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New Jersey Criminal Defense Blog

How traffic tickets impact poor drivers

A study from Princeton University in New Jersey has found that traffic tickets tend to inflict more harm on lower income motorists. This was the main takeaway after analyzing the credit reports of 3.7 million drivers in Florida who were ticketed between 2011 and 2015. The average cost of a traffic ticket was $175 in addition to an extra $120 per year on average in higher insurance premiums.

Drivers who made the least money saw a 5 percent reduction in their income after being assessed a traffic citation. This led to an inability to borrow as well as other negative consequences such as accounts going to collections. Ultimately, the study concluded that communities may have more to lose by issuing traffic citations than they had to gain financially. Therefore, it may be worth looking into whether handing them out for offenses such as speeding necessarily makes sense in all areas.

Police raid alleged drug manufacturing facility

Prosecutors in New Jersey have announced that four area residents were taken into custody after police searched a Barnegat residence on Jan. 15. A 30-year-old man has been charged with using the home to manufacture drugs and a 36-year-old Toms River woman, a 30-year-old woman and a 29-year-old woman are all facing conspiracy charges. The Toms River woman is also facing a drug possession with the intent to distribute charge after police allegedly discovered narcotics while searching her car.

According to initial media reports, the searches were conducted after a two-month investigation involving the Toms River Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Narcotics Strike Force. Officers from the Ocean County Regional SWAT Team provided additional assistance. During the search of the Main Street residence, officers allegedly discovered 1,250 envelopes containing an undisclosed amount of heroin, about 20 grams of cocaine and approximately $1,650 in cash.

Former basketball coach faces federal charges

Hackensack fans of college basketball may be disturbed by the scandal affecting a former Auburn University assistant coach. On Jan. 3, a New York judge allowed a case to move forward against the former coach as well as an Atlanta clothing company owner. The coach is charged with accepting bribes from a financial adviser who was working with the FBI to direct athletes toward his services.

The former Auburn employee is facing a number of federal charges, including bribery, wire fraud and Travel Act conspiracy allegations. The judge said that these allegations are supported by sufficient evidence to move toward a jury trial. The clothing company owner is facing fewer charges, and the judge also allowed those allegations to move forward. The trial against both men, who pleaded not guilty, is scheduled to begin on Feb. 4 in New York City.

Lottery winner charged with gun and drug crimes

A 53-year-old man who won the New Jersey lottery twice was taken into custody on 37 charges. Many of the charges related to having illegal guns as part of a drug operation based in the man's home. The man's 22-year-old girlfriend was also taken into custody on several drug offenses. Authorities had originally stopped the man in his SUV at about 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 16.

Authorities said that the traffic stop occurred because the Jeep Wrangler only had one license plate. At the time, they recovered prescription pills, a bulletproof vest and two guns in the vehicle. A search of the man's high-rise unit turned up cocaine, marijuana cigarettes and more prescription pills. There was also documentation stating that the man owned a storage unit, which prompted authorities to conduct a search there as well. During that search on Dec. 18, large capacity magazines were found, and those are illegal in the state of New Jersey.

DOT increases trucking violation fines

Truck drivers and trucking companies face difficult fines for traffic violations, which can have a huge financial impact. Now it appears those penalties are a little higher. 

Effective November 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) raised its fines for federal violations. This change is intended to stay on pace with inflation as required by federal law. The increase is a little over one percent, but the monetary impact for many infractions is an increase of hundreds of dollars.

New Jersey man convicted in Medicaid fraud scheme

A 46-year-old unlicensed dentist from New Jersey was involved in a Medicaid fraud scheme worth up to $2 million. The scheme involved fraudulently obtaining money from insurance providers that are funded by taxpayers.

The unlicensed dentist actively recruited individuals who received money from Medicaid or other insurance companies funded by the government. When patients came to his office, he would perform dental procedures of a minor nature. Then the patient would be paid $25 in cash for the visit. Later, the man's dental practice would bill the taxpayer-funded insurance companies for expensive dental procedures that the unlicensed dentist never performed.

Potential penalties for marijuana possession in New Jersey

Although legal in recreational use in some states, New Jersey state law prohibits the use of marijuana. In fact, significant penalties arise if charged and convicted of using marijuana or having paraphernalia on you or in your vehicle. 

Some of the penalties associated with marijuana may include:

Federal prosecutors aim drug charges at 19 people in South Camden

The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey has filed drug charges against 19 people allegedly involved in a violent drug ring operating in South Camden. Authorities have yet to apprehend eight of the people, but the other 11 defendants were in custody and had appearances scheduled in U.S. district court.

Statements provided by FBI agents detailed a lengthy investigation that involved controlled drug buys, intercepted text messages, confidential informants and recorded telephone conversations. Investigators said that the drug dealers used many different mobile phones, and their conversations referred to heroin, powder cocaine and crack cocaine with code words.

Feds charge bank founder with fraud for allegedly illegal loans

Two men in New Jersey have entered not guilty pleas after federal investigators accused them of manipulating loans through the bank that one of them founded to avoid lending limits. The indictment against them alleged that they lied on loan applications and hid their connections to handpicked borrowers. From 2008 to 2013, the loans totaled about $9 million.

After his court appearance, the bank founder provided a public statement dismissing the notion that he would defraud his own bank. His lawyer added that evidence shows that all loans in question had proper collateral and were completely repaid. The lawyer for the bank founder's associate also expressed confidence that a jury would exonerate the man of all charges.

NTSB pushes for lowering legal blood alcohol limit

Every day, an average of 29 individuals in New Jersey and across the United States die in a vehicular accident involving an alcohol-impaired driver. The financial cost of accidents that involve a drunk driver is estimated to be $44 million per year. Though most people believe that more action needs to occur in order to prevent drunk driving from occurring, there is much debate on the best course of action.

One idea is to lower the legal drinking limit. In December 2018, Utah will become the first state to lower the legal blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05 percent. Some lawmakers in other states want to follow suit by lowering the BAC limit in order to decrease the number of alcohol-related car accidents. According to a survey done by the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute, 55 percent of people in the United States support lowering the BAC from the standard limit of .08 to .05 percent.

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