What do I say or do at the time of my motor vehicle stop or initial interrogation?
At the onset of a law enforcement interrogation you are most likely temporarily
detained, such as a motor vehicle stop, and are not free to leave or go about your
business. As such, a Miranda warning does not necessarily need to be elicited during this
initial line of questioning as it is considered a field inquiry. Accordingly it is recommended
that you answer the field questions without incriminating yourself. There is an obligation
for you to answer these basic questions (i.e. where are you coming from?, did you
consume any alcoholic beverages this evening?, where are you heading?) otherwise the
officer maintains the discretion to skip this line of questioning, arrest you and
then supplement the state’s charges against you to further include
obstruction of administration of law. So please bear in mind, you are not
constitutionally permitted to remain 100% silent, as our Fifth Amendment has its limited applicability in
scope when being questioned. Simply put, cooperate on a basic
level, be respectful, do not incriminate yourself by attempting to “explain your situation”
and once an arrest commences (i.e. the temporary detainment of you and your property
becomes permanent) then you are in a position where you do not have to say anything
as the “field inquiry” has graduated to an “custodial box interrogation”.
What do I say or do after I have been arrested?
Do not say or do anything. Do not attempt to explain yourself to the authorities as trickery
is constitutionally permitted by all law enforcement. Utilize your phone contact and seek
professional advisement immediately from a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
What is a “No Bail” and what are my options?
A “No Bail” means that you can neither post bail nor hire a bail bondsman to post bail for
you. Your only effective option is to have an attorney file and argue a Notice of Motion to
Modify No Bail status before the court.
What does the bottom line on the New Jersey Bail Reform Act?
The Bail Reform Act has for all intents and purposes removed bail from our criminal procedure. It has implemented a new protocol where you shall be evaluated in two categories: Criminal Case History and Risk of Flight. Each category maintains a six point system and depending on where you fall in this judicial analysis, the court will determine whether you are to be remanded to county jail or released on your own recognizance. An initial hearing (CJP) will be set shortly after your arrest to immediately determine the outcome to this analysis. Should you wish to challenge your CJP decision you must do so by formal motion to the court.
What is a “property bond”?
This is where you or your family is permitted to bond real property to satisfy the bail
amount (typically when no 10% option exists). A legitimate appraisal of present market
value must be proven to the reviewing judge for you to prevail on this application.
What is a “source hearing”?
In the event a large amount of money is necessary to be produced to the court for a
client’s release the judge may require a source hearing. The onus is on the defense to
prove to the state that the capital used for bail is derived from a legally
accountable source compliant with state and federal law.
After my arrest when does the government return my property?
The textbook answer is all seized property not subject to civil forfeiture is only released after sentencing has occurred. The exception is items not necessary for the state’s prosecution may be
returned to you should the government agree with your defense counsel. Legal property such as a motor vehicle directly connected to a crime may
only be returned after sentence or become subject to a civil forfeiture litigation as it
becomes state property when held in connection with criminal wrongdoing. Any
contraband or CDS cannot be returned at any time as it is illegal for the government to return same.
What is a “Motion to Sever”?
Your attorney will make application to the court in the event your case involves co-defendants.
The reasoning for this is based upon the fact that these individuals may be
called by the state to testify against you and vice versa.
What is a “Motion to Suppress”?
This motion challenges the constitutionality of how the government came into contact with you
(i.e. it calls the court’s attention to examine how your officer encountered you in person or
the reason for your motor vehicle stop, or entry onto or into your premises). In the event
your attorney succeeds in arguing to the court your “search and seizure” was illegal all
evidence in possession of the state is deemed “fruit of the poisonous tree” and the entire
case will be dismissed with prejudice.