Evesham Township Traffic Stop Leads to Firearm Charges

Evesham NJ Gun Possession ChargesAfter a traffic stop in Evesham Township, New Jersey, a Burlington man is facing serious weapons charges for unlawful possession of a handgun and other weapons.

The aforementioned motor vehicle stop occurred in the vicinity of Ardsley Drive on Route 73 in Evesham Township at approximately 6:35 p.m. on Friday, October 13th. Officers from the Evesham Police Department pulled over a vehicle containing four occupants, one of whom was 28-year-old Burlington resident Christopher Miles.

Under suspicion that there were drugs inside the car, officers told the driver and passengers to exit before they conducted a search. All of the car’s occupants exited aside from Miles, who was sitting in the back seat. When he finally did get out of the car, officers say he dropped a loaded handgun with a high-capacity magazine. The gun was defaced, which is a separate crime under New Jersey weapons law.

Miles was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a defaced firearm, and possession of a high-capacity magazine. He was being held in Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly, NJ prior to a bail hearing. He is now facing serious consequences, as it is typically a second degree crime in New Jersey to possess a handgun without a valid carry permit. If you are charged with second degree gun possession, not only are you facing 5 to 10 years in NJ State Prison, but this charge is subject to sentencing under the Graves Act. The Graves Act requires those convicted to serve between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater, before becoming eligible for parole.

As for the charges associated with the defaced firearm, this is also considered a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, the unlawful possession of a weapon statute. Possession of a defaced firearm in New Jersey is typically a fourth degree crime. This is an indictable offense, also known as a felony, which exposes you to up to 18 months incarceration.

Obviously, the charges in this case are severe. However, there are many potential defenses that an experienced criminal defense attorney may use to beat them. For instance, was there probable cause for the initial motor vehicle stop? If not, the resulting evidence obtained is inadmissible in court. Similarly, if the police did not have reasonable belief that a crime was being committed when they searched the vehicle, the weapons allegedly retrieved may not be allowed into evidence.

Contact Evesham NJ Unlawful Handgun Possession Attorneys

If you are facing weapons charges in Burlington County or elsewhere in South Jersey, it is critical to enlist knowledgeable legal counsel. Leonard Biddison is a veteran criminal defense lawyer who has won numerous weapons cases over the course of his over 20-year career. Mr. Biddison thoroughly investigates each case with the help of his private investigator, a former New Jersey State Trooper, to identify potential violations of his clients’ rights. He uses the specific facts of your case to undermine the State’s arguments and aggressively pursues the best possible outcome. For more information and a free consultation about your gun or weapons charges, contact The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison online or by phone at 856-427-6888.

For additional information related to this case, visit the following: Burlington man accused of carrying defaced loaded handgun

How to File a Restraining Order in Burlington County NJ

Restraining Order in Burlington County NJIf you are wondering how to file a restraining order against someone in Burlington County or elsewhere in New Jersey, there are some things you need to know about the process. At The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison, our restraining order attorneys regularly assist clients involved in domestic violence cases in Evesham Township, Willingboro, Mount Laurel, Mount Holly, and throughout South Jersey. In this article, we outline the specific process for obtaining a restraining order in New Jersey, from filing for the initial Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to the hearing for the Final Restraining Order (FRO). Read on to learn more about how to get a restraining order in NJ and please contact our office in Collingswood anytime for a free consultation about your specific case. We are available immediately to assist you at (856) 427-6888.

How to File a Restraining Order in New Jersey

In order to get a temporary restraining order in New Jersey, you need to first go to the local court or police department. You have several options for where to file a complaint for a restraining order: you can either go to the local police department, to the local municipal court, or to the county Superior Court. If you are planning to file at a court, you must go during court hours, which are typically Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you need to obtain a restraining order during off-hours, the local police department is often the best option.

In terms of which court or police department you should go to, you can either file in the county where you live, where you are currently staying, where the other party resides, or where the alleged domestic violence incident occurred (NJ Rule 5:7A). If this applies in Burlington County, you will go to the Burlington County Superior Court, Family Division, which is located at 49 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060. You can reach the main court office at 609-518-2600. For more information about Burlington County Superior Court, you can also visit their website.

When you are filing the initial documents, you will need to provide identification, so make sure to bring your driver’s license or another form of ID. They will also ask you some questions about the person you are seeking the protective order against, such as his or her address, phone number, location of employment, what type of car they drive, the vehicle’s license plate number, if they have a history of substance abuse, and if they are in possession of a firearm. If you don’t know the answers to all of these questions, don’t worry. Simply provide as much information as you can.

Are You a “Victim” under the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act?

In order to file a restraining order in New Jersey, you need to meet one of the criteria for a “victim” under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. This means you and the other party must have been married, dating, living together, or had a child together in the past. It could be a recent break-up or a relationship that ended long ago. The important thing is that you and the person were connected in one of these ways because this makes you eligible for a temporary restraining order under NJ Law.

How is a Temporary Restraining Order Issued?

If you are recognized as a protected person in relation to the party you are seeking the restraining order against, then you file the paperwork applying for a TRO per the process explained above. After that, a judge must decide whether or not to issue a temporary restraining order in your specific case. In order to determine this, you will either appear before a judge and give testimony under oath or if you cannot appear in court, you will be required to provide a signed, sworn statement that will be communicated to a judge over the phone.

What is Included in a TRO in New Jersey?

In your initial application for a restraining order you must explain the grounds that you have for obtaining a TRO. In New Jersey, this means that the defendant (meaning the person you are seeking the restraining order against) must have committed a predicate act of domestic violence. There are numerous offenses that are considered domestic violence, including stalking, harassment, simple assault, and terroristic threats. You can allege more than one if there are several that apply in your case. You must also explain that there is a history of domestic violence in your relationship. In other words, what acts of domestic abuse have occurred in the past between you and the other person? Lastly, the circumstances must demonstrate that a reasonable person would be in fear for his or her safety and need a restraining order to be protected from the person perpetrating the abuse.

What Happens after a Temporary Restraining Order?

If a judge places a temporary restraining order into effect, this serves as an “ex parte” protective order that prohibits the other person from contacting you or coming anywhere near you until the final restraining order hearing. A TRO can include specific places where the defendant cannot go, such as your place of work, as well as other protected persons whom the defendant cannot contact, such as your parents or other loved ones. If you were living together, the person cannot return to your residence without a police escort at a scheduled date and time to retrieve personal belongings. Also, if you have children together, the judge will make a decision as to custody before the FRO hearing. If the person violates any of the provisions contained in the temporary restraining order, they can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense known as contempt. Generally, the hearing for the permanent restraining order must be scheduled within 10 days of the issuance of the TRO.

Need Help with a Restraining Order in Burlington County, New Jersey?

If you need help obtaining a restraining order in Burlington County or elsewhere in Southern New Jersey, The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison is here for you. We assist clients on a regular basis with restraining order matters and we will walk you through every phase of the process, answering your questions and making sure you feel informed and aggressively advocated for. Our South Jersey restraining order lawyers are happy to discuss your situation and provide you with a free consultation. Simply call (856) 427-6888 or contact us online today.

Pregnant Woman Won’t be Released after Aggravated Assault, Robbery Charges in Burlington County

Mount Holly NJ Aggravated Assault AttorneyAfter being charged with aggravated assault and robbery in Burlington County, a pregnant woman was released from prison pending her trial in Superior Court in Mount Holly. Burlington County prosecutors appealed the decision and an Appellate panel recently sided with the prosecution, ordering the woman back to pre-trial detention.

This case involves 20-year-old Imani Williams, who was charged with aggravated assault and robbery after allegedly attacking and robbing a female victim in June. Williams is accused of jumping the woman from behind, punching and kicking her, and stealing cash from her handbag. During a pretrial detention hearing in Burlington County Superior Court, a judge ordered Williams to be released pending her trial.

The circumstances of this case are unique, as Williams was 8 weeks pregnant when the judge made the decision. Williams reportedly has a criminal history and several instances where she failed to appear in court. She argued for her release based on the fact that she is pregnant and has a full-time job. The judge ordered her conditional release, subject to a curfew and regular reporting in person.

Shortly thereafter, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision, arguing that Williams may be prone to violence and failure to appear based of her history. Using the new assessment scales under New Jersey’s new bail reform system, Williams scored high for new criminal activity and failure to appear.

On Friday, a three-judge appellate panel ruled in favor of the prosecution’s arguments. In its decision, the appellate court explained that Williams’ pregnancy was given  “undue weight” during her pretrial detention determination. They went on to say:

“Pregnancy, like any other medical condition, is only considered for its impact on the risk of a defendant posing a danger to the community, obstructing justice or failing to appear in court…Although the trial judge here properly considered several of the listed applicable factors, he elevated defendant’s medical condition of pregnancy above all of the other pertinent factors, based on his unfounded speculation that her pregnancy might cause ‘issues’ to the correctional facility.”

The court did note that in certain cases, a defendant’s pregnancy may have a more significant influence on her health or ability to appear in court . For example, a high-risk pregnancy may be considered a special circumstance. However, in this case, the mere fact that Williams is pregnant does not preclude her from being subject to the same risk assessment scale as any other defendant facing charges for violent crimes.

Mount Holly Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been charged with aggravated assault, robbery, or another violent crime in Mount Holly or elsewhere in Burlington County, the highly experienced criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison are dedicated to defending your innocence. Our attorneys have the knowledge and skill to combat your charges and we have been successfully representing clients in courts throughout South Jersey for over 20 years. Contact us anytime at 856-427-6888 or online for a free consultation about your case.

For additional information regarding this case, access the following article: Pregnancy isn’t a get out of jail free card, court rules

Gloucester County Man Had Multiple DWI Charges before Fatal Car Accident

Monroeville NJ DWI LawyersAuthorities say the Monroeville man who was responsible for a fatal car accident was driving under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash. He is also said to have multiple DWI convictions on his record.

According to officials from the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, 41-year-old Monroeville resident Emilio Ortega III was driving under the influence of narcotics when he struck a husband and wife who were riding bicycles on Delsea Drive in Franklin Township on February 15th. The 57-year-old female victim died as a result of the collision.

Following the fatal crash, Ortega was reportedly found in possession of Xanax. He also tested positive for what was described as a “very high level” of narcotics. According to the Assistant Prosecutor, Ortega has a record that includes multiple convictions for DWI, as well as a drug charge. Specifically, Ortega has two DWI offenses and two DWI suspensions on his record in connection with four separate incidents in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Now, Ortega is facing charges for first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree vehicular homicide, third-degree assault by auto, and third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges recently, and the plea offer on the table is 16 years in NJ State Prison. For the aggravated manslaughter charge alone, Ortega could be sentenced to a prison term between 10 and 30 years, 85% of which must be served before he becomes eligible for parole (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4).

Obviously in this case, the defendant is facing a variety of extremely serious criminal charges. But this situation also raises an important issue about DWI in New Jersey. Although this incident technically represents Ortega’s third DWI offense, it may be charged as a first or second offense depending on the specific dates of the first two offenses. Under NJ DWI law, a person is eligible for a 10-year step down if their last DWI conviction occurred over 10 years prior to the current one. In other words, if your first DWI occurred in 2006 and your second occurred in 2017, you should be charged with another first offense DWI and thus, subject to less severe penalties than a second DWI offense.

The number of previous DWI convictions in any driving under the influence case is extremely significant because the penalties become more severe based on the number of prior DUI’s (if any). For instance, your third DWI conviction will result in a 10-year driver’s license suspension. On the other hand, a second DWI offense is punishable by a 2-year suspension and a first offense has a maximum license suspension of 1 year. If there is a possible 10-year step down issue in your DWI case, an experienced New Jersey DWI defense lawyer can argue to have the charge downgraded from a third to second or second to first.

Experienced Monroeville DWI Defense Lawyers

If you have been arrested for drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs, The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison is here to assist you. Our highly experienced DUI defense attorneys fight for clients charged with DWI in courts in Monroeville, Gloucester County, and throughout South Jersey on a regular basis. Our team includes a former NJ State Trooper who now serves as our private investigator. The head of our firm, Leonard Biddison, has earned several awards for his excellence in criminal and DWI defense. In other words, we are fully prepared to effectively combat your charges and if possible, get your case dismissed. For a free consultation with a Gloucester County DWI defense lawyer, contact our offices today at 856.427.6888 or online.

For additional information related to this case, access the following article: Motorist charged in death of bicyclist had prior DWIs

Burlington Township Woman Arrested for Methamphetamine “Meth” after Drug Raid

Methamphetamine Charges Lawyers Burlington NJAfter a coordinated narcotics investigation, authorities executed a search warrant at a residence in Burlington Township that resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine, marijuana, prescription drugs, and drug paraphernalia.

Members of the Burlington Township Police Department; the Middletown Township Police Department; the Burlington County Guns, Gangs and Narcotics Task Force; and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force raided a home on Autumn Lane in Burlington Township on Thursday, September 14th.

The drug raid was the result of a joint investigation among these agencies and led to the arrest of 60-year-old Burlington Township resident Nora Kenyon. As a product of the search, law enforcement officials retrieved methamphetamine, marijuana, several types of prescription medications, and drug packaging materials.

Kenyon was charged with a host of serious drug crimes, including distribution of methamphetamine, possession of prescription drugs with intent to distribute, illegal possession of prescription drugs, possession of marijuana under 50 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Notably, the charges for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia are relatively less severe than those for distribution and possession with intent to distribute.

Criminal Charges for Methamphetamine Distribution and Intent to Distribute

Distribution of methamphetamine in New Jersey is an indictable crime in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. The degree of a charge for distribution of meth or possession with intent to distribute will depend on the specific amount of meth involved. Specifically, if you are found with 5 or more ounces of meth, this is a first degree criminal charge, punishable by between 10 and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $300,000. If your case involves between 0.5 ounces and 5 ounces of methamphetamine, this is a second degree crime that exposes you to between 5 and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Lastly, selling or possessing meth with intent to sell involving less than 0.5 ounces is a third degree crime that entails a 3 to 5-year prison term and a fine of up to $75,000.

In cases involving methamphetamine distribution in New Jersey, the amount of meth necessary to elevate the degree of crime is relatively lower than that of other drug distribution charges. In other words, you need to have a relatively small amount of meth to qualify for a serious felony offense in New Jersey. As for prescription drug distribution, the degree of these charges are determined by the number or units or pills that you allegedly possessed with intent to distribute. In this case, the presence of drug packaging or distribution materials in the home will likely be used to establish the intent to distribute drugs. Considering the severity of the penalties the defendant is facing, it will be critical to challenge the State’s case in every possible aspect.

Contact a Burlington Township Drug Defense Lawyer for Immediate Assistance

At The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison, our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience defending clients against drug charges in Burlington Township, Burlington County, and throughout South Jersey. Our firm’s founder, Leonard Biddison, has decades of knowledge and skill when it comes to drug defense and his award-winning reputation speaks for itself. For example, Mr. Biddison was named among the Top 100 Criminal Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Assocation. If you were arrested for methamphetamine or another drug possession or distribution offense in New Jersey, contact our offices for a free consultation at 856-427-6888.

For additional information regarding this case, access the following article: Narcotics Raid Leads to Arrest and Seizure of Methamphetamine


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