nj criminal lawyers

nj criminal lawyer

We are New Jersey criminal lawyers with nearly 30 years of experience concentrating our practice in the defense of criminal cases brought under state and federal law.

OUR COMMITMENT

We are committed to producing positive results for people and businesses through our knowledge, hard work, and nearly three decades of experience as criminal trial and appellate lawyers. Our attorneys believe that the presumption of innocence is the hallmark of the American criminal justice system. Applying our knowledge and experience to your case, we intend to make that presumption work for you.

We regard the representation of the accused to be the highest calling of the legal profession. We began our careers as criminal defense lawyers in 1983 in the tough city courtrooms of Philadelphia, and have remained true to that calling some 30 years later. When your liberty, employment and reputation are at stake, a dedicated advocate is your most valuable asset.

OUR SERVICES

We provide superior service during every phase of defending a criminal case – from investigating the crime scene, conducting the most up-to-date legal research, consulting with the most qualified experts, vigorously defending you in the courtroom, to negotiating on your behalf with prosecutors in the State, Federal, and Municipal courts of New Jersey. If you have already been convicted of a crime, you may have a basis to appeal the conviction, or to seek post-conviction relief, or an expungement of your record. Our lawyers are licensed to appear before the United States Supreme Court, and in the State and Federal courts of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and California. For detailed information about our practice and our approach to our work, click on a link to the right.

MEET WITH US

While you are visiting our web site, please take the time to carefully review the information about our defense strategy, the professional articles we have written, our biographical information, and our criminal defense blog. We have included information here to help you understand our unique approach to the defense of criminal cases in the State and Federal Courts. However, hiring a criminal defense lawyer is an important decision which should not be based solely on a web site or on an advertisement in the Yellow Pages. Before you decide on a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, schedule a meeting with us to discuss your case and how we can obtain a positive result for you.

Schwartz & Posnock

 4 Convenient Office Locations Phone: 732-544-1460Fax: 732-544-1462

Monmouth County

Essex County

Middlesex County

Union County

99 Corbett Way
Suite 203
Eatontown, NJ 07724
70 So. Orange Ave.
Suite 106
Livingston, NJ 07039
4G Auer Court
E. Brunswick, NJ 08816
2015 North Wood Ave.
Linden, NJ 07036
908-486-1713

 

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Juvenile Record Will No Longer Prevent Expungement of Adult Criminal Charges – The Criminal Defense Attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock Can Obtain an Expungement on Your Behalf

The New Jersey Supreme Court has decided that prior juvenile court convictions do not qualify as “prior crimes,” excluding expungement of an adult criminal record.

In the Matter of Expungement Application of D.J.B. was decided by the Court on January 23, 2014. While a teenager, D.J.B. was adjudged delinquent on several occasions for offenses that, if committed by an adult, would amount to indictable criminal charges, including burglary, theft, and various drug-related offenses.
D.J.B. also had an adult record, including a conviction for receiving stolen property.

Sixteen years later, D.J.B., who was married and had been gainfully employed for many years, filed a petition for expungement of the conviction and juvenile adjudications.

The trial judge ordered that the juvenile record be expunged but denied the petition to expunge the adult conviction. He held that the New Jersey expungement law prevented a petitioner with an indictable crime from obtaining expungement if he has a prior juvenile record of adjudication.

On appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, D.J.B. sought to expunge his criminal conviction for receiving stolen property. He argued that the law upon which the lower courts relied applies only to the way juvenile adjudications are evaluated for expungement and, therefore, a juvenile adjudication is not considered a “prior crime” and does not bar the expungement of an adult criminal conviction.

The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed, and held that an adult who is otherwise eligible for expungement of an adult conviction is not disqualified because of a prior juvenile adjudication.

In New Jersey, you are entitled to expungement of certain criminal offenses, as well as disorderly persons offenses, Municipal ordinance violations, and juvenile charges, whether or not they resulted in a conviction. The experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock can help you turn your life around by obtaining an expungement of your criminal record.

If you seek to expunge your adult or juvenile record, call Schwartz & Posnock for a consultation at any of our convenient offices in Monmouth County (Eatontown), Middlesex County (East Brunswick), and Essex County (Livingston), to discuss how we can assist you in obtaining a positive result in your case.

Criminal Discovery Demands By New Jersey Federal and State Criminal Defense Lawyers Need to Specifically Request Exculpatory Evidence

Every defendant in a federal or state criminal prosecution has a right to obtain exculpatory information that the prosecuting attorney has in his or her possession. Under the law, criminal defendants do not have to ask the prosecutor to disclose exculpatory evidence; rather, a prosecutor’s obligation to turn over exculpatory evidence is automatic. Practically speaking, however, reliance on the prosecutor, without more, to fulfill this obligation is not a good strategy to insure compliance.

To follow up on our recent post regarding a prosecutor’s obligation to disclose exculpatory information, at Schwartz & Posnock, we follow these simple steps to make sure that we obtain any Brady material that exists.
First, we make a detailed written discovery demand in every case. In each discovery demand we specifically request the disclosure of Brady material, and we do that in the number of, where the number of different contexts. For example, we specifically demand:

Favorable or Exculpatory Evidence: Any evidence, information, documents, and other materials favorable to the defendant in the possession of the Prosecutor or Attorney General, or of any police department involved in the investigation of the case against defendant, or of any agency or person and available to the prosecution through the exercise of due diligence, [Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83(1963)], including but not limited to the following:

  • The names and addresses of all witnesses to the above-referenced case, whether or not the State intends to call such witnesses at trial;
  • All statements regarding this case, whether written or oral, made by any witness in this case, whether or not the State intends to call such witnesses at trial;
  • The identity and whereabouts of any informants;
  • The names and addresses of all persons detained or arrested as suspects in this case and any statement or statements of such suspect(s);
  • Any information relevant to the credibility of any witness that the prosecution may call at trial, including the medical and psychiatric records of any alleged victim or witness which is in the possession of the Prosecutor or Attorney General;
  • Witness’ criminal records and impeachment evidence including all records of any felony or misdemeanor convictions and juvenile adjudications, and of the probationary status, whether felony or misdemeanor, and any other information relevant to impeachment of any witness to be called to testify against the defendant;
  • Agreements for Testimony: The full and completes statement, whether oral or written, of all promises, rewards and/or inducements of any kind made by the State, its prosecutors, agencies, or agents to induce or encourage the giving of testimony or information made to (1) any prospective witness whom the State intends to call as a witness at trial or any pre-trial hearing; (2) any witness who assisted the State in its investigation and preparation of the above-referenced case;
  • Any evidence to be used in rebuttal of the defense case; and
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses who may be called to testify pursuant regarding evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts to prove motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identify or absence or mistake or accident when such matters are relevant to a material issue in dispute.

To insure that the State or Federal prosecutor is in compliance with their obligations under Brady, it is good practice to periodically follow up on the initial written discovery request by sending supplemental written discovery demands to the prosecutor, reiterating the prosecutor’s obligation to disclose Brady material. As our investigation of a case continues and we learn more about the State or Government’s case as the investigation progresses, we may specifically refer to newly disclosed facts and reference those facts in our supplemental Brady demands.

To discuss our pre-trial investigative methods and our discovery techniques, call us at to schedule a consultation at our offices in Monmouth County (Eatontown); Middlesex County (East Brunswick); Union County (Linden), and Essex County (Livingston). At Schwartz & Posnock, we look forward to obtaining positive result for your case.

Schwartz & Posnock, New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers: Sentencing on a Federal Criminal Charge – An Introduction to the Process

Individuals who are charged with a federal criminal offense are often unfamiliar with the federal sentencing process. Federal court sentencing bears very little resemblance to sentencing in State court. We offer this series of blogs to give potential clients some basic information about federal court sentencing.

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Booker, that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines were advisory. Until the Supreme Court made the Booker ruling, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines were mandatory. The Guidelines controlled nearly every aspect of the individual’s sentence. Federal judges had very little discretion and often lamented that their role in sentencing was reduced to that of an actuary.

Even though the Guidelines are advisory, a sentencing judge must still consider the Guidelines in determining the appropriate sentence. In fact, consideration of the advisory Guideline sentence is the first step in the process of arriving at the appropritate sentence. Further, to illustrate the on-going vitality of the Guidelines, the Supreme Court has held that any sentence within the guideline range may be considered “presumptively reasonable.”

Thus, federal criminal defense attorneys must consider the sentencing guidelines calculation and the applicable guideline range in plea negotiations and, ultimately, the plea agreement.

Now, although federal judges must still consider the Guidelines, in determing the appropritate sentence, a court must also consider statutory concerns and objectives of the Sentencing Reform Act, which readers can find at 18 U.S.C. §3553(a).A federal court must consider the following factors:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant;
  • The need for the sentence imposed-
  • To reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense;
  • To afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;
  • To protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and
  • To provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner;
  • The kinds of sentences available;
  • The need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparity, and
  • The need to provide restitution to any victims

In the era of mandatory guidelines, federal criminal defense attorneys advocated for a sentencing court to recognize a “departure” under the guidelines, which, in very limited circumstances, allowed judges to depart downward from the mandatory guideline sentence. Very often, the basis for a departure was the substantial cooperation of a defendant with federal law enforcement investigations. However, a departure on these grounds was only available if the prosecutor agreed to the departure, and if the prosecutor made a motion to the court for a departure at the time of sentencing.

Rather than ask the court for a departure, federal crimiinal lawyers may now advocate for what is deemed a “variance” from the guideline sentence.

As a result, the nature of plea negotiations and plea agreements has changed to reflect this new sentencing landscape.

If you would like to consult with us with regard to plea negotiations and sentencing in a federal criminal case, please call Schwartz & Posnock at our offices in Monmouth County (Eatontown); Middlesex County (East Brunswick); Union County (Linden), and Essex County (Livingston).