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Trenton Personal Injury Law Blog

New Jersey man faces traffic violations, drug charges

Police say they took a driver into custody for drug possession and cited him for traffic violations after they pulled over his vehicle in Clinton Township. The traffic stop occurred around 11 p.m. on July 30 because a taillight on the vehicle was out.

Police say the 19-year-old driver pulled into a resident's driveway and tried to exit the vehicle. An officer allegedly determined that the man was driving on a suspended license and found a glass container with marijuana inside, the remains of a marijuana joint and a residue-enlaced glass pipe.

Reality star sentenced to anger management counseling

The New Jersey-based reality star, Michael Sorrentino, also known as the Situation, was sentenced to complete 12 weeks of anger management counseling in connection with assault charges. Sorrentino was sentenced in Middletown municipal court on the morning of July 28.

If Sorrentino successfully completes the counseling, the charges could be downgraded from disorderly persons to a municipal offense, which would be similar to a noise complaint, according to his criminal defense attorney. The sentence resulted from a deal worked out between the prosecutor, Sorrentino's attorney and his brother, whom Sorrentino allegedly assaulted. Sorrentino was taken into custody on July 15 at a tanning club that he co-owns with other members of his family. According to police, Sorrentino posted a $500 bail and was released. A celebrity gossip website alleged that the reality star had been involved in an altercation with his brother, but police did not initially confirm these allegations.

4 face drug and forgery charges in New Jersey

Four individuals ranging from 30 to 37 in age were detained in connection with a July 19 traffic stop. Residents of the Bronx and Johnson City, the occupants of the vehicle were on Route 1 when Fort Lee authorities pulled the driver over under the Fletcher overpass at 2:20 a.m. According to the official complaint, as they approached the BMW, officers reportedly smelled raw marijuana from the area of the passenger's compartment. The officers claim that they could also smell raw marijuana on the registered owner of the car when they were asking him for permission to search the vehicle.

According to the officers, once they got permission to search the vehicle, they found in the trunk of the vehicle a manila envelope that held numerous blank prescription forms from New York. All occupants of the vehicle denied owning these forms. They were all detained for possession of the stolen property. The owner of the vehicle was searched, and the police allegedly found raw marijuana in a plastic bag on his person. He faces charges due to possession of drug paraphernalia and drugs. All occupants of the vehicle are also charged with conspiracy to commit forgery.

New Jersey man charged with drug possession near a school

A 44-year-old man was charged with various drug charges on July 18. He was held on $30,000 bail with a 10 percent cash option after making his first appearance in front of a judge on July 21.

According to the complaint against the man, he allegedly was in possession of three bags of heroin and six bags that contained a substance that was believed to be cocaine. He was suspected of being in possession of those substances within 1,000 feet of School 24 in Jersey City.

Will the New Jersey Supreme Court make a new crime?

Most people in New Jersey recognize that it is legislators who are responsible for passing laws that criminalize certain behaviors. It is then the executive branch's responsibility to enforce those laws and the judicial branch's job to interpret those laws. This system of government, however, does have certain issues, such as the fact that the New Jersey Supreme Court has the ability to decide if certain actions actually constitute crimes under ambiguous laws.

A New Jersey mother has been convicted of reckless endangerment after a court found she had abused her child by leaving him or her alone in a car for five or ten minutes. She has appealed her conviction and it is now up to the state Supreme Court to determine if someone should face criminal charges for leaving a child in a car.

Divorce settlements do more than divide the marital assets

While many people in Trenton may have heard that in a divorce a spouse gets half or his or her spouse's things, that is not entirely true. In reality, divorcing spouses must divide their marital assets, or the property and possessions they have acquired jointly during the span of their marriage, but they must do so equitably. This allows for one spouse to get a greater share of the marital assets than the other spouse when it is fair. Divorce is about more than just dividing the assets, however, it is also about dividing the debt.

And with the increasing number of people carrying debt these days, it is no wonder that learning how to protect against being saddled with an unfair amount of debt following a divorce has become important. One of the best things to do before even filing for a divorce is to root out old credit cards and close them. If the balances are zeroed out, you can close them and prevent a vindictive soon-to-be ex-spouse from ringing up debt.

Cory Booker works to reform criminal justice system

Sen. Cory Booker may be relatively new to the Senate, but that doesn't mean that he is taking things slowly. The freshman senator from New Jersey has recently announced that he and Rand Paul will be co-sponsoring a bill that would make it easier to expunge the records of nonviolent juvenile offenders. Since a criminal record can seriously hinder a young person's opportunities, even a record for something as minor as drug possession, this kind of legislation could go a long way to help young people.

The bill is called the Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act and specifically targets those states that try juveniles as adults. By offering them federal funding, the goal is to limit adult criminal charges to those people 18 years of age and older.

Middle class continues to take on debt despite stagnant incomes

There are some people in Trenton who point to those who file bankruptcy and say it is their own fault. For some reason, bankruptcy has a negative connotation attached to it, one that speaks of irresponsibility, stupidity and bad money management. Sure, there are some people in New Jersey filing for bankruptcy because they truly are bad at managing and spending their money. Most people, however, are filing bankruptcy for one of a thousand or more other reasons, often through no fault of their own.

It shouldn't be surprising, then, that there are people who consider debt to be just as negative. Often, however, debt is a necessary evil that most people need to live with. From homes to cars to education, many people in the middle class would be unable to afford these arguable necessities without taking on debt. Very few people have the money to pay for these things out-of-pocket.

That young person's confession may not be reliable, part II

Earlier in the week we talked about young people's ability to understand their Miranda rights. We also discussed the proclivity teenagers have for waiving their rights to silence and to have a criminal defense lawyer present during questioning. Although some people may not see a problem in this as it is getting juvenile "delinquents" off the streets, it can be quite problematic when these teenagers confess to things they have never done.

Police interrogations can be incredibly stressful, especially when police officers keep pressing individuals for information or telling them that the interrogation will be the only time that they will get to share their side of the story. With research showing that teenagers, especially younger teenagers, are highly likely to confess, it is disturbing to learn that most police officers do not have any training in adolescent development. Even fewer use different interrogation techniques on minors than those they use on adults.

That young person's confession may not be reliable

When someone confesses to a crime, it is often seen as a slam dunk for prosecutors. If the individual confessed, it means he or she did the crime, right? Well, it is not always that straightforward. If it is a teenager, chances are the confession is more a product of stress, confusion or fear than it is an actual admission of guilt. If a teenager or college student is charged with a crime in Mercer County, it is very possible that he or she will confess to a crime he or she did not commit.

According to a study on juvenile confessions, the evidence indicates that teenagers don't really understand their Miranda rights. Instead of using their right to remain silent or the right to an attorney, 90 percent of teenagers waived both rights. Moreover, further research has shown that teens and children under 16 don't even understand the words used in the Miranda warnings. Most 16- and 17-year-olds don't realize the warnings are there to protect them.

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