Municipal Law & Criminal Law
Bergen County Lawyer Representing Clients in Municipal and Criminal Court
If you receive a summons (or a “ticket”) or are arrested in New Jersey, there are many challenges lying ahead of you. New Jersey law can impose severe penalties for many types of municipal and criminal offenses. Failing to defend yourself adequately could lead to costly and long-term consequences, including but not limited to loss of driving privileges, fines, surcharges and possible jail.
Are You Facing Criminal or Municipal Court Charges in New Jersey?
As a defendant in New Jersey, one of the first challenges you face is simply understanding the charges against you. New Jersey has separate systems for municipal and criminal offenses; unlike other states, New Jersey does not categorize crimes as misdemeanors and felonies. Instead, crimes constitute either “disorderly persons offenses” or “indictable offenses,” and there are multiple classes of offenses within each of these categories.
For example, did you know that a DUI is considered a traffic offense (instead of a criminal offense) in New Jersey, yet can still result in jail time? Even petty disorderly persons offenses (the lowest level of criminal offenses in New Jersey) can carry the potential for fines and up to 30 days in jail.
Regardless of the charge (or charges) against you, your case must be taken extremely seriously. Bergen County defense attorney Steven Segalas has over 20 years of experience representing clients in New Jersey. He is an advocate for individuals facing conviction in municipal and criminal court. If you are facing charges he can help protect you, but only if you take the first step to get in touch.
Experienced Defense Representation in New Jersey’s Municipal and Criminal Courts
Defense attorney Steven Segalas has experience in cases involving a broad range of municipal violations and criminal offenses. Call or click to find out how Mr. Segalas can help protect you against unjust punishment for:
Traffic tickets for speeding, reckless driving, and other driving-related offenses carry steep fines and the potential for immediate loss of driving privileges, or eventual license suspension, due to accumulation of points.
If you have received a summons to appear in court, you need to prepare for your court date as thoroughly as possible. This means understanding the allegations against you, assessing the strength of the prosecution’s case, and determining what defenses you have available.
Drunk driving charges carry severe penalties that increase significantly for repeat offenders. While ordinary DWI/DUI is a traffic offense in New Jersey, causing injury or death and other aggravating factors can lead to being charged with an indictable offense.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
In New Jersey, driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs carries penalties similar to an alcohol-related DWI/DUI. However, if you are stopped with drugs in your vehicle, you could also face a 2 year suspension of your license – a far greater consequence than in the event of a DWI. The Court and prosecutors treat these matters seriously. You must also. The first step to avoiding or limiting substantial consequences starts with hiring the right attorney.
Being accused of domestic violence in New Jersey is extremely precarious. While a request for a restraining order is a civil matter under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PVDA), judges, police and prosecutors take all allegations of domestic abuse very seriously. In order to avoid a final restraining order and the potential for criminal prosecution for an underlying domestic violence offense, you will need to act quickly to defend yourself (domestic violence matters are supposed to be scheduled for trial within 10 days after the issuance of temporary restraining order (TRO)). Also, in a civil proceeding under the PDVA, all a claimed victim needs to do is allege an act of domestic violence and prove the act by a simple preponderance of the evidence (not beyond a reasonable doubt). So, if you have been accused of domestic violence, there is a lot that you need to do very quickly. Steven Segalas has tried innumerable domestic violence matters, ranging from allegations of harassment to aggravated assault and rape both for victims and defendants, and he can help make sure your freedom and Constitutional rights are secure.
Harassment is a criminal offense that can be charged as a petty disorderly persons offense or a fourth-degree indictable offense. When charged as a fourth-degree indictable offense, harassment carries the potential for up to a $10,000 fine and 18 months of imprisonment.
Motor Vehicle Assault
Motor vehicle assault (or “assault by auto”) can range from a disorderly persons offense to a second-degree indictable offense. Cases involving alcohol intoxication, accidents in school zones, and serious bodily injury all carry enhanced penalties.
While often thought of as a “minor” offense, in New Jersey, shoplifting can be charged as severely as a second-degree indictable offense. Taking merchandise, concealing merchandise, altering labels, and other forms of theft all carry the potential for fines and jail time. If you are not a citizen, it can also have consequences on your ability to remain in the United States and/or to be eligible for citizenship.
Disorderly conduct is a petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. Examples of disorderly conduct include verbal altercations and physical confrontations in public, failure to obey law enforcement, public intoxication and public urination.
Aggravated assault is a serious charge that can carry fines of $15,000 to $150,000 and three to 10 years of incarceration. It is possible to avoid prison time, but only if you present an aggressive and strategic defense.
Are You Eligible to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged?
A criminal conviction can impact your life long after you have served your sentence. Unless you successfully file for expungement, your conviction will remain on your record indefinitely. Potential employers and landlords will be able to consider your record in deciding whether to hire you or offer you a place to live, and your record could also negatively impact your ability to work in certain occupations or secure custody of your children.
While not all convictions are eligible for expungement in New Jersey, many can be appealed. If your conviction is eligible, having your record expunged could drastically change your life. Mr. Segalas can determine whether you are eligible to file, and if so, can argue your Petition for Expungement in Superior Court.
In Bergen and Passaic County, contact Steven Segalas
Having to go to municipal or criminal court can change your life, but it doesn’t have to be ruinous. To start building your defense strategy today, call (201) 212-6523 or request a consultation online now.