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This page has a ton of information on criminal charges and DWI defense in Bergen County NJ.

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Former Employees of Paramus Car Dealership Charged with Theft, Fraud Crimes
Posted on August 20, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

paramus car dealership theft chargesTwo former employees of a Paramus car dealership have been charged with a variety of theft and fraud crimes including theft by deception, forgery, and receiving stolen property, after allegedly stealing funds from the dealership’s clientele.

According to Kenneth Ehrenberg, the chief of the Paramus Police Department, authorities initially arrested 44-year-old Clifton resident Steven Amato and 43-year-old East Orange resident Robert Scott in June. The arrests followed an ongoing investigation prompted by complaints received from customers of the Hyundai dealership in Paramus.

These customers reportedly discovered differences between their initial sales contracts with the dealership and those provided to their lending companies, noting the absence of down payments, as well as forged signatures in these documents. Authorities have attributed the alterations to actions committed by Amato and Scott, who are accused of stealing customer down payments between 2011 and 2014.

Specifically, Amato has been charged with theft by deception, forgery, and computer criminal activity. He was released from the Bergen County Jail after posting bail in the amount of $75,000. Scott is facing charges for receiving stolen property and was released on $2,500 bail.

Under New Jersey law, both theft by deception and receiving stolen property charges are graded based on the alleged amount associated with these offenses. For example, if the alleged amount falls between $500 and $75,000, the defendant will be charged with a third degree felony, while a crime involving an amount exceeding $75,000 is considered a felony of the second degree.

The degree of the charges against a defendant significantly impacts the potential penalties associated with a conviction. For example, third degree crimes in New Jersey are punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison. On the other hand, a second degree felony conviction can result in a lengthier prison sentence of between 5 and 10 years.

In addition, third degree charges entail a presumption of non-incarceration, which may allow a defendant with no prior criminal record to avoid serving time in jail. Conversely, those charged with second degree crimes are not entitled to this option, as these charges are associated with a presumption of incarceration.

Paramus Police are continuing to investigate this case with the cooperation of the dealership. They have requested that any other individuals who believe they may have also been victimized notify Detective Doug Ohlendorf of the Paramus Department at 201-262-3400 ext. 403 or dohlendorf@paramuspolice.org.

For more information regarding this case, access the following article: Paramus car dealership employees stole down payments from customers, police say

 

Ongoing Debate over Armored Vehicles for Bergen County Law Enforcement
Posted on August 19, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

mrap vehicleIn an ongoing debate, Bergen County officials are drawing up sides with regard to the acquisition of armored vehicles, which have been made available to the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office through the Department of Defense.

Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino originally requested these resources, specifically known as mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAP’s, with the support of Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli. Sheriff Saudino has made clear that these vehicles will be utilized during emergency situations, such as natural disasters, and will not contain weaponry. Further, Molinelli said in a statement that the vehicles are being provided free of charge and thus, Bergen County should be obliged to accept them.

On the other side of this issue, New Jersey’s American Civil Liberties Union has argued that the acquisition of these vehicles may lead to increased incidences of violence, in addition to posing a threat to citizens’ civil liberties. Notably, Molinelli criticized the escalating violence between protesters and law enforcement officials in Ferguson, Missouri, which ensued after a police officer shot an unarmed 18-year-old.

Although Molinelli said he does not condone the military-like tactics employed by authorities in Ferguson, which included the use of armored vehicles, Bergen County officials have assured residents that the new MRAP’s are not intended for these purposes. Overall, the use of force by police has become a serious issue facing American society, garnering significant backlash in recent months. The way in which this question will ultimately be addressed in Bergen County remains to be seen.

For more information pertaing to this matter, access the following article: Prosecutor backs armored vehicles in Bergen, despite Ferguson backlash

Lodi Man Indicted for Alleged Sexual Assault in Paramus
Posted on August 18, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

lodi man charged with sexual assault in paramusA Lodi man was recently indicted in Bergen County in connection with the sexual assault of a female victim, which allegedly occurred in a parking lot located off of Route 17 in Paramus.

According to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, 39-year-old Lodi resident Akram G. Tadros, who is originally from Egypt, is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in January. The assault allegedly occurred in vehicle parked in a parking lot on Route 17 in Paramus, not far from the restaurant where Tadros was employed at the time.

The victim contacted authorities about the alleged incident and Tadros was taken into custody by detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit and officers from the Paramus Police Department shortly thereafter. He was being held at the Bergen County Jail with bail set at $200,000 but was released after posting said amount on January 23rd.

The indictment against Tadros now charges him with multiple counts of sexual assault, as well as criminal restraint, both of which are indictable felonies in New Jersey. Of these offenses, sexual assault is considered more serious, as it is classified as a second degree crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2b and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c.

Specifically, a sexual assault conviction warrants penalties including a term of incarceration, mandatory sex offender registration under Megan’s Law, and lifelong community supervision. With regard to the prison sentence associated with these charges, a defendant can be sentenced to serve between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, with a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85% of the sentence imposed, as mandated by the No Early Release Act (“NERA”).

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Indictment says Lodi man restrained, sexually assaulted woman in car near Paramus restaurant

 

Bergen County Residents Charged in Connection with Prescription Drug Operation
Posted on August 15, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

oxycodoneThree Rutherford residents and a pharmacist from Belleville were among the 16 individuals recently arrested in connection with an alleged prescription drug distribution operation. Those taken into custody following a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation are now facing charges for conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs.

Law enforcement officials arrested 25-year-old Daniel Horvath, 20-year-old Monica “Becky” Horvath, 45-year-old Johnny Horvath, all of whom are from Rutherford, and 77-year-old Belleville resident Vincent Cozzarelli, along with 12 others, who hail from towns including Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, and Bloomfield. The arrests occurred between August 12th and 13th as a result of an extensive investigation conducted from February until June of this year.

The three defendants from Rutherford are accused of falsely obtaining prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled dangerous substances from several doctors, and subsequently filling them at a variety of pharmacies. Cozzarelli, the pharmacist and owner of Belleville’s Rossmore Pharmacy, allegedly assisted the defendants in acquiring these drugs, which were then distributed through a drug trafficking organization. Notably, prescription drugs account for more accidental drug overdoses in Bergen County than any other drug, according to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli.

In New Jersey, all crimes related to the possession, possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of prescription drugs are addressed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5, with penalties becoming more harsh as the number of pills involved in the alleged offense increases. Specifically, offenses involving possession with intent to distribute or distribution of 100 or more prescription pills are classified as second degree crimes. As such, a defendant convicted of this charge in New Jersey is subject to a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in state prison, as well as a maximum fine of $300,000.

The defendants in this case are facing federal, as opposed to state charges, and were required to appear in federal court in Newark on Wednesday, August 13th. Due to the seriousness of their alleged crimes, they could be facing up 20 years in prison, in addition to a $1 million fine, if they are ultimately found guilty.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Three Rutherford residents arrested for alleged involvement in oxycodone ring 

Criminal Record in NJ? You May be Eligible to Expunge It!
Posted on August 14, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

expungementBeing charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey can negatively impact your life in a variety of ways, with ramifications that extend long after the case itself is resolved. Having a criminal record can significantly impact your employment opportunities, prevent you from coaching a youth sports team, and even thwart your efforts to adopt a child.

In fact, even if your case was ultimately dismissed, the arrest and the original charge will remain on your criminal record. Fortunately, a legal solution may be available through what is known as an expungement, a service that we provide for clients at The Tormey Law Firm every day.

Unbeknownst to many New Jersey residents, documentation of your arrest, criminal complaints issued against you, and even convictions for certain offenses, may not need to remain on your criminal record. By completing the necessary procedure associated with the expugement process, which entails filing of an expungement petition with the Superior Court of New Jersey, as well as a series of subsequent steps, we have assisted many of our clients in expunging their criminal records without them ever needing to appear in court.

For petitioners who meet the necessary criteria, a Superior Court Judge may sign an order of expungement, essentially eliminating any documentation pertaining to the offense or offenses listed in said expungement. After the court enters the expungement order, an individual is legally permitted to respond to any questions regarding these previous arrests, charges, or convictions with the answer “No.” Further, employers, agencies, or others seeking to verify this statement will be able to do so by a running a criminal background check, which will register as clean. Notably, an exception to this rule applies to those seeking employment in law enforcement or the judicial branch of government.

Otherwise, you may be eligible to expunge a municipal ordinance, a conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, dismissed charges achieved upon completion of a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or conditional discharge, or even a felony conviction. There are specific eligibility requirements associated with each of these categories, the details of which are listed below.

In order to be eligible to expunge a municipal ordinance, you must meet the following requirements: you have never been convicted of a felony, you have 2 or fewer convictions for disorderly persons and/or petty disorderly persons offenses on your current record, and 2 years have passed since your conviction for the municipal ordinance, payment of a fine, or completion of probation (whichever is latest).

If you are seeking to expunge a conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, you are eligible if you meet the following criteria: 5 years have passed since your original conviction, you have never been convicted of a felony, and you have paid all court-imposed fines.

In cases in which your charges were dismissed after you successfully completed a diversionary program such as PTI, conditional discharge, or conditional dismissal, you are eligible for an expungement 6 months after the dismissal of the charges.

The expungement of a felony charge is slightly more complex, as there are specific indictable felony charges that may be expunged and others that are ineligible for expungement under New Jersey law. Among the ineligible charges are those involving murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, and robbery.

However, if your felony charge falls under the list of eligible offenses, then you must meet the following criteria in order to be fully eligible: you only have 1 indictable charge on your record, there are 2 or fewer disorderly persons offenses on your record, and at least 5 years have passed since you completed probation, were released from jail, paid any applicable fines, or were convicted of the offense (whichever is latest).

For more information, contact The Tormey Law Firm anytime at (201)-556-1570. We are happy to provide consultations free of charge.

Bergen County to Implement DWI Crack-Down Until Summer End
Posted on August 14, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

drive sober or get pulled overBergen County residents will soon experience a large-scale law enforcement initiative intended to combat drinking and driving, as agencies in 23 of the county’s municipalities have received state funding to support these efforts.

This national campaign, entitled “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” will be implemented in New Jersey on Friday, August 15th and will remain in effect until Labor Day, on the 1st of September. The law enforcement-related tactics of the initiative involve sobriety checkpoints and a saturation of police patrols, with the State providing $5,000 to each participating agency for these purposes. Additional elements of the campaign focus on public education through posters, banners, and mobile video displays.

For citizens, this means heightened awareness and police activity related to drunk driving through the end of the summer, which spells an associated increase in the violations issued for driving while intoxicated and other motor vehicle violations. For instance, last year’s campaign resulted in 1,365 DWI summonses issued across the state, as well as 5,710 tickets for speeding violations, 4,153 for driving without a seat-belt, 936 for reckless driving, and 3,563 for driving with a suspended license.

The participating agencies in this year’s initiative include police departments in: Cliffside Park, Dumont, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Rock, Harrington Park, Hillsdale, Lyndhurst, Maywood, Montvale, Old Tappan, Park Ridge, Ramsey, South Hackensack, Upper Saddle River, Washington Township, Westwood, and Wyckoff. The Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department has also received funding for “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

The serious penalties associated with driving while intoxicated offenses in New Jersey are unknown to many drivers, who may drink before driving without expecting the license suspension, fines, and even jail time that may result if they are stopped and found to be over the legal limit, which is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%.

Under New Jersey Law, the penalties below apply to offenses for DWI.

Notably, first offenses are separated into two distinct classifications: those involving a BAC ranging from 0.08% and 0.10%, and those involving a BAC above 0.10%. A conviction for a first offense DWI in the lower category is punishable by the following: a 3 months driver’s license suspension, a fine ranging from $250.00 to $400.00, a maximum of 30 days in the county jail, between 12 and 48 hours at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), and a New Jersey DMV Surcharge of $1,000.00 per year for 3 years.

On the other hand a conviction for a first offense DWI in the higher tier entails more severe penalties, including a license suspension ranging from 7 months to 1 year and a $300.00 to $500.00 fine. In addition, a defendant convicted for a first offense DWI with a BAC of 0.15% or higher is required to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle, which must remain active during the period of suspension, as well as 6 months after license restoration.

Further, the penalties for second, third, or subsequent DWI offenses are not distinguished by the driver’s blood alcohol content. Second offenses are associated with increasing penalties, such as a 2-year license suspension, 30 days of community service, up to 90 days in jail, and a mandatory ignition interlock device during the period of suspension as well as between 1 and 3 years following said suspension. Fortunately for some drivers who meet the criteria, those convicted of a first offense for DWI at least 10 years prior to their second offense may be subject to the penalties of first-time offenders, a policy known as the “ten-year step-down.”

Lastly, those convicted of a third or subsequent DWI offense in New Jersey may have their license suspended for 10 years, in addition to serving a maximum of 180 days in jail, 90 days of which can be served through a state-approved in-patient rehabilitation facility.

Clearly, if you have been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, it is essential to contact an experienced DWI defense attorney who can combat these charges and help you avoid the myriad of penalties to which you may be subject if you are found guilty.

For more information pertaining to this matter, access the following article: 23 Bergen police departments get grants for ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ enforcement beginning Friday

Man to be Retried in Bergen County After Murder Conviction Overturned
Posted on August 13, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

bergen murder conviction overturnedAn Englewood Cliffs man who has been serving time in New Jersey State Prison since 2008 in connection with the murder of his wife, will now receive a new trial in Bergen County Superior Court. A New Jersey Appellate Panel overturned his previous conviction, deeming a new trial necessary, after finding fault with the former Superior Court Judge who presided over the case.

According to the three-judge panel that reviewed the case of Englewood Cliffs resident Stephen Scharf, retired Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma allowed the State’s witnesses to give prejudicial testimony during the trial. This testimony, as well as reported hearsay which was admitted to the record, may have influenced the jury that convicted Scharf for the alleged 1992 murder.

The original charges were related to the death of Jody Ann Scharf, whom her husband was accused of pushing over the Palisades cliffs on September 20, 1992. Mr. Scharf claimed that the two had been drinking alcohol before his wife fell from a rock on the edge of Rockefeller Lookout. The defendant said that his wife’s death was accidental, as she had fallen forward in an attempt to stand up, and investigators initially agreed upon review of the evidence.

However, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office reopened the case in 2008, conducting a new analysis of the evidence and subsequently determining that Jody Ann’s death was, in fact, a homicide. During Scharf’s trial, testimony was given with regard to his wife’s state of mind, as numerous witnesses testified that she was fearful of her husband and would not have agreed to be alone with him. The couple’s son refuted these statements, claiming that his parents were spending time together prior to his mother’s death.

Overall, the appellate panel ruled that Judge Roma should not have allowed the statements regarding Mrs. Scharf’s fear of her husband to be admitted to the record, as her state of mind had no bearing on the probability of the occurrence of her accidental death while on a Cliffside consuming alcohol.

In order to ensure the provision of justice in this case, Stephen Scharf will be retried in Bergen County Superior Court on the aforementioned charges. This new trial could spell significant implications for his future, as Mr. Scharf could be granted his freedom or spend the remainder of his life in prison, depending on the outcome.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Appellate panel overturns conviction of Stephen Scharf, accused of pushing wife over Palisades cliffs

 

Hackensack Fight Results in 22-Count Indictment out of Bergen County
Posted on August 12, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

hackensack attempted murder agg. assault fightA grand jury in Bergen County recently issued a 22-count indictment against 4 defendants in connection with a serious altercation that occurred outside of a go-go bar in Hackensack. The indictment encompasses a myriad of criminal charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

27-year-old Garfield resident Benjamin Venegas, 29-year-old Garfield resident Raphael Carrion, 20-year-old Harrison resident Ernest Brodie, and 38-year-old Belleville resident Anthony Pate were indicted on Monday, August 11th in Bergen County Superior Court. The aforementioned defendants are facing a host of charges for their alleged involvement in a fight that took place on January 27th outside of Twins Plus Lounge, located on South Main Street in Hackensack.

The fight, which ultimately resulted in charges against six defendants, reportedly became near-fatal when one of the defendants allegedly hit two men with a car, another man was stabbed, and yet another sustained a severe head injury after being assaulted with a hammer. According to Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli, the altercation ensued when Pate, Brodie, and one other man engaged in a fight against Venegas and Carrion.

As a result of the recent indictment, Venegas, who remained free since posting bail in the amount of $75,000 shortly after the incident, is now facing charges for aggravated assault and several counts of unlawful possession of a weapon.  Carrion was charged with the same offenses but remains in Bergen County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Brodie was released after posting bail totaling $300,000 on March 7th and has been charged with multiple counts of attempted murder, as well as aggravated assault. Pate was also charged with attempted murder and is currently being held at the Bergen County Jail, with his bail set at $90,000.

Of all of the defendants charged in the recent indictment, Pate and Brodie are accused of the most egregious crime of attempted murder, which is classified as a first degree felony in New Jersey. First degree crimes are the most serious under the New Jersey Criminal Code and are punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison.

In addition, murder and attempted murder crimes are among those enumerated under the No Early Release Act, which requires a base term of parole ineligibility equal to 85% of the sentence imposed, as well as 5 years of parole supervision upon release.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: 22-count indictment brought in brutal South Hackensack strip club brawl

Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Lyndhurst Armed Robbery
Posted on August 11, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

lyndhurst police shieldA man was recently sentenced to a 10-year prison term in Bergen County Superior Court in connection with a case involving an armed robbery that occurred at a Lyndhurst bar.

50-year-old Donald Tuohy, an admitted alcoholic whose criminal record includes four previous convictions in Bergen County, appeared before Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian for sentencing on Friday, August 8th.

After apologizing in a formal statement to the court, the defendant was sentenced to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, 8 years and five months of which he must serve before becoming eligible for parole.

The original incident which led to the charges occurred at approximately 6:15 p.m. on April 20, 2013 at The Locker Room, located on Stuyvesant Avenue in Lyndhurst. According to officials from the Lyndhurst Police Department, Tuohy robbed an employee using an illegal .25-caliber handgun. He reportedly told the victim that he did not intend to hurt anyone, taking $138 in cash and leaving her with a $20 tip before fleeing the scene.

Tuohy also admitted to attempting to commit another robbery in Rutherford 11 days prior to the aforementioned incident. His defense attorney claimed that Tuohy was intoxicated during both crimes, citing her client’s alcohol abuse as a significant factor affecting his judgment. Notably, Tuohy’s previous convictions were for drug-related offenses.

Considering the seriousness of the most recent charges against him, as well as his criminal history, Tuohy received a relatively lenient sentence in this case. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, which governs robbery offenses in New Jersey, robbery is a crime of the first degree if the actor is armed with, uses, or threatens the immediate use of a deadly weapon.

First degree crimes are punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison. In addition, 85% of the sentence imposed for a robbery conviction must be served before the defendant becomes eligible for parole, per the dictates of the No Early Release Act. With this in mind, Mr. Tuohy received the minimum sentence in this case.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Armed robber who tipped Lyndhurst barmaid $20 gets 10 years

Saddle Brook Couple Charged with Assault, Weapons Crimes after Alleged Domestic Violence Incident
Posted on August 10, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

saddle brook stabbing agg. assaultA man is facing weapons-related charges, while his wife has been charged with aggravated assault, after police responded to an alleged domestic violence at their Saddle Brook home recently.

According to Robert Kugler, the chief of the Saddle Brook Police Department, neighbors contacted law enforcements officials at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Friday, August 8th, when they witnessed 64-year-old Saddle Brook resident Robert Lintner outside of his home screaming that someone needed to call the police. Mr. Lintner was reportedly injured and restraining his wife at the time.

When police arrived at the scene, 65-year-old Eileen Lintner was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, for allegedly stabbing Robert in the neck with a kitchen knife. Per official protocol, officers attempted to secure the area; however, Mr. Lintner would not permit them to search the home for any weapons.

As a result, police obtained a search warrant, subsequently discovering a myriad of weaponry, including guns, gunpowder, hunting arrows, and ammunition. Specifically, investigators reportedly retrieved approximately 200 guns and other weapons, 300 pounds of gunpowder, and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition during their search of the residence.

Authorities have yet to reveal whether or not Mr. Lintner was in lawful possession of these weapons; however, he has been charged with “Causing or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage,” an indictable felony governed under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-2. After receiving treatment at Hackensack University Medical Center and posting bail in the amount of $2,500, he was released pending an appearance in court.

Mrs. Lintner was also released from the Bergen County Jail after posting bail. She is facing felony-level charges for aggravated assault, the details of which are provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b.

Depending on the degree of the charges against the aforementioned defendants, they could be subject to sentences ranging from 18 months to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison if ultimately convicted. In addition, Saddle Brook officials have indicated that the investigation is ongoing, as they continue to inventory the recovered weapons, and additional charges may be filed in this case.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Man stabbed by wife arrested after gunpowder, weapons found at Saddle Brook home, police say