You take one last glance around the department store to make sure no one is watching as you carefully tuck a couple of newly released CDs along the trim of your pants, lifting your shirt over them for concealment. Looking as casual as possible, you stroll through an unattended checkout line and out of the door, heart racing fast while remaining collected. A pang of excitement surges through your chest, knowing you’ve just succeeded in acquiring three collectible albums at no cost. YANK – your thoughts of victory are quickly thwarted by a strange pull at the back of your shirt, causing you to turn around and face the store’s head security guard, who had been watching you all along.
To your dismay, you’ve been caught. Now what? You’ve made a mistake and you have to face the consequences. Shoplifting is against the law and shouldn’t be taken lightly. In the last five years, more than ten million people have been caught shoplifting, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. Many of these individual wind up facing penalties that can have a negative effect on one’s life. Depending on the severity of the shoplifting crime, the defendant is faced with hefty fines and possible jail time.
The shoplifting charge also shows up on public record, which could make it difficult to get hired. Rather than let the charges alter the plan you have for your life, hire an experienced lawyer who will fight for your rights. I, Charles Block, a criminal defense lawyer serving the Gloucester County, NJ area and the surrounding region, can help turn your situation around. I am well-versed in criminal law and have helped many of my clients get their shoplifting charges reduced or dropped.
If you get caught shoplifting, I advise you to invoke your right to counsel. Know that anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law, so it’s crucial that you reject the urge to offer an innocent explanation, which could wind up leading to an admission of guilt. You should also make sure that you appear in court for your offense to avoid being found guilty by default or getting an arrest warrant.
As your lawyer, I will guide you every step of the way during the legal process and assess all of the facts to ensure your rights are protected. I will make sure that your shoplifting charge achieves the best possible outcome so that you can put the charge behind you for good. Call me today for a free consultation. I also provide legal assistance as a traffic attorney near Gloucester County, NJ, as well.
Losing your license changes everything. No more late-night outings on a whim to the local convenience store, no more hopping in the car and driving to get to work, and no more coming and going in the car as you please. Suddenly, your traveling freedom is partially withheld, at least for a temporary period. Even so, your entire daily routine and lifestyle have to be adjusted to get where you need to go on a regular basis. To reach your destination, you will have to either rely on public transportation or depend on others to get you to your destination. Doesn’t seem like a very fun scenario to fall into, especially if you are an avid driver in New Jersey.
As an experienced traffic law lawyer serving the Gloucester County, NJ area and surrounding communities, I help individuals with driving charges to get the best possible outcome for their violations. Using my legal advice and expertise, I can help you avoid getting your license revoked or have it reinstated, depending on your situation. I understand how difficult it can be living life without the leisure of driving. Everyone makes mistakes while driving; it’s just a matter of whether or not you get caught. But, some mistakes can cost you.
Causes of License Suspension
How does a license become suspended? The answer is simple: by breaking the law! There are a number of serious violations that can result in license suspension. Accumulating too many points on your record is one of them. If you get a DWI or DUI in Gloucester County, NJ, it is considered a serious offense that can lead to points, jail time, large fines, and license revocation. Getting charged with a series of traffic violations and speeding tickets or failing to pay fees (perhaps you just forgot!) is also a reason for license suspension. If any of these violations apply to you, contact me right away so I can assess your legal situation.
Suspended License Penalties
License reinstatement is a possibility for those who currently have their license revoked. I can create a legal strategy that will help you get some or all of your driving privileges back. But, there are some penalties you will want to avoid while your license is suspended. Trust me; it will only make things worse! Although it may be tempting, refrain from driving while your license is revoked! If you get pulled over, expect the following: enormous fines, possible jail time, added points to your record, added suspension time to your license revocation, and higher difficulty of getting your license reinstated.
I am well-versed in all types of traffic violations and can help you turn the path of your life around. Contact me so we can talk about how I can assist you with your legal needs. I’m on your side! Let’s steer the situation back into the right direction.
We’ve all made mistakes, right? But the more important question is, “what can you do to make things right again?” It’s actually pretty easy for someone to go a little wild after a few beers, to think that they’re fine, so they end up driving, and then *WHAM*, they’re hit with a DUI. For those of you who have received a DWI or DUI in Gloucester County, NJ, as well as other local areas in New Jersey, the only thing you need to think about is how to make things right again and put your life back on the proper track.
What Can Happen?
Individuals found with a BAC over 0.08% will be charged with a DUI or DWI in New Jersey. And those who are found guilty are faced with possible fines and penalties including community service, jail time, counseling at an Intoxicated Driving Resource Center, loss of driving privileges, interlock, and increased insurance costs. And if previous drunk driving charges are found, the penalties will be even more severe. For the best defense possible and to reduce or even eliminate these penalties, the best thing you can do is to contact Charles Block, one of New Jersey’s top Attorneys at Law. Charles Block is dedicated to protecting an individual’s rights who has been charged with drunk driving.
What Should I Do About It?
Although it is not possible to receive expungement for a DUI or DWI in Camden County, as well as the entire state of New Jersey, Charles Block will provide legal guidance for any individual who has received a charge regarding intoxication. Whether you were charged with being drunk and disorderly, publicly intoxicated, or drunk driving, Charles Block will aggressively fight by your side to ensure that you get the representation you deserve. This experienced defense attorney will do everything in his power to help you get your life back on the right track.
For more information about how to receive the proper representation for a DWI or DUI, contact Charles Block at 856-741-1495.
Everybody goes through a tough time at one point or other, and sometimes our actions can result in harsh consequences. Those who are faced with criminal charges on their record may find that building a new life can prove difficult. When a record shows that there are criminal charges, it makes certain life necessities nearly impossible, such as getting a job, obtaining a mortgage, buying a car, taking out a loan, renting, and investing in a business. However, the circumstance can be reversed by obtaining an expungement. An expungement is the isolation and/or extraction of records regarding one’s criminal history. If you are interested in getting an expungement to clear your record, here are five things you should know about the process.
- 1. You can Legally Say You Have Never Been Arrested if the Conviction is expunged.
Criminal record expungements in Gloucester County, NJ and the surrounding regions will eliminate civil disabilities put into effect as a consequence of your conviction or arrest. Once the record is cleared, you are legally allowed to claim under oath that you have never been arrested.
- 2. Notify Private Database Companies about Your Expunged Record in Order to Have it Removed from Their Systems.
Even though the expungement will remove your record from the federal and state databases, it still lingers in the databases of private companies. To make sure that the data companies do not provide outdated information to employers and other entities, you must provide them with your expungement. Once you notify them of your sealed record, they are required to comply with the Judge’s Order in removing the outdated record.
- 3. You Can Apply for an Expungement only if you are Eligible to do so.
In the state of NJ, there are several judicial and statutory grounds for denying an expungement. It is important to work with an experienced lawyer or perform extensive research to determine if you are eligible. Some situations that are considered to have ineligibility include if the crime was serious, having more than the number of allowable convictions, the case is still open, unpaid fines, and more.
The Expungement Process Takes about 3 to 4 Months to Complete After Your Petition Has Been Filed.
The length of the expungement process is as follows: 1 – 4 weeks to file a petition with accompanying documents; 2 – 3 weeks to serve the filed copy of the petition to all applicable state and local government agencies; 4 – 5 weeks to provide Proof of Notice to the County Prosecutor’s Office and the County Criminal Case Management and obtain the County Prosecutor’s consent to move forward with the Expungement Hearing. Once the Judge executes the Order of Expungement, the Ordert must be served on all applicable state and local government agencies for compliance. It then takes 30 to 60 days for the agencies to update their records.
- 5. The Purpose of an Expungement is to Provide Someone the Chance to Move Forward and Not be Burdened by Their Past Mistakes.
Concealing criminal records from view helps people who want to move on from their past and have access to new opportunities.
Getting an expungement may seem like a lengthy process but can be worth it in the long run. With an experienced expungement lawyer near Camden County, NJ, helping you with the expungement process, you can be at ease in knowing you are in good hands. If you are looking to have your record cleared so you can get your life back in order, contact me today for a consultation.
Have you been issued a ticket for a traffic violation recently? If so, you may be wondering whether it is beneficial for you to hire a lawyer or not. Depending on the severity of the charge, gaining professional legal representation may be worthwhile. A traffic offense can result in points on the license, license revoked, jail time, and expensive fines. And don’t forget about the insurance company – a traffic violation can make auto insurance rates go up. It’s already nerve wracking enough when you get pulled over for not abiding by the rules, but even more so when the traffic offense issues a court appearance. But, with an experienced traffic law attorney in Burlington County, NJ, on your side, you can strategize to achieve a better outcome for the misdemeanor.
According to the National Motorists Association, less than 5% of people contest their ticket. The penalty for a traffic offense varies according to what kind of misdemeanor it is. If your situation is one or more of the following, hiring a lawyer is a worthy investment.
The traffic ticket fine is pricy. An experienced attorney can help get the fine reduced or dismissed, although some tickets may not have a fine high enough to justify hiring a lawyer. But, even so, if the tickets go unpaid, the fine becomes larger, which makes hiring an attorney a bargain.
You don’t understand your rights as a driver in New Jersey. A lawyer who practices traffic law will be able to help you understand your rights and provide you with a higher chance of generating a better outcome. He or she will know the best approach for battling the ticket.
The traffic offense put points on your license. The more points you have on your license, the closer you are it having it revoked. If the points remain on your license, you will have to always be warry of the traffic laws and be careful driving, since another violation could warrant more points, leading to your license getting taken away. A lawyer can help get the points cleared.
You don’t want a conviction on your record. When you pay a ticket rather than fight it, it counts as a conviction on your record, which is what can cause your insurance rate to rise. However, a lawyer can negotiate with the county traffic court or local municipal to get the conviction lifted.
New Jersey is one of the most difficult states to drive in due to its high population and specific traffic regulations. If you are faced with penalties for a traffic offense, give me a call today for a consultation. I will fight for your rights and create a legal approach that will generate a better outcome for your situation.
Sobriety checkpoints may cause a hassle for motorists trying to make it home on time to celebrate the holidays, but when it comes down to it, many a life has been saved through routine checks of driver intoxication on the days statistically linked to greater rates of drunk driving.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years’ are all cause for celebration, and accordingly, individuals are both more likely to drink to excess and drive further distances, both on and around the actual holidays. This is the reason for increased police presence and greater instances of sobriety checkpoints on or around these dates.
If you find yourself approaching a DUI checkpoint this holiday season, and are concerned about ensuring your rights are fully protected while being checked for signs of impairment or intoxication, take my advice – as a criminal lawyer serving Haddonfield and other areas of New Jersey, I have worked to represent hundreds of defendants in DUI and DWI cases.
What can I expect?
It is important to know what to anticipate during a DUI checkpoint, in order to understand (and possibly recall later) if police are acting in a manner consistent with your constitutional rights. One checkpoint can be very different from the next, and operations vary by state, according to what is allowed on the part of the authorities.
In the state of New Jersey, police will most likely check your tags and licenses, peer into the vehicle for any signs of intoxication, such as open containers of alcoholic beverages, and briefly assess the condition of the driver by smelling for alcohol on their breath and looking for signs of impairment.
Are police able to search my car?
Constitutional rights still apply at checkpoints, and unless police have probable cause to believe that you are under the influence, they are not permitted to forcibly search your car. While you can permit them to do so, it is not recommended, and you are not required to do so – even if the request is couched in language that makes it seem as if allowing the search will end the encounter more quickly.
You are also not required to answer any questions, or admit to breaking the law in any way when asked.
Police are legally allowed to use drug sniffing dogs during checkpoint operations, and while a positive “sniff” can serve as probable cause to search a vehicle, this is still no reason to waive one’s rights.
What steps can I take to protect myself if accused of a DUI/DWI?
It is absolutely imperative that you contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. In general, while it is important that you cooperate with the police, you should not waive your right to remain silent; the less you say about your situation, the less can be construed as a confession. Make calling a lawyer the first action you take, in order to avoid any missteps that could destroy certain legal pathways you may otherwise have open to you after the fact.
If your child is accused of a crime, one of the first things you will want to do is acquaint yourself with the differences between the adult criminal system and that which exclusively tries children (minors younger than age 18). Understanding how these systems are designed to suit specific crimes, yet share some overlapping traits and rights can help better inform you on how to proceed in the event that your child is being prosecuted for a crime.
Despite charges that juvenile and adult courts are becoming increasingly similar (i.e., that courts are becoming harder on children, and that children are increasingly tried as adults – usually reserved for cases that are especially violent or sexual in nature), there remains many significant differences between the two.
Different terminology. To reflect some of the differences in procedure, terms unique to the juvenile court system are employed during trials and in legal files. Some differences include “Minor” in place of “Defendant”, “Adjudication” in place of “Trial”, “Delinquent act” for “crime”, and “Petition” rather than “Complaint”, amongst others.
No jury trials in juvenile court. In perhaps the biggest difference between the two systems, juveniles do not have the right to a trial by jury – instead, they will take their case to a judge or a bench officer, who will adjudicate the case in Family Court.
No right to bail. Rather than posting bail to get your child out of jail, you must wait to see if a court decides whether or not your child will be released.
Private hearings. Unlike most adult trials, hearings in Juvenile Court are closed off to the public, with the exception of offenses deemed serious and/or violent. This helps protect a minor later, if their record is expunged upon reaching age 18.
Parental/guardian questioning. Parents or guardians of a minor accused of a crime will very likely be questioned in court during a hearing, regarding their child’s behavior, home life, and other information. These responses can change the way a court handles a case, and it is wise to consult with a defense attorney prior to a hearing.
Greater opportunities for probation or diversionary programs. While theaim of adult jail is to punish, juvenile courts exist to help rehabilitate children, as well as provide them with a second chance to get their life on a productive path. Accordingly, many plans exist to keep a child out of a juvenile detention facility and, in turn, out of jail in their future; but oftentimes, it requires the skills of an experienced attorney to advocate for these alternative programs.
There are several extremely important similarities between the two systems that every individual whose child has been accused of a crime should know. Police and investigators will not make these or other aspects of the system abundantly clear, meaning parents may not know when their child’s rights are being violated.
Right to an attorney. Unlike adult criminal court, every child must be represented by an attorney throughout the Juvenile Court Process, once the child has been charged with a crime. You also have the right at any time in the process to change from a public defender to a defense attorney who specializes in juvenile law.
The right against self-incrimination, i.e. the ability to plead the 5th. Children, like adults, can invoke the 5th amendment in order to protect themselves from self-incrimination both on the witness stand and off.
The right to cross-examine witnesses. While adjudications in juvenile court are not, as mentioned, trials by jury, defense lawyers still have the right to cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution, giving the opportunity to show both sides of a situation as it may have occurred.
Juvenile law is a complicated and emotional field, and it takes a lawyer who has spent years working with minors to ensure that your child will receive the personalized attention they deserve. Leaving your child in the hands of the public legal system can have dire consequences. If you are concerned about your child’s future due to a recent brush with the law, contact Charles Block today.
Purchasing a house is usually the largest single expenditure that you’ll make in a lifetime. Many people view the home-buying process as a transaction but, in reality, it is just as much a legal procedure as it is an exchange of funds for property. It is important to obtain the services of a lawyer in order to protect your assets and make sure that the purchase agreement is executed in a manner that corresponds with your requirements for your new home. We’ve outlined just a few of the reasons why hiring a lawyer to assist you in the purchase of your home is a wise investment in your future.
1) Advice and Guidance. While a real estate broker will explain the process of home buying and your agency will do the best to make a sale, a lawyer is hired specifically for the purpose of handling your affairs and taking your side should a legal dispute arise. An attorney specializing in real estate can explain the terms of an agreement in plain English, as well as revise the agreement if it becomes necessary, and make sure it was properly signed. Lawyers with expertise in real estate law are also able to answer important questions surrounding the purchase of a home and their legal rights and responsibilities.
2) Special Circumstances. A purchase agreement is often made to fit a generic format that might not apply to the home you are looking to buy or sell. Hiring a lawyer to review this type of “standard form” and amend it if need be will make the end agreement better fit your desires. “Special circumstances” are not rare, and would apply to any sale of a property where anything is not perfectly in order. Some purchase agreement topics that may require legal assistance include: legal or illegal alteration of property, dangerous conditions such as hazardous waste, pests, asbestos or lead paint discovered after inspection, and deciding how a buyer will ultimately pay for their new home.
3) You are buying or selling a home in an unfamiliar place. If you are buying a home far from your current location (especially out-of-state), or selling one that is not nearby (perhaps belonging to a deceased relative), the home buying or selling process will be complicated even further. A real estate attorney will have more information on the inter-state purchasing process than a realtor, whose licensing education is mostly based on the contracts used in the state where they are holding their license.
4) Peacekeeping. Ultimately, a real estate attorney’s job is to make a contract come together, and to work through any issues the buyer, seller and broker may encounter in coming to an agreement. As the lawyer enters the picture after the price and terms are set by realtors, their job is mainly to negotiate and collaborate with the parties involved in the home inspection, contract and title company.
For more information about what a qualified real estate attorney can do for you during the home buying process, give us a call.
Immediately after an arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), or any number of charges that can stem from the combination of motor vehicles and alcohol/drugs, your future may seem bleak. Sophisticated devices used in field sobriety tests, such as breath, urine and blood tests, may make it seem as if confessing all, pleading guilty, and/or relying on the services of an overworked Public Defender is the only logical option, given the evidence against you.
In reality, however, regardless of how hopeless your situation may seem, there are many measures that a dedicated attorney with years of experience practicing Criminal Law can take to eliminate or drastically lessen charges, saving you money, negative consequences and even hard time.
Always remember: the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. A good DUI/DWI attorney may be able to challenge the evidence against you into sufficient question.
Examination of errors in DUI/DWI arrest procedures, especially field tests.
Alcotest machines and field sobriety tests are far from foolproof, and can be rendered invalid through a variety of different standard errors made by their administrator. Failure on the part of a police officer to [properly operate an Alcotest machine prior to each test, for example, can be grounds for invalidating the results. If this evidence cannot be used in court, it may destroy the case against you. The rules regarding urine and blood specimens taken at police stations and hospitals are very strict, and discovering a simple breach in protocol can cause these results to be thrown out, as well.
Skilled DUI/DWI attorneys know exactly how to trace the use of these field tests and devices in order to determine if the proper steps were taken prior to your arrest.
Discovering a violation of your rights.
Bringing a violation of your legal rights to light is one of the strongest defenses possible against a DUI/DWI charge. This is one of the primary reasons it is imperative to hire a DUI/DWI attorney immediately following an arrest; your memories of the event may be clearest shortly after it has occurred, and piecing together clues that could lead to evidence of careless and improper illegal police work which may work towards a dismissal of your charges
Finding and thoroughly interviewing witnesses.
Witnesses can serve a variety of purposes when compiling a legal defense. These individuals can provide cause to dispute the evidence provided by the police through verified reports that conflict with those of the attending law enforcement officers, helping to build a case for your future. Either way, a qualified DUI/DWI attorney will know where to look for useful witnesses, as well as possess the time to do so; a public defender may be overwhelmed with other cases and thus unable to dedicate the time and attention your case deserves.
For a DUI/DWI attorney with decades of experience helping clients receive a second chance, post-DUI or DWI arrest, call the Law Offices of Charles Block. As a dedicated Criminal Attorney, Charles Block provides clients with non-judgmental legal counsel, communicated clearly throughout the legal process. Visit our Contact page to set up an appointment to discuss your DUI or DWI arrest.
Bullying in schools – or outside of them, for that matter – is hardly a new problem, and is moreover one that teachers, parents and the courts have long been torn on how to combat. The advent of the internet and the ubiquitous use of social media amongst teenagers and even younger children has opened the floodgates for bullying to take on an online persona; we call this use of the internet to harass, intimidate or generally cause harm to another person “cyberbullying.” Below is some information on the current legal status of this form of bullying.
Is cyberbullying against the law?
Cyberbullying currently rests in a legal “gray area,” with some recent high-profile court decisions seeming to indicate that the law is coming down hard on children (and adults) accused of using the internet to harm others. Cyberbullying itself is not a crime, much as there is no federal law that specifically applies to bullying; rather, in serious cases of bullying, a child can be charged with harassment, assault and other misdemeanor crimes and even felonies. Although cyberbullying is an inherently non-physical crime and thus unlikely to bring assault charges, criminal harassment statutes can provide a pathway to prosecution in serious cases. More recently, due to several highly visible stories of suicides occurring after online harassment, suicides by children and teens that were ruled to have had a root cause in cyberbullying have led to the arrest of the alleged cyberbullies, the implication being that the death was in some way caused by their actions. In the case of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, her alleged bullies were arrested on charges of aggravated stalking, a 3rd degree felony.
Furthermore, in cases in which a sexualized photo of an underage victim is distributed online as a form of harassment and/or intimidation (and even in cases where the intent was not necessarily malicious), charges can include not just harassment but possession and distribution of child pornography, regardless of the age of the possessor.
What Can I Do If My Child Is Accused of Cyberbullying?
Schools and courts are beginning to crack down on defendants accused of cyberbullying, in part because of a widespread movement to acknowledge the emotional and physical harm that bullying of any form can lead to. Because of so many recent high-publicity incidents, including suicides and school shootings, in which bullying is suspected to have played a key role in causing the tragedies, the judicial trend has been towards greater accountability on the part of the accused. In short, accusations of cyberbullying are not to be taken lightly.
Contacting a lawyer who specializes in juvenile law immediately upon learning of accusations is the best first measure you can take to protect your child. The process of trying a juvenile is substantially different than that of an adult, and it’s well-advised to work with a lawyer who is experienced and skilled in this department. This can mean the difference between years in a state facility vs. rehabilitation and a second chance.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you and your child may need legal services because of cyberbullying or other cybercrimes, contact us to work with the law office of Charles J. Block to give your child the opportunity for a second chance. If your child has been ACCUSED BUT NOT YET CHARGED with a crime, we may be able to prevent the filing of formal charges.