New Jersey Invasion of Privacy Laws (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-9) – What You Need To Know

New Jersey Lawyer Now Blog

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Jersey Invasion of Privacy Laws (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-9) – What You Need To Know

A New Jersey Invasion of Privacy Lawyer will tell you that every now and then most of us forget that a stranger’s personal matters can 13be highly sensitive. We are all affected by curiosity and New Jersey Invasion of Privacy laws, making it likely that most of us will snoop into someone else’s business from time to time. It’s easy for people to overstep certain legal boundaries however, and disregarding an individual’s right to privacy can have serious consequences. The recent court case New Jersey v. Dharun Ravi, where a Rutgers University student spied on his roommate during a sexual encounter, reveals the potential severity of the issue. Understanding New Jersey Laws regarding invasion of privacy can help prevent a simple mistake from escalating into a criminal trial.

The legal definition of Invasion of Privacy can be found in New Jersey’s Code of Criminal Justice. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-9, you can be found guilty of a violation if you observe another person without that person’s consent under circumstances in which he or she would not assume to be observed. If you suspect that someone “may expose intimate parts or may engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact” in a private setting, chances are you are not permitted to continue watching. The crime becomes more serious if you decide to “photograph, film, videotape, record, or otherwise reproduce” the event. Unless you had provided prior notice to the person of your intent to observe or record them, you could be charged with invading that person’s privacy. Of course, the law allows for certain exceptions (specifically regarding law enforcement officers, retail fitting rooms, and those acting with a lawful purpose). In cases similar to that of Dharun Ravi’s however, the law can be unforgiving. Fines of up to $30,000 can imposed, not including any other charges which might be brought up depending on the circumstances.

New Jersey’s Invasion of Privacy statute (2C:14-9) can be severe, which is unfortunate because many people won’t even realize they are committing a violation until it is too late. The topic itself is highly complicated, making it challenging for defendants to make the best possible case for themselves if accused. If you have any questions about the subject or want to ensure that your side of the story is heard in court, do not hesitate to contact us now for quality legal representation. Contact The Morano Law Firm at 201-598-5019 or send an email to newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com for a free consultation and to speak to an New Jersey Invasion of Privacy Attorney today!

New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act – Home Improvement

If you would like to discuss a potential consumer fraud act case or are currently in the middle of one, contact The Morano Law Firm at 201-598-5019 or newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com today!

The purpose of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act (“Act”), N.J.S.A 56:8-1 et seq., is to provide increased protection for consumers. The Act 13provides New Jersey with one of the most consumer friendly consumer protection laws in the United States. Under the Act, individual consumers are allowed to bring a private cause of action against those who violate the Act. To bring a private action under the Act, the consumer must show an ascertainable loss of money or property. Under the Act it may be possible to recover three times the amount of actual financial losses suffered.

New Jersey’s Home Improvement Act was created under the guidance of the Consumer Fraud Act. The Home Improvement Act protects consumers of home improvement services and places certain obligations on the contractor. The New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C) 13:45A-16.1 et seq. addresses the regulations governing Home Improvement Practices. Under the regulations, N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.1A,

“Home improvement” means the remodeling, altering, painting, repairing, renovating, restoring, moving, demolishing, or modernizing of residential or noncommercial property or the making of additions thereto, and includes, but is not limited to, the construction, installation, replacement, improvement, or repair of driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, patios, landscaping, fences, porches, windows, doors, cabinets, kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements and basement waterproofing, fire protection devices, security protection devices, central heating and air conditioning equipment, water softeners, heaters, and purifiers, solar heating or water systems, insulation installation, siding, wall-to-wall carpeting or attached or inlaid floor coverings, and other changes, repairs, or improvements made in or on, attached to or forming a part of the residential or noncommercial property, but does not include the construction of a new residence. The term extends to the conversion of existing commercial structures into residential or noncommercial property and includes any of the above activities performed under emergency conditions.

N.J.A.C 13:45A-16.2 outlines the “acts and practices [used by the contractor] involving the sale, attempted sale, advertisement or performance of home improvements” that are considered unlawful. The unlawful practices are divided into thirteen categories and pertain to

  • Model home representations
  • Product and material representations
  • Bait selling
  • Identity of seller
  • Gift offers
  • Price and financing
  • Performance
  • Competitors
  • Sale representations
  • Building permits
  • Guarantees or warranties
  • Home improvement contract requirements – writing requirement
    • Home improvement contracts for a purchase price of more than $500
    • Disclosures and obligations concerning preservation of buyers’ claims and defenses

The regulations discuss what is considered unlawful under each of these categories in detail. The above is only a very brief outline. It is important for contractors to know and follow these regulations because the cost of noncompliance could potentially be very large. It is also important for consumers to know of these provisions so that consumers can take full advantage of the protection that these regulations provide. Regardless of if you are a contractor or a home improvement consumer the Morano Law Firm may be able to help you. The consumer fraud act can lead to treble damages, so it is a legal issue that can lead to serious consequences. The penalties can be harsh. If you would like to discuss a potential consumer fraud act case or are currently in the middle of one, contact The Morano Law Firm at 201-598-5019 or newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com today!

 

 

 

Understanding New Jersey Premises Liability

If you or someone you know was injured on another person’s property you may have a premises liability claim. If you are interested in bringing a premises liability claim consult call the Morano Law Firm at 201-598-5019 or email us at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com.

Premises Liability

Individuals that are injured on another’s property may have a premises liability claim against the landowner. New Jersey courts determine the 11duty of care of a landowner based on the totality of the circumstances. To determine if a landowner has a duty of care and is liable for the injury four factors are looked at:

  1. The relationship of the parties;
  2. The nature of the attendant risk;
  3. The opportunity and the ability to exercise care; and
  4. The public interest in the proposed solution

1-2 LexisNexis Practice Guide NJ Personal Injury § 2.27

When determining the liability of the landowner for injuries sustained on their property, of the four factors, the primary factor that courts look at is the relationship of the parties, that is, the injured person’s status on the property. The person’s status is classified as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Landowner’s owe different duties of care to individuals on their property depending on the individual’s status.

Status of Party

Invitees are people that are invited, either explicitly or implicitly, by the landowner as a member of the public for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public. An example of an invitee would be a customer in a store.

Licensees are also people that have permission from the landowner to be on the property, but licensees do not include the people that are there to convey only economic benefits on the landowner. Licensees tend to be social guests.

Trespassers are people that are on the property without the landowner’s permission.

Duty Owed

Landowners owe invitees a general duty of reasonable care, meaning that the landowner has to protect an invitee from injuries caused by conditions that the landowner knows, or through reasonable care should have known involve an unreasonable risk of harm.

Licensees are owed a lesser a duty of care than invitees. Landowners have to warn licensees of nonobvious dangers that the landowner knows about, in other words, the landowner only has to use reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm.

Although trespassers are on the property without permission from the landowner they are still owed a limited duty of care. In general, the landowner only has to warn trespassers of known artificial conditions on the property that create a risk of death or serious bodily harm. Landowners may be liable to trespassers for injuries caused by an artificial condition on the land if:

  • The landowner is aware that trespassers go onto the land;
  • The landowner does not use reasonable care to warn trespassers of the condition and the risk involved; and
  • The condition is
    • One that the landowner created or maintains;
    • The landowner knows is likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to such trespassers; and
    • Of such a nature that the landowner has reason to believe that such trespassers will not discover it

1-2 LexisNexis Practice Guide NJ Personal Injury § 2.27

Thus, if you or someone you know was injured on another person’s property you may have a premises liability claim. If you are interested in bringing a premises liability claim consult with the Morano Law Firm.

Searches Conducted Without A Warrant in New Jersey

iStock_000001321767_SmallThe Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires that warrants must be based on probable cause and describe with particular specificity “the particular place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” New Jersey has a similar provision in its constitution. Article 1, paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution states

 

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the papers and things to be seized.”

 

This provision in the New Jersey Constitution uses essentially the same language as the Fourth Amendment however; this New Jersey provision arguably affords even greater protection. If the searched party believes that the search conducted was unlawful under New Jersey Rule 3:5-7, a motion to suppress the evidence taken from that search can be made. The presumption is generally that warrantless searches are unreasonable, however there are exceptions. When looking at a specific search and seizure the main factor in determining its validity is reasonableness. If the search was conducted without a warrant the prosecutor will usually have to show that more likely than not one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement applies in the case. Exceptions to the warrant requirement include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Consent of the party being searched
  • Plain view of the evidence
  • Search of the area outside of the land immediately surrounding the owner’s property
  • Exigent circumstances
  • Motor vehicles
  • Search incident to arrest

 

There are other exceptions to the warrant requirement and the exceptions listed above have specific requirements of their own so it is important to consult with an attorney if you believe that you were searched unlawfully.

If you require the assistance of a criminal attorney, please call The Morano Law Firm, LLC at 201-598-5019 today for a free consultation or email us at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com.

Understanding Your Rights with a Drug Arrest. Conditional Discharge in NJ Section 36 (2C:36A-1).

If you are a first time offender in New Jersey you need to understand your rights. You may be eligible for what is called a “conditional discharge.” iStock_000014208743_SmallThis is an excellent option for your lawyer to look into in your case. The statute may allow you to enter into a diversionary program specifically developed for first-time offenders in minor drug offenses. The court will hold your records while you enter into a probationary period. If you complete the program, pay the necessary fines your charges will be discharged by the court. Below is the entire statue, but if you are interested in pursuing this option please feel free to contact Corey Morano, Esq. of The Morano Law Firm, LLC at 201-598-5019 or email coreymorano@gmail.com today.

2C:36A-1.  Conditional discharge for certain first offenses; expunging of records. a. Whenever any person who has not previously been convicted of any offense under section 20 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-20), or a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense defined in chapter 35 or 36 of this title or, subsequent to the effective date of this title, under any law of the United States, this State or any other state relating to marijuana, or stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drugs, is charged with or convicted of any disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under chapter 35 or 36 of this title, the court upon notice to the prosecutor and subject to subsection c. of this section, may on motion of the defendant or the court:

(1)Suspend further proceedings and with the consent of the person after reference to the State Bureau of Identification criminal history record information files, place him under supervisory treatment upon such reasonable terms and conditions as it may require; or

(2)After plea of guilty or finding of guilty, and without entering a judgment of conviction, and with the consent of the person after proper reference to the State Bureau of Identification criminal history record information files, place him on supervisory treatment upon reasonable terms and conditions as it may require, or as otherwise provided by law.

b.In no event shall the court require as a term or condition of supervisory treatment under this section, referral to any residential treatment pointrugfacility for a period exceeding the maximum period of confinement prescribed by law for the offense for which the individual has been charged or convicted, nor shall any term of supervisory treatment imposed under this subsection exceed a period of three years.  If a person is placed under supervisory treatment under this section after a plea of guilty or finding of guilt, the court as a term and condition of supervisory treatment shall suspend the person’s driving privileges for a period to be fixed by the court at not less than six months or more than two years unless the court finds compelling circumstances warranting an exception. For the purposes of this subsection, compelling circumstances warranting an exception exist if the suspension of the person’s driving privileges will result in extreme hardship and alternative means of transportation are not available.  In the case of a person who at the time of placement under supervisory treatment under this section is less than 17 years of age, the period of suspension of driving privileges authorized herein, including a suspension of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the person is placed on supervisory treatment and shall run for a period as fixed by the court of not less than six months or more than two years after the day the person reaches the age of 17 years.

If the driving privilege of a person is under revocation, suspension, or postponement for a violation of this title or Title 39 of the Revised Statutes at the time of the person’s placement on supervisory treatment under this section, the revocation, suspension or postponement period imposed herein shall commence as of the date of the termination of the existing revocation, suspension or postponement.  The court which places a person on supervisory treatment under this section shall collect and forward the person’s driver’s license to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and file an appropriate report with the commission in accordance with the procedure set forth in N.J.S.2C:35-16. The court shall also inform the person of the penalties for operating a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension or postponement as required in N.J.S.2C:35-16.

Upon violation of a term or condition of supervisory treatment the court may enter a judgment of conviction and proceed as otherwise provided, or where there has been no plea of guilty or finding of guilty, resume proceedings. Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of supervisory treatment the court shall terminate the supervisory treatment and dismiss the proceedings against him. Termination of supervisory treatment and dismissal under this section shall be without court adjudication of guilt and shall not be deemed a conviction for purposes of disqualifications or disabilities, if any, imposed by law upon conviction of a crime or disorderly persons offense but shall be reported by the clerk of the court to the State Bureau of Identification criminal history record information files. Termination of supervisory treatment and dismissal under this section may occur only once with respect to any person.  Imposition of supervisory treatment under this section shall not be deemed a conviction for the purposes of determining whether a second or subsequent offense has occurred under section 29 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-29), chapter 35 or 36 of this title or any law of this State.

c.Proceedings under this section shall not be available to any defendant unless the court in its discretion concludes that:

(1)The defendant’s continued presence in the community, or in a civil treatment center or program, will not pose a danger to the community; or

(2)That the terms and conditions of supervisory treatment will be adequate to protect the public and will benefit the defendant by serving to correct any dependence on or use of controlled substances which he may manifest; and

(3)The person has not previously received supervisory treatment under section 27 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-27), N.J.S.2C:43-12, or the provisions of this chapter.

d.A person seeking conditional discharge pursuant to this section shall pay to the court a fee of $75.  The court shall forward all money collected under this subsection to the treasurer of the county in which the court is located.  This money shall be used to defray the cost of juror compensation within that county.  A person may apply for a waiver of this fee, by reason of poverty, pursuant to the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey.  Of the moneys collected under this subsection, $30 of each fee shall be deposited in the temporary reserve fund created by section 25 of P.L.1993, c.275.  After December 31, 1994, the $75 fee shall be paid to the court, for use by the State.

L. 1987, c.106, s.3; amended 1988, c.44, s.12; 1993, c.275, s.14; 2008, c.84, s.1.

If you or anyone you know needs information about a recent drug arrest in New Jersey contact Corey Morano, Esq. of The Morano Law Firm, LLC at 201-598-5019 or email coreymorano@gmail.com today for a free consultation.

I’ve Been Indicted in New Jersey Criminal Court… What is an Indictment?

 

Have  you or someone you know been arrested or charged with a crime?  Please do not hesitate to call me at 201-598-5019 or email me directly at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com for a free consultation.

In New Jersey law, an indictment is a is a formal accusation that a person has committed a criminal offense. It is officially drawn up by a prosecuting attorney and found and presented by a grand jury.

The substance of an indictment is usually the same, regardless of the jurisdiction: it consists of a short and plain statement of the time, place and manner in which the defendant is alleged to have committed the offense. Each offense is usually set out in a separate count. Some indictments for complex crimes, particularly those involving conspiracy or numerous counts, can run to hundreds of pages, but many indictments, even for crimes as serious as murder, consist of a single sheet of paper.

Indictable offenses are normally tried by jury, unless the accused waives the right to a jury trial. The Sixth Amendment mandates the right of having a jury trial for any criminal prosecution. Notwithstanding the existence of the right to jury trial, the vast majority of criminal cases in New Jersey are resolved by the plea bargaining process.

One of the strategies a lawyer may make is to make a motion to dismiss an indictment. Below is a sample from part of a motion to dismiss indictment.

In the case of State v. Hogan, 144 N.J. 216 (1996), the Court held that the Grand Jury must only determine whether the state has established a prima facie case that a crime has been committed and the accused has committed it. Id. at 227, (citing State v. New Jersey Trade Waste Association, 96 N.J. 8, 27 (1984)).

In respect of the quantum of evidence, an indictment cannot stand if the State fails to present at least some evidence, even if the quantum is not great, supporting each element of the offense. State v. Schenkolewski, 301 N.J. Super. 115, 137 (App. Div.), certif. den. 151 N.J. 77 (1997); see also State v. Sherzer, 301 N.J. Super. 363, 428 (App. Div.), certif. den. 151 N.J. 466 (1997). A person is not guilty of an offense unless he acted purposely, knowingly, recklessly or negligently, as the law may require, with respect to each material element of the offense. N.J.S.A. 2C:2-2(a).

“Purposely” is the highest standard of culpability in the Code of Criminal Justice. N.J.S.A. 2C:2-2(b)(1). According to this provision: A person acts purposely with respect to the nature of his conduct or a result thereof if it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result. A person acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances if he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist… id.

“Knowingly” is the second highest standard of culpability in the Code of Criminal Justice. N.J.S.A. 2C:2-2(b)(2). According to this provision: A person acts knowingly with respect to the nature of his conduct or the attendant circumstances if he is aware that his conduct is of that nature, or that such circumstances exist, or he is aware of a high probability of their existence. A person acts knowingly with respect to a result of his conduct if he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result. id.

“Recklessly” is the third highest standard of culpability in the Code of Criminal Justice. N.J.S.A. 2C:2-2(b)(3). According to this provision: A person acts recklessly with respect to a material element of an offense when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation…

If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with a crime, please do not hesitate to call me at 201-598-5019 or email me directly at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com for a free consultation.

Understanding Your Car Insurance – New Jersey Verbal Threshold Law/Limitation on Lawsuit Option

So… what’s the deal with the verbal threshold?

In New Jersey there are countless companies offering automobile insurance and countless types of automobile insurance plans those companies offer. Quite possibly the most important option to be aware of is called the Verbal or Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold option.

Choosing this type of coverage drastically limits your ability to bring a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a New Jersey automobile accident. You should not choose this option if you want to maintain your rights to sue for your injuries. If you want to maintain your full rights to sue, you need to choose the zero threshold option.
No one expects to get injured in a car accident, but it’s a reality. The problem is that the verbal threshold is generally cheaper than the zero threshold option, so many people choose it without thinking about it.

If you are subject to the limitation on lawsuit threshold, you are not permitted to recover any damages for your injuries unless certain requirements are met. The relevant provisions of the limitation on lawsuit threshold statute, N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8, state a person who is legally responsible for noneconomic loss to another person, in the case herein, an automobile operator, then if that automobile operator is subject to, or has selected the limitation on lawsuit option, then that person who is responsible is exempt from liability for that loss unless the losses that were suffered fall within certain enumerated categories including:


• Death
• Dismemberment (loss of a body part)
• Loss of a fetus
• Significant disfigurement or significant scarring. Note: Significant refers to the subjective view of an observer, and not the opinion of the injured person
• Displaced fracture (simple fractures do not satisfy the threshold unless they cause a permanent injury after healing)
• Permanent injury, within a reasonable degree of medical probability

The rubber generally hits the road with the last damage category – proving you have a permanent injury. The first five are easy to prove, the last one not so much. This is where neck and back injuries tend to hit the wall. It becomes difficult or expensive to get a doctor to provide the proper documentation to prove your case. This is where insurance companies will often succeed in obtaining a dismissal of a claim by a Judge before it reaches a jury, based only upon documents and medical reports. In short, injured claimants who are subject to the verbal threshold face an uphill battle unless they have obvious major injuries.

If you’ve been in a car accident and want to protect your rights, call me at 201-598-5019 or email me directly at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com for a free consultation.

What is This “0 Point” Ticket I Hear About for “Unsafe Driving?”

So, you are going to a  New Jersey Municipal Court and you are trying to get 0 points for unsafe driving. Each court has its own procedures, but it doesn’t matter if you are in a Bergen County Municipal Court or in a Cape May Municipal Court… the laws are the same. You may wind up pleading guilty to a ticket that costs around $400.00 – and have no idea what happened? If you are a lawyer going to traffic court or representing yourself you best understand this basic Municipal Court violation.

Most likely you are referring to a plea offer you may have received for a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2 – Driving/Operating a Motor Vehicle in an Unsafe Manner. It is highly unlikely that a police officer will issue you a traffic summons for this specific violation. This is why its ever so important that you understand what you are getting into with this rather expensive ticket.

Often refered to as “a 97.2” or “unsafe” this violation to the letter of the law makes it unlawful “for any person to drive a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner likely to endanger a person or property. This violation is a subsection of 39:4-97 “Careless Driving.” It was created by the state so that they get their hands in your pocket before the insurance company does. Here is what is important to keep in mind with this violation:

First Offense: a fine of not less that $50.00 or more then $156.00. No motor vehicle points are assessed.

Second Offense: a fine of not less than $100.00 or more than $256.00. No motor vehicle points are assessed.

Third and Subsequent Offenses: a fine of not less that $200.00 or more than $506.00. Fourt (4) motor vehicle points shall be assessed.

Also, a state surcharge of $250.00 shall be assessed in addition to any fine and costs imposed by the court. (Court costs in most municipal courts is about $33.00.

So, to sum up a first offense for Unsafe Driving will get you a fine of somewhere around $400.00. It is also important to know your (or your client’s) driving history to know how many times you’ve pled guilty to the offense as you have only got 2 shots before they issue points. Also important to remember, is that it is the MVC (formerly DMV) and NOT THE COURT that issues points. The points are a statutory offshoot of whatever you wind up pleading guilty too in court. Remember that it doesn’t matter what the Judge, the Prosecutor, the Police or the Administrators tell you about points…they are just trying to help… always keep in mind that it is the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission that issues points to your license.

Understand your rights! Call me at 201-598-5019 or email me directly at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com for a free consultation.