Attorney Jake Hudnut and a Spar Bernstein colleague, Paul Hirsh, answer questions on Marijuana laws in New York City.
Client was charged with aggravated assault and witness tampering, both in the first degree. Both charges carried 10- to 20-year sentences, which could have run consecutively and amounted to a life sentence. The pre-trial plea offer was more than ten years. Client maintained his innocence. This was not surprising; the complaining witness had a history of making false allegations against client, including in a case in which the jury acquitted client, having not believed the complaining witness. Prior to trial, I filed motions to dismiss the witness tampering (because the underlying case had been acquitted) and to introduce the witness’s prior inconsistent accusations. The plea offer was changed to two-year probation for a call client made to the complaining witness while a no-contact order was in place. Client was able to avoid jail time and continue working. Continue reading
Client was charged with distributing drugs to an undercover police officer. His plea offer included state prison. Mr. Hudnut investigated several alibi witnesses who stated that the client was in New York during the time of the alleged sale. No arrest had been made at the scene of the alleged sale and the identification procedure used by the police was poorly administrated. Upon presentation of the client’s alibi witnesses and a sound legal argument highlighting the deficiencies of the investigating police’s identification procedure, the charges were dismissed the day before jury selection was scheduled to begin. Continue reading
A client was charged with possessing 14 vials of cocaine with the intent to sell them. They were found in the lobby of an apartment building that the client was observed by police entering and existing with other individuals in between stretches of time standing on a nearby street corner. The State alleged that the client did not live in this building. The client’s plea offer was five years in New Jersey state prison with three-year parole ineligibility. If convicted, he faced upward of ten years in state prison with five-year parole ineligibility. Continue reading
Client was charged with possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute when three police officers alleged to have seen him run from them and toss the drugs on the ground. Over thirty vials of cocaine and heroine were recorded. Client – who was being treated with kidney dialysis three times a week – had a plea offer was five years in New Jersey State Prison and maintained his innocence. Continue reading
Client was charged with being the ring leader of a shoplifting scheme that stole over $100,000 from various departments stores New Jersey and New York. Client was related to the shoplifters, and her car was driven by some of the shoplifters, but no evidence put client in the stores at the time of the thefts or profiting from same. Client was an employed bus driver with no criminal record. Her plea offer was over five years in New Jersey State Prison.
Client was charged with first degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. Client accepted and signed for a package containing three kilograms of cocaine at the Union City Post Office. The package had been sent from Puerto Rico, and postal inspectors and local police had already determined through a lawfully-obtained search warrant that it contained cocaine. Client maintained that he was picking up the package for a friend as a favor and had no knowledge that it contained cocaine. His plea offer was ten years in state prison. Client maintained his innocence and proceeded to trial, where he faced up to twenty years in prison if convicted. After skillful cross-examination by the defense of the state’s witnesses – including a cooperating co-defendant – a jury found client not guilty of all charges and he went home to his family. Continue reading
Client was charged with two counts each of the following: unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and aggravated assault. Each set of counts was for a handgun and a bat that client was alleged to have used against two customers and a car dealership that he was employed at. Client and defense witnesses maintained that the two customers were the instigators and that client was acting in self-defense and defense of others (namely, the elderly owner of the dealership). Client faced a mandatory state prison sentence between five and ten years if found guilty at trial, with at least three-and-one-half years of a parole ineligibility.
After a lengthy trial, client was found not guilty by a jury of all counts except one. An application to the county’s assignment judge resulted in a probationary sentence for that one charge and client avoided any state prison charge. Continue reading
My client was charged with Criminal Contempt and Harassment. The State alleged that he violated a temporary restraining order (TRO) by calling his ex-girlfriend (who had sought the TRO) while incarcerated on other charges. The State further alleged my client threatened his ex-girlfriend in that same phone call. He faced up to six months in jail consecutive to the charges he was initially held on. Upon being retained, I immediately requested the jail’s phone records. Careful review of the phone records showed that, while he did dial the ex-girlfriend’s phone number, no call ever connected on the night that the complaint alleged. He did not violate the TRO and could not have harassed her. The charges were dismissed with prejudice.
My client was charged with attempted car theft. He faced up to five years in New Jersey state prison and immigration deportation. Careful review of the police investigation led to the charges being downgraded to a disorderly person (aka misdemeanor) offense with court fines only (no prison, no probation, and no deportation).
If you are accused of a crime or an offense, then it is important you retain the representation of a knowledgeable and aggressive defense attorney to advocate strongly on your behalf. Contact the firm today for a free consultation. Attorney Jake Hudnut is here to help!
Last month, my client, referred to here as “BR”, and I received long-awaited good news—Judge Young of the Superior Court allowed BR to withdraw a guilty plea that he entered with a prior attorney. Motions to withdraw a guilty plea prior to sentencing are controlled by State v. Slater, 198 N.J. 145 (2009), which, in short, requires a strong reason for withdraw and a colorful claim of innocence.
On March 18th, a felony car theft charge was dismissed against a client at Plea Cut Off. In New Jersey, under Court Rule 3:9-1, Plea Cut Off is the final court appearance at which time the Defense decides whether to take the State’s negotiated plea offer or proceed to trial on the original charges. In this case, defense investigation evidence had called the charge against my client into question. At the final status conference in February, the State was willing to amend the charge to a disorderly person offense (a.k.a. misdemeanor) with no prison time, but my client and I were confidently prepared to proceed to jury trial. This client was facing up to five years in State prison if convicted. But in the end, at Plea Cut Off, the State moved to dismiss the indictment.
In October, T.R. was arrested for allegedly violating the terms of a final restraining order, an offense that can carry a sentence of up to 18 months depending on the circumstances leading to the charge.
At trial call, my client and I were ready to go, with a defense witness present. A conference with the prosecutor led to the dismissal, on account of their being insufficient cause for the trial to proceed in light of the evidence and potential witness testimony. Continue reading
Last week, I successfully secured a dismissal of Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”)(N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) charges on behalf of a client. For defense attorneys, a DUI dismissal is arguably the brass ring of municipal court charges. This was my second DUI dismissal in less than eight months.
Last week, a client was arrested on a criminal charge of second degree sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c). Just a few weeks earlier, he was arrested on a disorderly person charge of contempt for violating a restraining order against the same complaining witness (his estranged ex-wife). Normally two arrests in this short of a period of time would compromise a defendant’s ability to enjoy a reasonable bail. Plus, our statewide bail schedule adopts a range for second degree sexual assault of at least $50,000 and as high as $200,000 cash or bond only. However, after a lengthy argument before a Superior Court judge of the Hudson Vicinage, my client’s bail was set at just $2,500 ($25,000 with a ten percent cash option). That is a 95% reduction from the statewide bail schedule’s approved range.