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Newark Legal Issues Blog

Newark, New Jersey Criminal Defense Legal Blog

New Jersey police arrest 24 people during drug sweep

A year-long investigation involving the New Jersey State Police and more than 20 local police departments has led to the arrests of 24 individuals and the takedown of a major drug distribution network. The arrests were made on Dec. 19 when police executed search warrants at a warehouse on Park Avenue in Manalapan and a Monmouth Executive Airport hangar. The searches are said to have led to the seizure of about 1,100 pounds of marijuana and more than 6,000 flavored THC vaporizer cartridges. Police put the street value of the seized drugs at about $2 million.

The seizures and arrests were announced on Jan. 7. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office says that the individuals taken into custody sprayed the contents of the THC vaporizer cartridges onto candy that had been purchased at convenience stores. THC is the cannabinoid that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties.

AAA Foundation shows how distracting car safety systems can be

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a study out that shows how distracting the safety features on newer vehicles can be. Drivers in New Jersey should know that smartphones are far from the only source of distraction: Anything that causes a driver to become inattentive is a distraction, including eating and drinking.

The study focuses on two features, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, because many drivers are overestimating the abilities of these technologies to keep them safe on the road. What the former does is adjust a vehicle's speed to maintain a safe following distance. The latter prevents lane drifting. In neither case does the car become self-driving. Drivers are still required to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes open to their surroundings.

Forming a defense after a theft accusation in New Jersey

Being accused of theft can occur in a wide range of scenarios. Theft can occur in a corporate setting, and in this case, it may be classed as a white-collar crime. People can also be accused of theft in a retail environment, or in a situation where it is believed that a person unlawfully entered a private property and took items.

If you have been accused of any form of theft in New Jersey, it will be necessary to adequately defend yourself. Before doing so, take the time to understand how theft crimes are penalized in New Jersey.

A tool law enforcement is using to detect deception

New Jersey residents may be interested in learning about a tool out of the public eye that law enforcement agents use when determining if a suspect is guilty. The tool is called SCAN, or Scientific Content Analysis. More than 400 agencies across the United States, from small-town police departments to military agencies, have paid to be trained using this tool. However, there's no reliable science behind it.

Gathering the information that will be analyzed using SCAN is simple. All a law enforcement agent or detective needs to do is give a suspect a pen and paper. The suspect will be asked to write down what they were doing when the crime they are suspected of committing took place. The law enforcement agent should then be able to use their training in SCAN to identify deception.

New Jersey drug investigation leads to seizures and arrests

Prosecutors in New Jersey say that an investigation of heroin distribution in Middlesex and Somerset Counties that involved multiple agencies has led to more than two dozen suspects being arrested. Representatives of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office and the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office made the announcement on Nov. 15. The 53-year-old North Brunswick resident whom police believe was the leader of a large drug trafficking operation has been charged with promoting organized crime, possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, operating an illegal drug manufacturing facility and conspiracy to distribute drugs.

The four-month narcotics investigation culminated in the execution of eight search warrants at the residences of suspects in Spotswood, New Brunswick, Edison and Highland Park. The searches allegedly led to the discovery of about 2,500 bags of heroin that had been bundled for sale and 70 grams of raw heroin. Officers and deputies also claim to have found about $5,050 in U.S. currency, an ounce or so of cocaine and a handgun along with items commonly used in the manufacture, distribution and sale of illegal drugs.

Technology could make distracted driving less devastating

Scientists are investigating ways in which technology could reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving crashes. Many of these accidents are attributed to technology; specifically texting or surfing the internet while driving or otherwise using a smartphone. However, artificial intelligence holds some potential for new safety features that could be integrated into cars and trucks. After all, distracted driving crashes cost around $40 million in damages each year and take around nine lives each day across the country. The toll of those injured in these collisions is even greater.

There are three major types of distraction that divert drivers from the road ahead and lead to motor vehicle accidents, and all of them can be dealt with through artificial intelligence. Visual distraction involves the diversion of the eyes from the road, manual distraction takes a driver's hands off the wheel while cognitive distractions prevent attention and focus. Drowsy driving could also be a form of inattentive or distracted driving. Sensors can incorporate algorithms that process images and input data from driving behavior and the presence or absence of hands to produce an alert when distracted driving seems more likely.

Report warns of Breathalyzer unreliability

Many people in New Jersey believe that Breathalyzers accurately reflect alcohol consumption and intoxication while driving, but human error and poor oversight means that many tests are unreliable. Judges in several states refused to accept more than 30,000 breath tests as evidence. The New York Times revealed these figures as part of an overall investigation into breath test usage nationwide. The newspaper found that incorrect adjustment and calibration could lead the devices to report results that were incorrect by as much as 40%.

As part of the investigation, the newspaper interviewed 100 experts, including scientists, law enforcement professionals, and lawyers. They uncovered several serious problems with the primary piece of evidence frequently cites in drunk driving cases. When breathalyzers are not properly maintained or calibrated, they no longer perform accurately. However, police are still arresting and prosecutors charging people based on these problematic devices. Some of the machines even malfunctioned when a person used a breath mint. Poor maintenance can also make the devices much slower, and some are old and unreliable. As a result, people with a blood alcohol concentration below the legal level may face DUI charges. Some innocent people may even plead guilty to false charges in an attempt to avoid more severe penalties.

Have my civil rights been violated during an arrest?

All people in the United States have certain basic rights in every day life. These rights include being free from sexual harassment and racial discrimination. While civil rights are considered to be a priority, it is, unfortunately, the reality that many people suffer civil rights violations in differing contexts every year.

Being informed on your civil rights is a key part of the journey to protecting yourself. It is not possible to stand up for rights that you do not know you have. The following blog is an overview of civil rights law in the United States and how you can take action if you believe that your civil rights have been violated.

Study: distracted driving most widespread among teens

Parents in New Jersey may want to speak with their teens about the dangers of distracted driving. October 20 to 26 has been designated as Teen Driver Safety Week, and in time for this, researchers at Michigan State University have revealed some important facts that they discovered after a distracted driving study.

The study involved 3,400 teens whose driving was monitored from 2011 to 2013. Researchers were able to determine how often teens drove distracted and how often distracted driving contributed to a crash. Many times, it was a phone-related distraction that led to a crash.

More people face convictions although crime is down

New Jersey residents are more likely to be arrested and convicted of crimes than in the past, but this is not because crime is on the rise. Instead, there is a rise in taking people into custody for petty crimes, including underage drinking. Even one conviction can have a significant effect on a person's future, affecting their ability to go into certain lines of work and leading to an average annual drop in earnings compared to those who have never faced a criminal conviction.

According to a study that recently appeared in Crime & Delinquency, more Americans are being taken into custody and convicted by the age of 26 than previous generations. This is despite the fact that violent crime has been cut in half since the early 1990s and more than 3% from 2017 to 2018. Among those detained, "other misdemeanors" is the reason for almost one-third of women and more than 25% of men. While black men remain the most likely demographic to be taken into custody, numbers are also rising for both women and white men.

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