant requirement. For example, after your arrest, the police can search your pockets. This is done if the officer has a reasonable belief that you are carrying a weapon. If police conduct a search without a warrant or special circumstances, then the evidence gets suppressed. As a result, your criminal charges get dismissed. Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 4 - Because The Grand Jury Said So After your arrest, the prosecution must present the case to a grand jury. The grand jury adds another layer of Constitutional protection. They listen to witnesses & look at the evidence. If they determine that there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause, then your case goes forward. But, if the grand jury doesn’t find probable cause, then your criminal charges get dismissed. Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 5 - Insufficient Evidence Remember, your arrest is the starting point of your criminal case. Felony cases take months and sometimes years. A lot happens while your case is pending. The prosecution may drop your criminal charges after discovering new evidence through their investigation. One reason may simply be a lack of evidence. The other reason may be that the evidence against you is weak. Another possibility is that newly discovered evidence exonerates you. This means that the evidence shows that it was not you who committed the crime. It’s important to emphasize the role of your criminal lawyer here. You see, while the prosecution is doing their investigation, your attorney is doing his. Aggressive & dedicated defense attorneys work tirelessly to protect you. They work hard to find the evidence that shows you are innocent of the crime charged. This evidence is then provided to the prosecutor. As a result, your criminal charges get dismissed. Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 6 - Procedural Issues Police and prosecutors must follow strict legal criminal procedures. Throughout your arrest, booking, and interrogation, they must follow the law. If the police violate your Constitutional rights, then these violations result in getting your criminal charges dismissed. A common example is a Miranda violation. If you gave an incriminating statement without receiving a proper Miranda warning, then your statement gets suppressed. This alone won't guarantee that your criminal charges get dismissed. But it always helps to get rid of incriminating statements. Procedural issues are tricky. So, make sure to get a good lawyer! Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 7 Let’s face it; prosecutors are busy people. They have tons of cases. As a result, they are often forced to focus on their most serious cases. Your criminal charges may get dismissed or dropped just because the prosecutor has bigger fish to fry. The truth is that getting serious criminal charges dismissed is not common. You are more likely to get a dismissal if you're accused of a minor crime and you have no previous criminal record. BONUS: If You Can't Get Your Charges Dismissed, Try To Get Them Reduced You may wonder about the possibility of reducing a charge. If the evidence against you is weak, then your lawyer can fight for a reduced charge. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved. The case is resolved and your nightmare is over. A felony charge can be downgraded to a misdemeanor charge. If this happens, jail is no longer an option. You may pay a fine and get a blemish on your record. But you will be relieved that the case is over. Of course, our priority is to get your criminal charges dismissed but a reduced charge can also be a homerun! In exchange for a guilty plea to a reduced charge, a prosecutor may offer a "plea bargain agreement." This occurs when a prosecutor agrees to dismiss the original criminal charge. You will have to agree to plead guilty to a less severe charge instead. Conclusion: It Is Absolutely Possible To Get Your Criminal Charges Dismissed We outlined 7 ways that you can fight to get your criminal charges dismissed. Each case is different and the method you choose will be determined by the facts of your case. Remember, it's very important to choose the criminal lawyer that is right for you. There are many legal challenges involved in dismissing criminal charges. In many ways, you only get once chance to dismiss your case. Make sure that you don't waste it. We offer Free Consultations and are here to help you.

Belen Olmedo Guerra | Sep 9, 2019

Arizona Violent Crime Defense

Which Crimes are Violent Crimes in Arizona? Violent crimes encompass a range of activity, including: -Kidnapping -Robbery and armed robbery -Assault and aggravated assault -Weapons offenses -Murder -Manslaughter -Arson This is not a comprehensive list, but these are certainly the most common violent crimes tried in Arizona courts. Due to the nature of these crimes, they are always thoroughly and aggressively investigated by law enforcement. Arizona state law includes a subset of violent crimes known as “dangerous” offenses. The law defines a dangerous offense as an offense that involves the use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or other dangerous instruments, or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury on another person. Though the definition of a deadly weapon is relatively clear, the definition of a “dangerous instrument” is less so. Arizona state law defines a dangerous instrument based entirely on its use. If in a certain instance, someone uses a broom handle to assault someone else, a broom could be classified as a dangerous instrument under Arizona law. In turn, this means that assault charge just got upgraded into the dangerous offense category. Very few instances of violent crimes do not fall under this category of being “dangerous”. If convicted of a dangerous offense, a judge has no choice but to impose a prison sentence. What are the Penalties for Violent Crimes in Arizona? Nearly all violent crimes in Arizona have mandatory sentences attached to them. This means that the judge has very little leeway to determine a sentence they find appropriate. Instead, the state requires the judge to impose a sentence that falls within a certain range pre-determined by the law. This happens regardless of the individual facts of the case. The potential penalties for violent crimes in Arizona usually include prison sentences as well as steep fines. Convictions of these crimes could also make a defendant ineligible for parole. Violent crimes can range from misdemeanors to felonies. And penalties run the gamut from one month in jail and a fine of $500 for a class 3 misdemeanor to a prison sentence of 7 to 21 years for a class 2 felony. Defendants charged with a felony could also face fines of up to $150,000. The severity of a defendant’s violent crimes charges depends on certain aspects of their particular case, such as: The danger involved in the offense Criminal history of the alleged offender Age of the offender. Whether or not the offense involved a child under the age of 18 Was the offense unprovoked or did someone provoke the alleged offender The presence or absence of these aspects can elevate misdemeanors to felonies or lower-level felonies to higher-level felonies. There is obviously a massive range from one end of this spectrum to the other. Therefore, only an experienced violent crime attorney can advise you what the penalties might be for your case. Violent Crime Defense in Arizona There are plenty of possible defenses for violent crimes in Arizona allowed by Chapter 4 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Not all of these defenses are applicable in every situation. But an Arizona violent crime attorney can help you identify your best legal strategy. The following possible defenses are available to those accused of violent crimes in Arizona: -Self-defense. If an individual believes physical force is necessary to protect themselves, they may be entitled to use self-defense to beat violent crime charges. -Defense of property or premises. An individual may use the defense of property or premises if they reasonably believe physical force was necessary to prevent theft of their property or criminal trespass onto their premises. -Defense of a third person. If an individual has sufficient reason to believe that physical force is necessary to defend a third party from harm, they may use the defense of a third person. -Duress. If an individual was forced to engage in violent crime by threat or immediate use of physical force that could result in serious physical injury, they could use this defense. -Lack of mental state. An individual can use a lack of mental state as a defense if they did not have the required mental state, or if they did not act knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally. Violent Crime Defense of Mental States Alleged violent crime offenders are required to have a certain mental state, or to have acted knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly. The state requires the prosecuting attorney to prove guilt. Because of the difficulty in proving a particular mental state, or lack there of, many violent crime attorneys base their argument on this premise. The law bundles the most common violent mental capacities into three categories: -Knowingly: having acted with the awareness that their actions were criminal or assault-like in nature. Intentionally: having acted with the objective of engaging in criminal conduct -Recklessly: having acted with active disregard to a substantial and unjustifiable risk that their conduct might be considered criminal or assault-like. Therefore, if a prosecutor cannot prove one or more than one of these mental states, it’s possible that your charges could be reduced. Belen is an experienced violent crime attorney who will handle your case with a thorough investigation and craft a precise and optimal defense. She examines each piece of evidence the prosecution intends to use against you and countering it. A violent crimes charge can carry very serious consequences and should not to be taken lightly. Belen Olmedo Guerra will drive your case forward to the most optimal result for you. Contact the Belén Law Firm today to discuss your violent crime defense strategy to beat your charges. We offer free case evaluations and are available 24/7. You can reach us at 602-715-0908.

Kenneth Albert Vercammen | Jun 14, 2019

E559 1. Strip search permitted for indictable cases. State v Brown

1. Strip search permitted for indictable cases. State v Brown __ NJ Super. _ (App. Div. 2018) The panel affirms the trial court's order denying defendant's motion to suppress five bricks of heroin seized from defendant's groin area pursuant to a strip search following defendant's arrest for indictable drug offenses. The panel addressed the strip search statute, N.J.S.A. 2A: 161A-1 to -10, which affords certain protections to persons who are arrested or detained for non-indictable offenses, and whether the Attorney General Guidelines for strip searches extend those protections to persons arrested or detained for crimes. The panel concludes that neither the legislative history nor the plain terms of the statute authorized the Attorney General to promulgate Guidelines to extend the statute's protections to persons detained or arrested for crimes. The panel further concludes that the strip search was justified here by probable cause and reasonable exigent circumstances, thereby satisfying the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and Article I, Paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution. (17-06-1207) 2 OK for Rutgers University police officer to stop and arrest a defendant for DWI State v. Goines N. The state appealed the ruling of a municipal court judge that determined a Rutgers University Police Officer lacked jurisdiction to stop and arrest defendant for DUI. The officer allegedly observed defendant illegally cross a double-yellow line, after which she activated her lights and pulled over defendant in the city of New Brunswick. Defendant was transported to the police station for an Alcotest, which revealed a BAC of 0.14%. Before the municipal court, defendant moved to dismiss the DUI summons for lack of jurisdiction. Defendant cited a memorandum of understanding between Rutgers and New Brunswick that permitted Rutgers police officers to enforce motor vehicle laws on certain streets; because defendant's arrest did not occur on one of those streets, the municipal court judge granted defendant's motion. On appeal, the court reversed the ruling of the municipal court. The court noted that, in isolation, Title 18A appeared to preclude university police officers from enforcing traffic laws off-campus except at the request of municipal authorities. However, the court found that the Motor Vehicle Code also permitted "any law enforcement officer" to arrest someone for DUI. The court noted that this provision had been interpreted to permit municipal police officers to arrest drivers for DUI outside of those officers' territorial jurisdiction. The court interpreted the legislature's use of the term "any law enforcement officer" to mean that the legislature intended to expand the number of officials with authority to arrest drunk drivers. The court therefore held that it was consistent with the statute to give university police jurisdiction to enforce DUI laws. The court read this statute with Title 18A as preventing university police officers from being overtaxed, while not preventing those officers from stopping crimes occurring right before their eyes. Source: https://www.law.com/njlawjournal/almID/1541469624NJMA372016/ 3. NJ MVC was required here to have hearing to suspend for Maryland DWI Held v. New Jersey Motor Veh Plaintiff appealed defendant commission's final decision suspending plaintiff driver's license for 10 years, after plaintiff had pled guilty to DUI in Maryland. At the time of his Maryland conviction, plaintiff had three previous DUI convictions in New Jersey. Plaintiff opposed the suspension of his license, arguing that the length was excessive and challenging the equivalency of his Maryland conviction under New Jersey law. However, without holding an evidentiary hearing the MVC concluded that the Maryland statue for which plaintiff was convicted was substantially similar to the New Jersey statute for purposes of license suspension pursuant to the Interstate Driver License Compact. On appeal, plaintiff argued that his Maryland conviction was not substantially similar to a conviction under New Jersey law because the Maryland statute allowed for conviction with a lower level of impairment than required for conviction in New Jersey. The court agreed with plaintiff that he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing to establish the equivalency of his Maryland conviction. The court noted that while New Jersey permitted DUI conviction per se, based on a blood test, or by officer observation, Maryland permitted conviction "while under the influence of alcohol", "under the influence of alcohol per se", and "while impaired by alcohol". The court further noted that Maryland defined "impaired by alcohol" as a state less than intoxication where alcohol nonetheless affected one's coordination. Accordingly, the court concluded that further hearing was necessary to determine whether the "while impaired by alcohol" provision of the Maryland DUI statute was substantially similar to the observational provision of the New Jersey DUI statute. 4. April Free community events: April 15th Clara Barton Branch Library at 6:30 PM Monday Free 141 Hoover Avenue Edison, NJ 08837 April 20 Happy 420 day. May 2 ABA Estate Planning, Probate and Trust and Elder Law Joint Committee Meeting 10:00 am - 11:00 am at the Marriott Marquis, NYC at the 2019 ABA Section of Litigation & GPSolo CLE Conference in New York, NYC Thursday 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036 Round table discussion Free to all attendees. Ideas to be discussed: - BUILDING THE MILLION DOLLAR ESTATE PLANNING PRACTICE A Lawyer's Guide to Creating a Winning Estate Planning Practice Ethically Building Your Practice using free and low-cost online methods 1. Website specific http://www.njwillsprobatelaw.com 2. Blog https://njprobate.blogspot.com 3. Facebook Law Office 4. LinkedIn- post articles, events 5. YouTube 6. Yelp for Business Owners 7. Avvo Legal rating 8. JD Supra 9. Justia Lawyer Directory: Plus May 2, 2019 7:00 AM - 7:40 AM Thursday Jog with Ken Vercammen & See Hudson River and Aircraft Carrier Intrepid 10am GPSolo Estate Planning, Probate and Trust and Elder Law Joint Committee Meeting 5. Charity Running Races Sat April 13, 2019 Colonia 5k Start St. John Vianney Church Wakefern /Shoprite co sponsor 4/27/19 Lake Como 5k Sat 10am Start Bar A Benefit BPOE Elks Camp Moore for Children with Special Needs & Lake Como Giving Tree 4/28/19 Tour de Franklin,Franklin Food Bank 62 mile & 40-mile bike 62 Mile Metric Century or 40 Mile now Starts at Franklin High School http://www.franklinfoodbank.org/events 5/4/19 Farmlands bike This family-friendly event has marked routes in a variety of distances, from a leisurely 15,25,35 mile jaunt to the ambitious 50 mile, metric (62.5 miles) and century (100 miles) Central Jersey Bike Club Middletown http://www.cjbc.org 5/5/19 Highland Park 5k Run in the Park 9am Sunday RVRR is volunteer group. Additional resources provided by the author Please help us with a review on Google: https://www.google.com/#q=Kenneth+Vercammen&lrd=0x89c3c87ea72dbd57:0xdbd3622846daeec9,1 - Recommend us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kenneth-Vercammen-Associates-PC-Law-Office-Edison-NJ-08817-149816077985/ -Endorsing us on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kennethvercammen -Help by writing a Review on AVVO: https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/08817-nj-kenneth-vercammen-571594.html -Help us with a review on Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/kenneth-vercammen-and-assoc-attorney-at-law-edison Editorial Assistance provided by Anthony Rizzo. Mr. Rizzo is currently a senior at Rutgers University and is participating in Kenneth Vercammen's Spring Internship Program. Like Us On: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kenneth-Vercammen-Associates-PC-Law-Office-Edison-NJ-08817/149816077985 KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC ATTORNEY AT LAW 2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817 (Phone) 732-572-0500 (Fax) 732-572-0030 website: www.njlaws.com

Donald A Pumphrey Jr. | May 21, 2019

Can Social Media be Used in Court?

The Negative Impact of Social Media In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, it was reported that 70% of employers will review a candidate’s social media presence before hiring. This number is exponentially rising with the adoption of social media as a standard, everyday practice in modern life. As a result, it has become habitual for applicants to “clean up” their social media accounts and remove anything that might give a possible employer pause when looking to hire them. But what happens when you’ve had a run in with the law? Can your social media posts and comments be used against you? The answer is yes, and in rapper Tekahsi6ix9ine’s case, this is becoming a harsh reality to swallow. Prosecutors Using Social Media Tekashi6ix9ine, also referred to as Tekashi69 or 6ix9ine, is an up-and-coming rapper who has quickly risen to prominence in the past year through his heavy, continued use of social media, specifically Instagram, to promote his music and lifestyle. Despite his growing popularity, he has been plagued with legal troubles stemming back to 2015 and his involvement in a child sex case. His most recent arrest in November 2018 leaves him facing a possible life prison sentence due to his alleged involvement with a violent gang that has been frequently labeled as a criminal enterprise. Tekashi69 has denied his involvement; however, his social media images and videos paint a very different picture. Despite trying to publicly distance himself from the gang, Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, in a recent interview on the popular radio show The Breakfast Club, as well as firing a majority of his team, Tekashi69 has constantly alluded to his involvement in gang-related activity. in his music as well as in his frequent use of Instagram through hand signs, the color red (a common symbol for the gang, the Bloods) and “beefs.” These posts are now being used by authorities as evidence of Tekashi’s gang activity, despite his lawyer insisting that he is an entertainer and not a gang member. Instagram Live Goes Wrong This isn’t the first court case involving where social media posts are used against a defendant; in early 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida, another up-and-coming rapper, Kodak Black, was arrested based off of a Instagram live post where the rapper was seen using marijuana and possessing a firearm, all in the presence child. Some viewers alerted authorities to the live post and Kodak Black (along with the other adults in the video) was arrested shortly after the live post was made. Kodak Black was arrested solely because of what he himself put out onto social media. While it can safely be assumed that he likely did not intend for his use of social media to be used against him in a court of law, he has sadly become another prime example of how today’s use of social media is quickly coming back to haunt those utilizing these platforms. Not Just Celebrities Get Arrested for Social Media While both instances involve public figures, it is easy to believe that authorities are only utilizing social media in high profile cases and this is not occurring in small communities. That assumption is inaccurate. As recently as this week, authorities in Wakulla County are investigating a middle school student from River Springs Middle School after the student allegedly made threatening posts towards the school on a social media platform. He has since been suspended pending the investigation. This is in accordance with a new Florida law that was passed in July 2018 that makes it a second-degree felony for anyone that threatens a school via a social media post or comment. This law was passed due to the increasing number of alarming social media posts discovered by authorities following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018. With the frequent use of social media, it is crucial to remind ourselves, and our children, that whatever we choose to put on the internet is hard to erase and will likely be there forever. While we may perceive a post or comment to be made in a joking fashion, it may not be considered laughable to everyone and can actually lead to some serious consequences. If you or a loved one have recently been arrested due to social media posts or believe that your social media presence will be used against you in court, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable social media defense attorney that will aid in your case.

Jean Kathryn Humbrecht | Dec 15, 2018

Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer in Virginia

Assault and Battery Assault in Virginia is threatening to commit or attempting to commit a battery. A Battery is touching another person in a harmful or offensive manner, without legal justification or excuse. The touching can even be done by setting in motion an object that makes contact with another person. Therefore, threatening a harmful or offensive touching or attempting to touch another person in a harmful or offensive manner is an Assault in Virginia. Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer in Virginia (Va. Code 18.2-57(C)) is committed when a person threatens a law enforcement officer with a harmful or offensive touching or attempts to commit a Battery on a law enforcement officer. A Battery does not need to actually be committed to convict an offender of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer in Virginia. Law Enforcement Officer The victim of the assault and/or battery must be a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his public duties. If the offender knew (or even should have known) that the victim was a law enforcement officer, he can be convicted of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer in Virginia. Va. Code 18.2-57(C) contains a list of various jobs that are considered law enforcement for purposes of this charge. A law enforcement officer is any full-time or part-time employee of a police department or sheriff*s office that is part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof who is responsible for the prevention or detection of crime and the enforcement of the penal, traffic or highway laws of the Commonwealth; any conservation officer of the Department of Conservation and Recreation; any special agent of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority; conservation police officers; full-time sworn members of the enforcement division of the Department of Motor Vehicles; any employee with internal investigations authority designated by the Department of Corrections, including jail officers in local and regional correctional facilities; all deputy sheriffs; auxiliary police officers; auxiliary deputy sheriffs; police officers of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; and fire marshals when such fire marshals have police powers. Performance of Public Duties The law enforcement officer must be engaged in the performance of his public duties in order to charge the offender with Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer in Virginia.