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Potential Drug Charges

Drug charges can come in a variety of surprising forms, and if you’re facing one, it’s probably not only confusing but also terrifying. Drug charges often carry stiff sentences that can include prison time. And many illicit drugs, including prescription drugs, are illegal at both the state and federal level. Marijuana laws are perhaps the most confusing of all: while some states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana use, it remains illegal at the federal level and the laws vary considerably between states.

A Drug Paraphernalia Charge

A drug paraphernalia charge is a criminal charge involving the possession of items considered to be specific to the use or the distribution of drugs. It’s important to remember that the distinction between using drugs and distributing drugs can be crucial to your case.

A Drug Possession Charge

A drug possession charge is a felony charge that refers to those federal and state laws that render it a crime to willfully possess illegal controlled substances – including specific chemicals used in the making of certain drugs and specific accessories related to drug-use. Depending upon the state the charge is brought in and the class of drug involved, the particulars of a drug possession charge have a lot of room for variability.

A Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation Charge

Manufacturing and cultivating illegal drugs is a criminal act, and charges can be brought under both federal and state law. In some states, however, there are limited exceptions for the cultivation of marijuana. A Drug manufacturing charge is most often a felony charge that is brought against anyone who actively participates in any of the steps that make up the process of illicit drug production. These steps can include simply providing specific ingredients or specialized equipment for that production. A Cultivation of marijuana charge is also a felony charge, and it refers to participation in the cultivation of marijuana plants. Although some states have indeed legalized marijuana within specific parameters, Marijuana is in no way exempt from federal enforcement, and a great deal of uncertainty regarding its legal status remains.

A Drug Trafficking and Distribution Charge

A drug distribution or trafficking charge is a felony charge that can be far more serious than a simple charge of possession. Distribution/trafficking laws focus on the movement of illegal drugs (including prescription drugs) as it relates to their sale, transportation, and illegal import.

A Medical Marijuana Charge

Laws relating to medical marijuana remain extremely ambiguous because marijuana (medical and recreational) is illegal at the federal level. The laws are further confused by the fact that individual states continue to legalize marijuana for medical (and sometimes even recreational) use. Medical Marijuana charges remain in a state of flux but must not be ignored.

The laws relating to drug charges are, at best, highly complex and confusing. It is in your best interest to seek immediate legal guidance if you or someone you care about is facing any kind of drug charge.

Call 856-795-9688 to Schedule a Case Evaluation Today
If you’re facing a drug charge, you need professional legal guidance. Consulting an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who’s skilled in fighting drug charges can be instrumental to defending your case in the best possible way. Robert E. DePersia, II has the experience, skill, and expertise in criminal defense that will help you develop a strong legal strategy and effect the best possible outcome for your case. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, call the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II at (856) 795-9688 and schedule your consultation today.

Expungement: Getting Down to the Basics

Expungement can also be called expunction and it refers to the court-ordered process whereby a legal record associated with an arrest or a criminal conviction is, in essence, erased from the records. In actuality, the arrest or conviction is sealed or done away with in the eyes of the law. The availability of expungement and the regulations regarding expungement can vary significantly from state to state and even from county to county in which the conviction transpired.

The Legal Effect

Expungement normally means that your arrest or conviction has been sealed in the sense that it’s no longer on your criminal record for most purposes. After you’ve received your expungement, you should no longer be obligated to disclose that arrest or conviction. This can be especially important when you are filling out applications for jobs, apartments, colleges, and even credit.

Your expunged arrest or conviction will be as good as gone for such purposes, and if you become the subject of a public records inspection or a background search, the expunged incident should not be discoverable.

Are the Records Really Gone?

While expunged records are, in effect, gone, they are not actually erased in the true sense of the word. Your expungement will remain in your criminal record, which can be obtained by specific government agencies that include law enforcement and criminal courts. This is why expunged records are often referred to as being under seal. In certain limited legal proceedings, an expungement might be used as proof of a prior conviction. Expunged records, in essence, have truly disappeared, but there are occasions where they can reappear.

Eligibility

Getting a criminal record expunged depends on several important factors:

  • The jurisdiction of the original charge or conviction;
  • The nature of the charge/crime;
  • The amount of time that’s passed since the arrest/conviction; and
  • Your criminal history.

There are even some states, such as New York, that do not allow expungements for any criminal convictions whatsoever.

Expungement vs. Having It Sealed

While expungement is very similar to having your records sealed (often the terms are used interchangeably), having your records sealed actually means that your records remain much less hidden. Once sealed, your records are not available to the public, including private investigators, creditors, and employers, but they are still in the criminal justice system and can be touted as a prior offense if you ever face criminal charges in the future.

Expungement can provide a highly valuable do over, but the associated regulations can be extremely variable and difficult to navigate. If you are interested in pursuing a legal expungement, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer who’s experienced with New Jersey expungements.

Call 856-795-9688 to Schedule a Case Evaluation Today

If you have an arrest or conviction record that you hope to have expunged, consult an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who’s skilled in effecting expungements. Robert E. DePersia, II has decades of experience in obtaining criminal record expungements for his clients. If you’re ready to work toward expunging your criminal record in New Jersey, call the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II at (856) 795-9688 and schedule your consultation today.

Know the Regulations Regarding Commercial DUI

Commercial drivers, such as semi drivers, bus drivers, and other professional drivers, drive under the licensure of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). For obvious and important reasons, these commercial drivers must conform to much stricter impaired-driving standards than noncommercial drivers do. An impaired commercial driver, whether hauling 60 tons of cargo or a bus full of schoolchildren, imposes a much greater threat than the average driver tooling down the road in a sedan.

Who’s Responsible?

It’s important to know that it’s not only the commercial driver who can be held responsible for commercial DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) charges. Several other parties connected to the commercial driver’s employment can also be implicated:

  • The owner or lessor of the commercial vehicle;
  • The person who provides the commercial driver’s assignment;
  • Motor carriers that are for hire;
  • Private motor carriers;
  • Civic organizations that engage transportation;
  • Federal, state, and local governments that engage transportation; and
  • Churches that engage transportation.

The implications of a commercial DUI are clearly more complicated and far reaching than a garden variety DUI.

BAC

The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for noncommercial drivers is currently set at .08 percent, but most states have embraced the much stricter .04 percent blood-alcohol concentration limit for commercial drivers. Additionally, it’s illegal for commercial drivers to operate a commercial vehicle within four hours of ingesting alcohol. In other words, if you have a single beer with dinner, you can’t get in your rig and drive for at least four hours.

Alcohol and Drug Testing

There are certain situations in which commercial drivers can be required to allow random alcohol or drug testing:

  • After being involved in an accident;
  • When there is reasonable suspicion; or
  • As a condition of returning to commercial driving duties after a violation.

Additionally, random drug testing can be implemented as a condition of employment, and those drugs most often screened for include marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP).

Finally, if you are pulled over for DUI suspicion, you, as a commercial driver, will face much harsher penalties for refusing to submit to testing, which is the legal equivalent to pleading guilty to the DUI.

Commercial DUI charges are extremely complex and should never be left to chance. It is always in your best interest to seek immediate legal guidance if you or someone you care about is facing a commercial DUI.

Call 856-795-9688 to Schedule a Case Evaluation Today

If you’re facing a commercial DUI, you need professional legal guidance. Consulting an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who’s skilled in fighting commercial DUI charges is crucial to the strategic defense of your case. Robert E. DePersia, II is a New Jersey DUI attorney with the experience, skill, and expertise in commercial DUI to help you develop a strong legal strategy and effect the best possible outcome for your case. If you’ve been charged with a commercial DUI in New Jersey, call the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II at (856) 795-9688 and schedule your consultation today.

Disorderly Conduct: What is it?

Disorderly conduct is also known as disturbing the peace or breach of the peace. In New Jersey there are laws in place that criminalize the undesirable activities that are grouped under the disorderly conduct charge. These actions all share the commonality that they will most likely disrupt, anger, or annoy other people. Some of the actions grouped under disorderly conduct may not strike you as important, but make no mistake, being convicted of any crime is something you want to avoid at all costs.

What Constitutes Disorderly Conduct?

There are several specific actions that are classified as disorderly conduct:

  • Fighting;
  • Threatening others;
  • Engaging in violent behaviors;
  • Creating dangerous or hazardous situations for no meaningful purpose; and
  • Using loud and offensive language in public.

There are several other actions that at first glance might surprise you, but that do indeed rise to the level of criminal action:

  • Smoking on public transportation or smoking in any public place where smoking is prohibited (by either governance or by the owner) and where that smoking ban is posted;
  • Rioting, which is defined as engaging in a fight, threatening violence, or creating a dangerous condition that involves four or more others;
  • Refusing or failing to obey an official’s order to disperse; or
  • Falsely reporting a fire, explosion, bombing, crime, catastrophe, or emergency.

Interestingly, it’s also a form of disorderly conduct to picket at a funeral or memorial service in New Jersey. This action was added to the roster in an effort to prevent extremist groups from engaging in hate rhetoric and, by doing so, sullying the positive memorialization intended by the funeral or event.

These are not exhaustive lists, but in New Jersey, any of these actions can bring a charge of disorderly conduct.

Disorderly conduct encompasses many different actions, and they all represent criminal offenses. If you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct, take the matter extremely seriously; criminal charges can have lingering and serious consequences. Engaging experienced legal counsel can make all the difference for your case.

Call 856-795-9688 today for a free consultation

Consulting an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who is skilled in working with disorderly conduct cases can be instrumental to defending your case. Robert E. DePersia, II has the experience and the criminal defense expertise to help you develop a strong legal strategy and to effect the best possible outcome for your case. If you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct, call the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II at (856) 795-9688 and schedule your consultation today.

What You Need to Know about Drug Possession

Both federal and state laws make it a crime to willfully possess illegal controlled substances. These drugs can include marijuana (federally and in most states), methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, heroin, and so-called club drugs. Additionally, these laws make it a crime to possess specific accessories that are related to drug use and certain chemicals (known as precursor chemicals) that are used in illegal-drug production. Though possession seems like a fairly straightforward charge, there are a multitude of variables that can complicate the issue.

Elements of the Crime of Possession

While drug laws vary significantly between the states, the elements that make up a charge of drug possession remain fairly consistent. A prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew that the drug in question was, indeed, a controlled substance and that you knew that you were in possession of or control over that controlled substance.

Possession can also refer to a situation known as constructive possession in which you might have had access to the illicit drug but did not have it on your person at the time of your arrest. For example, if your parked car contained narcotics and you had your car keys, it could be an instance of constructive possession. In such a situation, every other element of the crime of possession must also be met.

Categories of Possession

Laws relating to drug possession usually fall into one of two specific categories that include simple possession, which refers to personal use, and possession with intent to distribute. Possession with intent carries harsher penalties.

Possession of marijuana charges continue to evolve, but it remains a federal crime. If you are facing a marijuana possession charge, it’s imperative that you know the laws as they pertain to your location.

Drug Paraphernalia

Drug possession laws also encompass paraphernalia, which are prohibited. Such paraphernalia include devices like syringes and water pipes. There is a primary use determination that is used in relation to paraphernalia; it specifies that newly purchased equipment with no taint of illegal drugs may not be considered in the drug paraphernalia category.

There are also laws in place that prohibit possession of specific chemicals or materials, such as the laboratory equipment necessary to produce methamphetamine, that are commonly used in illegal drug production.

Drug possession charges are complicated and extremely serious. If you or someone you care about is facing a drug possession charge, you should seek immediate legal counsel.

Call 856-795-9688 to Schedule a Case Evaluation Today
If you’re facing a drug possession charge, you need professional legal guidance. Consulting an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who’s skilled in fighting drug possession charges can be instrumental in strategically defending your case. Robert E. DePersia, II is a New Jersey criminal defense attorney with the experience, skill, and expertise in drug possession charges to help you effect the best possible outcome for your case. If you’ve been charged with drug possession in New Jersey, call the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II at (856) 795-9688 and schedule your consultation today.

Steps to Expunge Your Record

People make mistakes. Fortunately, New Jersey recognizes this fact, and allows certain individuals to expunge their criminal records under certain circumstances. Expungement can improve your life in many ways, as the existence of a criminal record can make it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, and hurt your reputation within your community. If your record is expunged, you may legally deny the existence of a criminal record in almost every circumstance. Here are some of the steps involved with getting a criminal record expunged.

  • Find Your Records – The first step involved with getting a criminal record expunged involves tracking down your records, as you will need certain information in order to file for expungement. The best place to start is the Superior Court Criminal Case Management Office in the County in which you were arrested or convicted.
  • Complete Paperwork – You must file a Petition for Expungement in the county in which your case took place, an Order for a Hearing in order to schedule your hearing, and an Expungement Order that will be signed by the judge if your petition is granted.
  • File and Serve the Forms – You must make three copies of the above documents and mail them to any parties that were involved in your case, including the prosecutor who handled your case and the law enforcement agency that arrested you.
  • Attend Your Hearing – If you are required to do so, you must attend your hearing and defend your case if any law enforcement officers object to your expungement.
  • Distribute the Finalized Expungement Order – If your petition is granted, you must distribute copies of the signed to various agencies and offices throughout the state.

If you think that this sounds confusing and that expunging your record seems like a significant investment of time, you are right – but do not be discouraged. Fortunately, an attorney can handle your entire expungement case on your behalf. In fact, our office will evaluate your expungement case and let you know whether we believe you are eligible at no cost to you!

Call a New Jersey Expungement Attorney Today for More Information

If you are being held back by a criminal record, you should speak with an attorney immediately. New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Robert DePersia has been practicing law for more than 25 years and has a comprehensive understand of the law regarding expungement in New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation to learn whether we can expunge your record, call our office today at 856-795-9688 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Degrees of Crime in New Jersey

In the State of New Jersey, crimes are either categorized as indictable offenses, disorderly persons offenses, or petty disorderly persons offenses. The commonly known terms of felony and misdemeanor are not used for classification purposes. However, indictable offenses are commonly compared to felonies while the remaining classifications are commonly compared to misdemeanors.

Indictable crimes are the most serious of criminal charges in New Jersey. These crimes are classified by degrees. The most serious indictable offenses are first-degree crimes while the least serious are fourth-degree crimes.

Some examples of the crimes included in the four different degrees include the following:

  • First-degree crimes: murder and rape
  • Second-degree crimes: kidnapping, drug crimes, white collar crimes, and sex crimes
  • Third-degree crimes: possession of controlled substances and arson
  • Fourth-degree crimes: stalking, forgery, and robbery cases

Range of Punishments

The State of New Jersey has developed a range of punishments to be applied to indictable crimes. The range of punishment is codified in New Jersey’s sentencing statute. Moreover, the ranges of punishment differ between degrees. While a judge in a criminal case will determine the appropriate punishment, he or she will impose the punishment based on the range of punishment found in the New Jersey sentencing statute.

Punishments for crimes of different degrees include the following:

  • First-Degree Crimes can result in lengthy sentences including life in prison such as in murder cases. The court can also impose fines up to $200,000.
  • Second-Degree Crimes may result in a sentence of 5 to 10 years. The court may assess fines up to $150,000.
  • Third-Degree Crimes convictions may result in a prison sentence between 3 and 5 years. Convictions may result in fines of up to $15,000.
  • Fourth-Degree Crimes under New Jersey sentencing statutes, can result in imprisonment for up to 18 months. Fines can be as high as $10,000.

Being charged with an indictable offense can be life-changing. Convictions can lead to difficulties in obtaining employment, renting an apartment, or even exercise basic rights. It is important for criminal defendants to understand the impact that charges of indictable offenses. Quality legal counsel can make a difference in an individual’s opportunity to develop a sound legal strategy, to avoid a conviction, or possibly to reach a plea agreement for lesser charges.

Call 856-795-9688 today for a free consultation.

You have the right to legal counsel if you are charged with a crime. Consulting a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can be instrumental in a defendant’s case. Robert E. DePersia, II’s experience in criminal defense can help you develop a strong legal strategy if you are charged with a crime in the State of New Jersey. A strong legal strategy can allow for the most positive outcome in a defendant’s case. If you are charged with a crime, contact the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II by calling (856) 795-9688 and schedule your consultation today.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

In the state of New Jersey, there are laws that prohibit people from engaging in disruptive or undesirable conduct. The conduct that is criminalized by our disorderly conduct laws is varied, and law can be used by law enforcement or arrest people causing a variety of public disturbances. Disorderly conduct is serious criminal offense in the state of New Jersey, and anyone accused of it should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

In the New Jersey disorderly conduct statute, there are two main categories of conduct that are prohibited by law. These are “improper behavior” and “offensive language” both of which are detailed below.

Improper Behavior

The first type of conduct addressed by the statute is improper behavior. According to the law, a person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense, if with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof he or she engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior, or creates a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor. Examples of improper behavior include a bar fight or physically threatening another person.

Offensive Language

The use of offensive language is also addressed by the statute. The law states that a person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense if he or she, “in a public place, and with purpose to offend the sensibilities of a hearer or in reckless disregard of the probability of so doing, he addresses unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language, given the circumstances of the person present and the setting of the utterance, to any person present.”

Within the context of the law, “public” does not mean non-private property; the law clarifies that it means a place that to which the public or a substantial group has access to, including apartment buildings, schools, highways, places of business, facilities for transportation, prisons, neighborhoods, or places of amusement. As a result, you could easily be accused of disorderly conduct for offensive language used at a private business or while at school or work.

Call a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Today for More Information

If you have been accused of disorderly conduct or any other type of crime, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. To discuss your options with New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Robert DePersia, call our office today at 856-795-9688 or send us an email through our online contact form.

When do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you have been accused of a crime, you may be wondering whether you need to call an attorney.  You may have heard that lawyers can be extremely expensive and also that prosecutors do not “go after” people for a first offense. In reality, an attorney is probably not nearly as expensive as you expect (we even offer payment plans) and even a first time offense can result in serious legal consequences.

If you have been accused of a crime, you should call an attorney as soon as possible. Calling an attorney early can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case and may even result in the case simply going away without any legal consequences at all.

What will a Lawyer do for You?

Criminal law is extraordinarily complex, and very rarely does a criminal case come down to whether or not the defendant actually committed the crime of which he or she is alleged. Your lawyer will thoroughly review your case and determine whether there were any legal violations that occurred when law enforcement investigated or arrested you. If there were, an attorney can will bring these violations to the attention of the court, which may decide that the evidence gathered against you is inadmissible, often forcing the prosecution to drop its case.

Of course, if you actually did not do what you are accused of doing, your lawyer will take your case to trial and argue for your innocence. These cases are relatively rare, as prosecutors do not tend to issue a case unless they have a strong feeling that they can win it.

Finally, if your case is resolved through a plea bargain, as the vast majority are, your lawyer will make sure that you get the best possible deal available. Having an attorney is critical in this process, as prosecutors have little incentive to negotiate with an unrepresented party. When you have a lawyer, however, he or she will point out weaknesses in the state’s case and negotiate a plea bargain that may even be able to avoid a conviction from being entered on your record.

Call a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been accused of a crime in New Jersey, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Robert DePersia has more than 25 years of experience practicing law in New Jersey and will work hard to bring your case to the best resolution possible. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 856-795-9688 or send us an email through our online contact form.

DWI Tips for Your Next Encounter

Imagine the following scenario: you go out for a few happy hour cocktails with friends after work, have a few, drink some water, wait an hour or so, and hop in your car to get home. On your way home, you drive 5 miles per hour above the speed limit just like everyone around you is doing, when suddenly you hear a chirp and realize that you are being pulled over.

You are not a criminal. In fact, you took steps to make sure that you were okay to drive by drinking water and waiting for your body to metabolize the alcohol you consume. After all, drinking alcohol and driving is not illegal – drunk driving is.

Unfortunately, for those of us who enjoy the occasional drink, drunk driving laws have become so strict that even 1-2 drinks could put you over the legal limit in some circumstances. In addition, you do not even need to be over the legal limit to be accused of DWI. It is sufficient that the police officer that stopped you believes that you are sufficiently impaired, and you better believe that he or she will write the police report in such a way as to make it seem like you were clearly drunk while you were driving.

Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to protect your rights in the event that you are pulled over after you have consumed any alcohol. Basically, you need to keep in mind that any questions you are asked are not asked for any other reason except to obtain evidence against you. For example, if the officer asks you how you are doing this evening, he or she does not actually want to know but rather is observing your speech, demeanor, and appearance in order to determine whether you may be intoxicated. For this reason, you should generally refuse any field sobriety tests that you are asked to perform and also refuse to provide a breath sample. There is no way to beat these tests, and any evidence gathered from them will simply be used to indicate that you were drunk.

Call 856-795-9688 today for a free consultation.

If you have been accused of drunk driving or DWI in New Jersey, you should contact the Law Office of Robert DePersia II as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 856-795-9688 or send us an email through our online contact form.