What You Need to Know about Cyberbullying

June 9th, 2015

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.

What Can Happen When an Adolescent is Detained

May 27th, 2015

The adolescence phase for many individuals, is a time of growing and changing in one’s life. A young mind takes learning and experience to figure out the right direction to take when it comes to making decisions. When teenagers make mistakes that result in breaking the law, the consequences can be life-changing and make the road for a bright future difficult. That’s why when it comes to the court of law, criminal juveniles are at an advantage when a lawyer is hired to defend their case. A highly-skilled and experienced lawyer can protect the rights of the juvenile and help the charges of his or her case becomes reduced or dropped.

 

Protecting the Rights of a Minor

As a juvenile criminal lawyer that has handled over hundreds of cases throughout the New Jersey area, I have assisted many young adults with achieving a less harsh outcome regarding their misdemeanor. If you are a juvenile that has been charged with a criminal offense, I can represent your case so that the best possible outcome can be achieved. Some of the sentences I can help you avoid include detention at a state facility, mandatory counseling, being charged as an adult and more. I feel that the future of young individuals is important and that they deserve a second chance at making things right.

 

How Police Handle Juvenile Violations

A good aspect to be aware of is how juveniles are dealt with by police. Whether the minor is referred by parents or school officials to the police, or arrested, there are a number of ways that law enforcement can handle a criminal statute. Depending on the alleged violation, the police officer will decide how the offense should be dealt with. This factor can be used in the argument of the juvenile’s defense in his or her favor.

 

For example, if the officer arrests the minor and does not state the Miranda warning, then whatever words were said by the minor cannot be used against him or her in the court of law. If the police officer detains the minor and does not allow him or her to call their parents or another guardian, it can be considered a denial of civil rights, making it viable in the minor’s defense. So, when police are dealing with the violation of a minor, what can happen?

 

The Choice of Law Enforcement

One option police officers have when dealing with a minor is to issue a warning. The minor can be detained, issued a warning, and then let go. Another option is to detain the minor until a parent comes to take custody of their child. If the officer arrests the minor, he or she could decide to place the juvenile in custody and refer the violation to juvenile court. Once this happens, a juvenile court intake officer or prosecutor takes over the case. At this point, the case is now in the prosecutors’ hands and that person may handle the mishap informally, dismiss the case, or petition the case.

 

If your child is faced with formal charges filed against him or her, then hiring a lawyer is highly recommended to obtain a result that will be a better outcome. Contact me, Charles Block, for a consultation today.

Do You Need A DUI Or DWI Attorney For Your Case?

April 30th, 2015

Do you really need a DUI or DWI attorney for your case?

If this is your first time being charged with either a DUI or DWI you might feel scared, nervous, angry, or a combination of all three. When your court date comes and you are standing in front of the judge without an attorney, you might feel even more emotional than when you received the DUI or DWI charge. Not only that, if you do not have an attorney, you will have no way to defend yourself from the police officer who charged you with the DUI or DWI. Sure, you might feel confident your argument could be better than his, but if you are indeed guilty, there will be little you can do to receive a lesser punishment.

Hiring a DUI/DWI attorney has many benefits.

A good DUI/DWI attorney will have a thorough understanding of the court system, be skilled in sentence and plea bargaining, as well as have the ability to easily navigate through all of the paperwork. Even though having an attorney has its benefits, if you know that you are guilty and just happen to be savvy in your state’s DUI/DWI laws and penalties, you might not want to spend the extra money to have a lawyer at your side. However, having a n attorney will always be beneficial no matter what.

A good DUI/DWI attorney will help you determine whether or not you should plead guilty.

You recently got pulled over and the police officer determined that your BAC was a little bit over the limit—maybe a .09. But, you were not driving erratically and you have never been pulled over before—for anything. Plus, you witnessed the officer fumbling around with an older-looking breathalyzer before he walked over and tested your BAC.

If something appears a little off about the scenario mentioned above, it is. The first thing the officer didn’t do was have you perform a field sobriety test. He automatically assumed you were way over the legal limit and pulled out his breathalyzer. Did he read you your chemical test rights? If not, this officer might have had another agenda.

If you believe that you should plead guilty in a situation such as this, think again. You should and need to call an attorney. There is a chance that the breathalyzer may have not gave the officer the correct reading, or after consulting with an attorney—you find that he failed to do his job correctly. These are all things a skilled DUI/DWI attorney will be able to discuss with you when you when you see them for a consultation.

On the other hand…

If you failed a field sobriety test, refused to take a breathalyzer test, and were in jail for the night, chances are a DUI/DWI attorney will not be able to help you. If anything, he or she will be able to get you a reduced sentence.

In the end, whether you need an attorney or not will be entirely dependent on if you want one. Some cases might need them, and others will not. If you are unsure if you do, you can always call Charles Block to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.

Top Ten Reasons to Hire an Attorney for Your Criminal Charge

March 18th, 2015

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, such as shoplifting or burglary, you are probably wondering if you should hire an attorney to represent you. With a court date looming up ahead and a sentencing to follow, you may be wondering and whether hiring an attorney is worth the investment. As an experienced attorney, I have represented numerous criminal cases and have succeeded in having robbery charges dropped or lowered in the New Jersey state. Rather than rely on a public defender to help you with your case, my legal services will assist you with handling and negotiating all aspects of your criminal charge.

 

There are a variety of reasons that you should opt for the professional legal services of an experienced defense attorney. Allowing an attorney to represent your case will benefit you greatly and may help you obtain a better outcome for your situation. Don’t take the chance of having a criminal charge marked on your record, spending time in jail and having to pay large fines. Give yourself the opportunity to have favorable results in your criminal charge. Below I have listed the top ten reasons why you should consider hiring a defense attorney to represent your criminal case.

 

  1. Evidence Errors – A lawyer will find issues with the evidence presented that may otherwise be unrecognizable.
  2. Paperwork Duty – In order to fill out paperwork correctly, a lawyer will help you. Administrative clerks do not help with this aspect, leaving you to do it on your own.
  3. Achieve a More Positive Outcome – With your assistance, your attorney will work with the prosecution to determine a decreased charge and plea deal.
  4. Witnesses – You may not know how to get in touch with a witness, but your lawyer will. A witness can help you in your case.
  5. Keep a Clean Record – Without a lawyer, you will not be able to have your criminal record eliminated.
  6. Submission and Deadlines – A legal professional will ensure that your paperwork is turned in on time.
  7. Expert Advice – The lawyer will provide you with all the information you need and can answer all of your questions.
  8. Save Money – Because your charges may be dropped or lowered, a lawyer on your side can prevent you from having to pay a bail and expensive fines.
  9. Less Stress and Worry – The amount of time it takes to handle a criminal case alone can take a toll on the emotional state of mind. A lawyer will take away this burden.
  10. Educate Yourself – Your attorney will make sure that you understand your rights and know what is happening in your case.

 

I, Charles Block, devote my time and energy to my clients. I will make sure that your rights are not violated, despite your accusation. Once you consult with me regarding your New Jersey burglary charges for the first time, I will help you understand the seriousness of your charges and devise a legal strategy to achieve a better outcome under your circumstance. Contact me today for a meeting by filling out the online form on my website, emailing me at Charles@CharlesBlock.com, or by calling 856-741-1495.

Law Enforcement Errors Made in a DUI or DWI Charge

February 18th, 2015

One of the largest advantages to reducing and avoiding a DUI or DWI conviction is the errors made by a police officer during the investigation. Some of the DUI cases I have handled throughout New Jersey had charges dismissed or reduced due to a cop’s mistakes in the arrest. I work with my clients who have been charged with a DUI or DWI in the Camden County NJ area to determine the best evidence that will defend their case. There are various mistakes that cops can make when charging a citizen with a DUI or DWI. Being aware of the faults of law enforcement officers can help determine an effective strategy for your DUI case.

 

An Unjustified Traffic Stop

If the police officer didn’t have a valid reason for pulling the driver over, it is considered an illegal stop. If this mistake occurs, all of the violations that were recorded could be suppressed by a written motion filed by my law service.

 

Sobriety Checkpoint Errors

Occasionally some officers do not adhere to the strict rules and regulations of the DUI checkpoint. This mistake alone can be challenged in the court of law.

 

Sobriety Test Misconduct

When a driver is asked to perform a sobriety test, sometimes the cop on duty may not consider the weather conditions, medical issues of the individual, fatigue, or pavement structure.

 

Breath Test Administration Faultiness

In some cases, the breath test is not administered correctly or police paperwork is filed wrong. The breathalyzer may be susceptible to producing skewed results. If this incident occurs, I can argue in your case that the DUI check was not conducted correctly.

 

If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI in the Gloucester County NJ area, consult with me today to determine your case.

 

The Steps of Expungement

January 27th, 2015

So you’ve made a mistake with the law in the past and now you are ready to put it behind you. However, your criminal record is getting in the way of your new beginning. You want to get a job but the criminal record keeps popping up, causing employers to turn you away. You are trying to buy a home but the record makes it impossible. Fortunately, there is a legal solution called an expungement that can seal your record and make it clean again. As an expungement attorney that serves the Camden County area, Charles Block can assist you with handling the process of clearing your record.

 

Charles Block has won numerous expungement cases for clients. When Clients hire Charles Block, they can expect to be represented by an experienced professional attorney who will fight for them to gain the clean record they need. There are a number of steps in the expungement process that must be taken to achieve a clean record, of which an attorney can assist you.

 

  1. Find out if you are eligible. Certain criminal records cannot be cleared, even through an expungement. In addition, if you have more than one criminal record they may not be subject to expungement.
  2. Gather and locate your record. You will need the information from your record to file an expungement. The documents will contain key information needed such as date of arrest, offenses, and date of conviction.
  3. Fill out and complete all the forms. These forms are used to file the petition to seal your record.
  4. File and serve the forms you completed to the court.
  5. Attend your hearing.
  6. Present the expungement order signed by the judge to all parties, including the chief of police, the warden, and the country prosecutor.

 

If you are looking to clear your record and are in search of an expungement attorney in the Gloucester area, contact Charles Block! Check out his website for more information.

 

What to Expect in Selling a Short Sale Property

December 23rd, 2014

So, you’ve come to the conclusion that you want to sell your home via a short sale. What comes next? If you’ve decided that a short sale is right for you, the most important aspect of the process is to close the transaction. While our real estate attorneys at Charles Block can assist you with your short sale, it is good to know what you should expect throughout the procedure. Of course, the main objective is to avoid foreclosure and put an end to paying for an expensive mortgage.

 

Negotiations Entail

A short sale will allow you to put your property on the market. When the transaction is complete, the lender will have agreed to release the loan on your home.  Keep in mind that short sales don’t always cancel the debt of a mortgage. Sometimes they request the deficiency to be paid or for the loan to continue in repayments. This where our attorneys come in to help – to conduct negotiations and represent you and your needs.

 

Selling the Short Sale

Even with a short sale transaction, you will still need plenty of time to sell your property. A short sale can take months to close. Once your property is sold, you will have to move immediately, so be prepared. In addition, approval from all parties involved in your property is needed in order to close. We also suggest educating yourself on short sale frauds so that you can be aware of it and protect yourself from being a victim.

 

For more information on short sales real estate cases, please feel free to explore our website!

 

Top Crimes Committed During The Holiday Season

November 25th, 2014

The 2014 holiday season is here.  Over the next month, people will be out shopping more than usual, decorating their homes as well as attending various holiday parties.  While the holidays are usually a time of happiness, there are many people that take advantage of the situation and the law during this time of year.  Therefore, what follows is a list of some of the top crimes committed during the holiday season.

Getting Your Identity Stolen

Even though this can happen at any time of the year, the risk for this happening around the holidays is heightened with more and more people using their credit cards in store and online.  In fact, back in 2013, millions of people who shopped at Target had their credit and debit card numbers stolen.  Not only was this a massive headache for Target, but the millions of people who shopped there were on high alert because of the fact that their identities might have been stolen, or they would have received miscellaneous charges to their card.  In the end, those who had shopped at Target during the security breach had their cards replaced and most monitored their accounts daily to ensure that they were not receiving any bogus charges.  Therefore, what are ways to prevent your identity being stolen?  Monitor your statements, and also pay attention to the news.  Even though banks are monitoring their clients’ accounts, they don’t catch everything so the key is to pay attention.

Stealing & Shoplifting

Not everyone has enough money to purchase the types of gifts they want.  So, what is one avenue they pursue?  Shoplifting.  Unfortunately, stealing merchandise is a lot easier to do during the holidays because of all the crowds as well as employees being more distracted than usual.  Although most employees are “trained” to single out a shoplifter, most cannot keep up and the company is forced to accept the loss.

DUI’s & DWI’s

While the holiday season is a time of celebrating, most people take it too far.  Unfortunately, drunk driving during this time of year is high.  Also, since the mid-2000s, the amount of accidents related to drug or alcohol has increased ever year.

It is a sad fact that there is such a high amount of crime committed during the holidays.  Those who need an attorney that is able to handle criminal law, DUI/DWI cases and more, feel free to contact Charles Block for a consultation regarding your case.

What Happens After You’re Arrested for a DUI ?

October 10th, 2014

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you may not remember the events that lead to your arrest. But chances are you are very clear about the events that followed.  The worst time to learn about the significance of a DUI is when it’s happening.  While experience is a great teacher, it may be helpful to know more about the legal process ahead of time.

Here’s what to expect in the state of New Jersey. 

Arraignment

The arraignment is the primal step of the criminal procedure. It takes place in a courtroom.  The purpose of the arraignment is to inform you of the charges you face. This is the time to enter a plea with the judge  – usually “guilty” or “not guilty.” There are other pleas, and it gets complicated, which is why at this point you are assigned a lawyer if you can’t afford one.

The Pre-trial Conference: continuance, plea bargain, suppression hearing, trial

Before the pre-trial conference, your lawyer should have received all evidence against you from the prosecutor’s office.  Sometimes there’s a delay in receiving the documentation.  When there’s a delay, your lawyer will ask for a “continuance.”  A continuance is granted if more time is needed to gather evidence.

If all the evidence has been received and reviewed by the date of the pre-trial conference, your lawyer and the prosecutor will discuss the merits of the case. Each nitpicks flaws in each other’s facts regarding the case and they will argue about what should happen. Sometimes there’ll be a reduction in the charges. Sometimes there’ll be a dismissal. Sometimes there’ll be a compromise.  When compromise isn’t possible, the case moves forward.

A suppression hearing occurs if your lawyer believes your constitutional rights were violated. This is the stage where your lawyer can move to quash evidence against you.  Many cases will be resolved at this point.

If your lawyer and the prosecutor have not agreed to a plea bargain, and your case wasn’t dismissed at a suppression hearing, a trial date will be set.  At the trail – which takes place in Municipal Court – a judge will examine evidence and hear testimony. The judge will decided your innocence or guilt as there are no trial juries in the state of New Jersey.

Sentencing

If found guilty at the trial, you will receive a punishment, also known as a sentence.  Receiving a sentence doesn’t always mean jail time. In some cases, you might receive a fine or community service. The possible sentences are fixed within the law of the offense.

Are you facing a DUI?

If you need a DUI lawyer in New Jersey, contact Charles Block.

 

 

New Jersey Takes Poll After Ray Rice Case: Should State Change Pre-Trial Intervention Program?

September 11th, 2014

After everyone has had a few days to process the recent Ray Rice controversy, many New Jersey residents (along with sport fans around the world) are asking the same question: Should New Jersey lawmakers change who is eligible for the pre-trial intervention program in order to avoid probation or jail time?

Rice, a former NFL star (now that he has been suspended indefinitely and released by the Baltimore Ravens), was charged with aggravated assault in February for attacking his then-fiancé (now wife) at Revel, an Atlantic City Casino. If convicted, he faced a possible sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison.

A request by Rice’s attorney for pre-trial intervention was granted by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. A pre-trial intervention program allows first-time offenders of 3rd or 4th degree crimes to avoid prosecution. If Rice meets the conditions of the program, his record will be cleared of the charge.

This past Monday, TMZ posted video of the violent attack in which Rice punched his wife and dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator. Since the video was made to be seen publicly, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney called to review the process in which the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office decided on whether or not the New Jersey PTI program needs to be changed.

Upon seeing the violent video, State Assemblyman Joseph Cryan plans to introduce a bill next Monday that would prohibit any individual who is charged with aggravated assault in a domestic violence case from entering the pre-trial intervention program.

Do you think it is time to change the law? If you have any questions concerning the current program for pretrial intervention in New Jersey, please contact Attorney Charles Block today.