Criminal Defense Lawyers

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New Jersey Criminal Lawyers

If you have been arrested or are under investigation for a criminal offense in New Jersey, it is critical you contact an experienced and knowledgeable NJ criminal defense lawyer to assist you right away. When searching for an NJ criminal defense attorney, you must evaluate their reputation, background, and experience. Our criminal attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are committed to providing strategic and aggressive representation with our client’s best interests in mind, and will make every effort to obtain the best result possible. The defense attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. have represented individuals throughout the State of New Jersey on all criminal matters, including drug offenses, theft, assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, fake ID, underage drinking, and more. Since no two cases are alike, we will spend the time to understand the facts and nuances in your case to assist you with the strongest defense. Whether this is your first criminal charge or if you have prior convictions on your record, we are here to help you get the best results possible in your criminal case.

N.J. Criminal Defense Attorneys & Former NJ Prosecutors

At Villani & DeLuca, P.C., our priority is getting you results. With experience representing clients charged with crimes throughout New Jersey, we have the knowledge and skill to thoroughly evaluate your case and strategize legal defenses that can be used to defend you against these allegations. We pride ourselves on treating clients with professionalism, courtesy and compassion. Carmine R. Villani, Esq., founding partner of Villani & DeLuca, P.C., is a former Municipal Prosecutor and is an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer. Mr. Villani represents clients with superior criminal defense representation in all areas of New Jersey. When you need a criminal lawyer in NJ, you can’t afford to waste time before seeking representation to defend yourself and your rights in court; your choice of legal counsel is important. We can help protect your rights from after your arrest through your trial and possible expungement. Our experienced criminal lawyers in New Jersey will handle the negotiations with the prosecution and judge, seeking reduced or dismissed charges.

If you or a family member have been charged with, or are being investigated for a criminal offense contact Partner, Carmine R. Villani, Esq. or Associate, Timothy L. Horn, Esq. at 732-709-7757 to schedule a free initial consultation.

How Can We Help?

If you are facing criminal charges in the State of New Jersey, there are many aspects of your case that could benefit from the knowledge of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The criminal defense lawyers at Villani & DeLuca are prepared to give you a detailed analysis of the potential outcome of your case. Knowing what to expect prior to your first court appearance to the possible jail, probation, PTI (Pretrial Intervention), conditional dismissal, fines, and penalties associated with your criminal charges are integral details when discussing your case with a potential criminal defense lawyer. 

A New Jersey defense attorney can evaluate whether you may be a proper candidate for a diversionary program which may result in the charges against you being dismissed at its conclusions, such as PTI and conditional dismissals. A New Jersey criminal lawyer can also determine whether Drug Court is available and advisable for certain drug offenses or whether ISP may be available in order to shorten the period of incarceration. 

Being charged with a criminal offense can be overwhelming and there is the potential for serious short- and long-term consequences. Whether you have no prior criminal history or have an existing criminal record, it is important to be prepared with the appropriate knowledge and information you need to make an informed decision as to hiring a defense attorney. Each person facing criminal charges has a unique set of facts and circumstances surrounding his or her case. Being charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey may entail court appearances, discussions with Municipal or County Prosecutors, and requires careful analysis of each fact surrounding the case to get the best possible result. The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Villani & DeLuca are prepared to assist in navigating and analyzing the unique facts of your matter so that your case is handled with a careful, well-thought-out defensive strategy. In some situations, original charges may be reduced or dismissed entirely, or a plea bargain can be negotiated with the State.  In other circumstances, a trial may be determined to be necessary. The defense attorneys at Villani & DeLuca are prepared to assist in defending you and your rights.

NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL CHARGES

The first step in reviewing your criminal charges is to evaluate the type and level of your charges. Criminal charges in New Jersey are broken into two categories: Crimes and Disorderly Persons Offenses. 

Crimes are essentially the equivalent of felonies and are broken down into degrees of first, second, third, or fourth degree. Crimes are dealt with in the Superior Court of New Jersey Criminal Division and generally handled by a County Prosecutor in the County where the incident occurred.

There are 21 counties in New Jersey and each county has a Superior Court and appointed County Prosecutor. The cases are generally assigned to an Assistant Prosecutor for Prosecution. The cases begin with a review and investigation by the Police, County, and/or investigators. An experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney will be in contact with the Assistant Prosecutor handling your case as early in the proceeding as possible. Often, the preliminary discussions result in a case being resolved before the matter is sent to the Grand Jury for the return of an indictment. Pre-indictment is often the best time to resolve a case. An experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney will know how to best resolve a criminal case based upon the facts of the case, the State’s evidence against a defendant, and the defendant’s prior criminal record. There are diversionary programs for persons with no or in some instances a minimal prior criminal record. Diversionary programs such as PTI (Pretrial Intervention) are often a good option for those seeking to avoid a criminal record resulting from a criminal conviction. 

If a matter is not designated as a “Crime” as defined in the New Jersey Statutes, it may be a Disorderly Persons Offense. Disorderly persons offenses, although criminal in nature, are a lower-level offense with no possibility of prison which in New Jersey is a period of incarceration beyond 364 days. Alternatively, “jail” generally refers to the County Jails. Disorderly persons Offenses carry a maximum period of incarceration of 6 months in County Jail and a $1,000.00 fine. However, in most cases, jail is not imposed. Jail is imposed in a situation where there may be aggravating factors or a Defendant with a significant criminal history.

WILL MY CASE BE HEARD IN MUNICIPAL COURT OR SUPERIOR COURT?

Municipal Courts are designated by the New Jersey Supreme Court to handle all Disorderly Persons matters with a max jail term of 6 months. Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses have a max jail term of 30 days. Traffic and motor vehicle violations and Township zoning and code violations of local ordinances are also within the jurisdiction of the Municipal Court.

Each New Jersey municipality has a Municipal Court. However, in recent years for budgeting and other reasons many joint or shared courts have developed. The joint or shared courts may handle the cases for multiple municipalities. Shared services resulted in many smaller towns holding court in neighboring town’s Courthouses. Each town has a Municipal Court Judge and Prosecutor and in most instances have their own Township Police Department. However, certain areas of a municipality may fall under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Police. Although the physical court may be in another Township the Judge, Prosecutor, and Police Department are generally from the municipality where the arrest or charge took place.

Municipal Courts use similar procedures, but because you have a different Judge and Prosecutor in each court the manner in which courts are conducted can vary town by town.There are 21 counties in New Jersey and within these counties are 565 municipalities which vary from Townships, Boroughs, Cities, and Villages. To find out more information about the Court where your case may be located, reference the below list containing all the Municipal Courts in New Jersey.

Criminal Law Practice Areas Include:

Assault Offenses (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1) – In New Jersey, an assault occurs when a person injures or attempts to injure another person without legal justification. Assault can be charged as either a simple assault or an aggravated assault.

Computer Crimes – With the growing popularity of computer use, the statutes governing computer crimes have been amended in recent years to keep up with the changing technology. All computer criminal activity is deemed an indictable criminal offense in New Jersey, ranging from first to fourth degree depending on the circumstances. A person is guilty of computer criminal activity if they purposely or knowingly access, alter, damage, take, copy or use any data, program, equipment, network, or other computer media from another without authorization. A person charged with committing a computer crime may also face a separate charge for wrongful computer access and, if found guilty, a separate sentence for each conviction.

Criminal Mischief (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3) –  Criminal mischief in New Jersey is a crime against someone else’s property. When one purposely damages another’s property or creates a situation of danger that jeopardizes someone else or their property, a criminal mischief charge is likely to follow. Depending on the monetary value of the damage done, a criminal mischief charge in New Jersey could be either a 3rd or 4th-degree crime. Both of these are very serious charges and can be damaging to an individual’s future employment and property rental prospects.

Disorderly Conduct (N.J.S.A .2C:33-2) – In New Jersey, laws against disorderly conduct criminalize a variety of disruptive or undesirable behaviors, everything from fighting to blocking a road, and from picketing a funeral to falsely reporting a fire. What all of these acts have in common is that they are likely to upset, anger, or annoy others.

Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders – Domestic violence is a serious matter, and committing it or being accused of it can result in life-changing consequences, whether in the form of criminal prosecution or having a restraining order being entered against the individual charged (which usually comes along with the criminal prosecution)

Drunk Driving (DWI/DUI) N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 Driving Under the Influence of prescription or illicit drugs – Every state deals with such cases differently, but regardless, driving while intoxicated is against the law in New Jersey (as it is everywhere across the nation). A person who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above is considered to be driving under the influence. New Jersey is a zero-tolerance state. New Jersey’s implied consent law requires you to take a breath test after an arrest for DWI. If you are detained and refuse you’ll be subject to the refusal penalties which in some instances can have a more harsh sentence than a first offense DWI. Blood alcohol concentration is measured through a breathalyzer or Alcotest®. BAC evidence is not necessarily required to prove a DWI in court, but without it, prosecutors must rely on police officer observations and a more subjective series of tests called Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST).  Therefore, you can be convicted of a DWI even without a blood alcohol reading if the officer testifies that in their opinion that you were drunk.

Fake ID’s (N.J.S.A 2C:21-2.1) – Falsifying government documents in New Jersey is a crime. Identity theft occurs when you obtain, possess, or use someone else’s information with the intent to later fraudulently use that information to your benefit.

Obstruction of Justice (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1) – Under New Jersey law, a charge of obstruction of justice is a disorderly person’s offense, commonly called a “misdemeanor” in other jurisdictions. A person obstructs justice if he or she purposely impairs the administration of law or other governmental function, or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function. Such an obstruction can be made through means such as flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference. While obstruction of justice is ordinarily a disorderly persons offense, it is raised to a fourth-degree crime if the actor interferes with the investigation of a crime or hinders the prosecution of a person for a crime.

Resisting Arrest (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2) = Under New Jersey’s resisting arrest law, a person is guilty when he or she purposely prevents a law enforcement officer from effecting a lawful arrest.

Theft Charges (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3) – New Jersey criminal statutes define theft as the “unlawful taking” or “exercising of control” over someone else’s property. The offender must act with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.

Trespassing (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3B) – An individual may be charged with trespassing in New Jersey under a variety of circumstances such as refusing to leave a bar or entering an unauthorized area of the property. Committing any of these acts, and countless others not mentioned here could result in a charge of trespassing being entered against you. Defiant trespassing is considered a petty disorderly offense. If convicted, you could receive up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500.00.

Criminal Charges We Defend in NJ

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Why Choose Us?

The team of criminal defense lawyers at the law firm of Villani & DeLuca has served the New Jersey community for over two decades. Villani & DeLuca’s criminal defense attorneys represent clients across the State of New Jersey who is charged with matters including traffic violations, disorderly persons offenses, disorderly conduct, theft, drug offenses, and assault charges in both Municipal and Superior Courts and have regularly appeared before local Judges and Prosecutors. Founding partner Carmine R. Villani has acted as a Municipal Prosecutor and Public Defender in various New Jersey municipalities and Partner Timothy L. Horn was a Judicial Clerk for a Superior Court Criminal Judge and has over a decade of experience representing defendants in criminal matters.   

If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, it is imperative that your case is handled by a criminal defense attorney with the appropriate knowledge and experience to get you the best possible results for your case. The defense attorneys at Villani & Deluca are dedicated to aggressively defending your case and we are committed to providing our clients with quality representation they can trust and rely on.

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Contact an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer for Help

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A conviction for a criminal offense in New Jersey can become part of your permanent record. If you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca have extensive knowledge of the New Jersey legal system and can begin building a strategy for your defense immediately. A criminal defense lawyer at our firm can speak with you regarding the charges you face, review the police report, answer any questions you may have, and let you know what the next steps should be to help ensure the best possible results. The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 732-709-7757. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation.