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NJ Criminal Defense: New Bill Could Change Spousal Privilege

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Dec 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

Communication between spouses may not be used as evidence in court during criminal investigation. Spousal privilege is an important right that protects people's marriages from being exposed in court. However, the New Jersey Assembly passed a new bill on Dec. 15 that would allow for an exception to spousal privilege if the other chamber of the legislature also passes it. The bill passed the Assembly unanimously (73-0).
This new crime-fraud exception would nullify spousal privilege “if the communication relates to an ongoing or future crime or fraud in which the spouses or partners were or are joint participants at the time of the communication.”
If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, make sure you are protecting your rights. If you have questions about what those rights are and how best to protect them, ask a qualified NJ criminal defense lawyer.
If this bill is passed into law, it could change the outcome of many future criminal investigations and trials. Unfortunately, it could also reduce the privacy that many civil unions and marriages in New Jersey enjoy on a regular basis. But, proponents of the bill argue that spousal privilege, which is meant to protect privacy rights, is being used to disrupt criminal investigations.
“The marital communications privilege is meant to encourage marital harmony, not to protect the planning or commission of crimes,” Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said.
During a criminal investigation and trial, it is of the utmost importance to protect your rights. The prosecution may use a variety of tactics to achieve a conviction, but your rights must be respected in accordance with New Jersey state law. The NJ criminal defense landscape is constantly changing because of bills like the one intended to reduce marital privilege, but your criminal defense attorney should be well-versed in these changes. Make sure you choose a lawyer who adapts with the changing laws and has experience protecting the rights of clients in New Jersey during criminal investigations.
Do you need a NJ criminal defense lawyer to help you during a criminal investigation or trial? Contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. to begin building a strong defense strategy. Our criminal defense lawyers are available 24/7 for a free consultation. Don't hesitate to reach out to Villani & DeLuca today.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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