Understanding Your Rights after the State of New Jersey Seizes or Forfeits Your Property

Under the New Jersey forfeiture statute, 2C:64-1, law enforcement can legally seize property which they suspect has been used, or is intended to be used in the commission of a crime. The following are property subject to forfeiture: controlled dangerous substances, firearms which are unlawfully possessed, carried, acquired or used, illegally possessed gambling devices, untaxed cigarettes or tobacco products, untaxed special fuel, unlawful sound recordings and audiovisual works, and items bearing a counterfeit mark. In addition, property or money obtained as a result of the sale of contraband is subject to forfeiture.  The owner of the forfeited property is responsible for recovering the items the police have seized. The State is responsible for proving that the property has been or is intended to become an integral part of an illegal activity, property that constitutes the proceeds of illegal activities, or property that has been or is intended to be utilized in furtherance of an unlawful activity. In New Jersey, individuals whose property is being forfeited do not need to be formally charged with a crime, or convicted. Continue reading

In-Court Fast Track Expungements are Available to New Jersey Residents If Your Case is Dismissed

Attorney Eric Morrell: A Fighter Not A Handshaker, argues to obtain the best results for his clients. In some Courts our law office is able to obtain a dismissal of all charges. As a result, the charges against a client are dropped. Despite the charges being dropped, the original arrest still appears on a client’s record. Our law offices are equipped with the tools and knowledge to file an expedited In-Court expungement, in which the client’s arrest can be expunged in Municipal or Superior Court. The process is much shorter and cost effective, than filing a formal three-step expungement. A County expungement typically takes three (3) to five (5) months to be completed. An expedited expungement is filed during the Court appearance, and the waiting period is significantly reduced. Continue reading

A Recent Change in Strategy Used to Fight Drug Possession Cases

Laboratory reports are an essential element in drug related Court matters. In order for the State to prove their case, the State must have the drugs seized tested in a laboratory and provide those results to the defense. The laboratory results identify if the substance tested is in fact a CDS (controlled dangerous substance). Recently New Jersey laboratories where CDS is tested, are overwhelmed and understaffed, and the system has become backlogged. As a result, many individuals Court dates have been adjourned by the Courts for several months after the initial arrest, due to the delay in the State obtaining the required lab results. Being that the backlog has had a significant effect on Municipal and Superior Courts; the Office of the Attorney General has announced that the New Jersey State Police are taking steps in order to tackle this issue. The State Police Office of Forensic Science is aiming to hire many more laboratory scientists. These technicians will be required to undergo rigorous training in order to accurately perform their duties. The hiring process is expected to take place this month and into early 2018. Doing so should improve the efficiency rate in which the State Police provides the defense with the laboratory results of tested substances. Continue reading

Starting Your Career?
Clear Your Criminal History

Having a criminal arrest or charge on your record, especially when seeking employment, can limit opportunities for advancement in the future. Criminal charges are a matter of public record, which can appear on the internet and all platforms of social media. As a result, employers are easily able to access your criminal history, and therefore may prematurely reject your application. Even if your charges have been dismissed, the original arrest will still appear on background checks.  An expungement allows the Court to seal your prior criminal history, making it unavailable to employers and agencies that perform background checks through the State or Federal repository. The court rules in NJ mandate a waiting period before individuals become eligible for an expungement. Generally, if you are convicted of a eligible Indicatable Offense, the waiting period is ten (10) years. For a Disorderly Persons offense or a Petty Disorderly Persons Offense, the waiting period is five (5) years. Continue reading