Defending Monmouth College Students for Criminal Arrest
By Kenneth A. Vercammen, Past Chair NJ State Bar Municipal Court and DWI Section
Our office often represents college students charged with criminal and disorderly persons offenses. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. Criminal charges can cost you. If convicted of possession of drugs or a crime, you can face jail, high fines, Probation over 18 months and other penalties. Dont give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for marijuana, underage drinking and other criminal matters. Our website njlaws.com provides information on criminal offenses we can be retained to represent people.
Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea in Superior Court
1 If you plead guilty you will have a criminal record
2. Before the judge can accept your guilty plea, you will have to stand up in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense in front of all persons in the courtroom.
3. You can go to jail, pay thousands of dollars in fines, and may be barred from future employment
3. You may not be able to get a job as a teacher, public employee,
banking industry, real estate or other state regulated field.
4. On employment applications, you will have to answer yes that you were convicted of a crime.
5. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.
6. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.
7 In all drug cases, the statute requires mandatory drivers license suspension. New Jersey does not have a special license to go to work or school.
8. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.
9. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss.
10. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.
11. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be
deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.
12. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3
13. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1
14. You may lose your right to vote.
The defense of a person charged with possession of marijuana or other criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of involvement with marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives. The Superior Court handles possession of larger amounts of marijuana, or other illegal drugs and possession with intent to distribute drugs
The Municipal Court has jurisdiction to hear the following drug-related offenses:
NJSA 2C:5-10(a)(4), possession of 50g or less of marijuana or 5g or less of hashish; NJSA 2C:35-10(b), using or being under the influence of CDS; NJSA 2C:35-10(c), failure to deliver cocaine, hashish or other CDS to police [County Prosecutors often downgrade possession of small amounts of cocaine to this offense;] NJSA 2C:36-2, possession of drug paraphernalia. All other drug offenses are heard in the Superior Court.
If convicted, the court must impose a minimum $500.00 Drug Enforcement Reduction penalty and a $50.00 lab fee for each CDS charge. Moreover, the court must suspend the defendants drivers license for between six months and two years. In addition, probation for up to two years, drug counseling, periodic urine testing, alcohol and/or psychiatric counseling and community service may be imposed. Fines and jail vary depending on the amount of marijuana, hashish or other illegal drugs and whether the case is heard in Superior Court or Municipal Court. Jail time and fines is explained in greater details in other articles on njlaws.com.
The retainer fee will be discussed at the initial interview. Defense attorneys require the full retainer to be paid prior to my entering an appearance. Depending on the case, County and prior offenses, fees range between $1,000-$7,000.
My standard procedure, once we are retained, is to immediately send a discovery letter/letter of representation to both the Prosecutor and the Court Clerk. I try to stay in close contact with the client. I also can provide the client with a brochure setting forth phone numbers and addresses for substance abuse treatment programs with a recommendation they seek help for any problem. Proof of attendance of such a program is of benefit at sentencing or an application for PTI or conditional discharge.
A timely Motion to Suppress Evidence can be made pursuant