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The following FAQs are for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice:

Q. How and why should I hire a New Jersey Criminal Defense lawyer?

A.  There are several reasons to hire David Donnelly as your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer.  Here are just a few:

  • Experience – in looking for a Criminal Attorney look for one who has experience in both trying and pleading cases. In any criminal justice system between 85 and 90 % of case are resolved in a negotiated plea (in the Federal courts the figure is about 98%).
    It is essential that your attorney has experience in actually trying cases since in a close case a prosecutor will give a better plea offer to lawyer whom he knows is more than willing to go to trial.

  • Affordable Legal Fees- It is a common misconception that the more expensive the attorney the better the defense. Certainly there are excellent attorneys who charge higher fees, but higher fees do not make an excellent attorney, experience does.
    It is also said that if you pay a higher fee the attorney will spend more time on your case. The facts of the case determine how time is spent on the case, not the fee. Often the higher fees are only a reflection of higher overhead costs – expenses for offices, secretaries, libraries, advertising on the Internet and in phone books.
    Although Mr. Donnelly has more extensive experience than most criminal defense attorneys, his fees are more reasonable because he controls overhead costs through modern technology. He believes that a legal fee should not destroy your financial well being, so that you are not trading one problem in your life for another.

  • PIP Fees: Pre-Indictment Court in New Jersey is designed to dispose of cases quickly without requiring the prosecutors to prepare their case for, and call witnesses in front of, the Grand Jury. In order to dispose of the case the prosecutors will give their very best offers in PIP Court. Mr. Donnelly has reviewed and disposed of hundreds of cases in the Pre Indictment Court. Because his experience makes it easier to dispose of your case, it requires less of his time and therefore the fees he charges are lower than fees charged for a case already indicted.

  • Municipal Court Defense

Q.  What are my rights when a police officer stops me?

A.  Police and citizen encounters occur at three levels, but only two require constitutional justification. A police officer does not violate the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution by merely approaching an individual on the street and asking if he is willing to answer some questions and requests to see identification. This is not "a seizure", but once the questions are posed in such a way, and under such circumstances, that a reasonable person would think he is not free to leave, the encounter becomes an "investigative" stop. A policeman can only justify such a stop if he has a reasonable suspicion, based on objective facts, that you are involved in criminal activity. A "hunch" is not justification. Asking questions such as "are you doing anything illegal" amounts to a "seizure". Finally, a police officer may arrest an individual when "probable cause" exists.

NEVER RESIST ARREST- Even if you know the policeman is acting improperly, you must submit. The law says that whether a stop or a search is improper, is a legal issue to be determined in court. If the law allowed you to resist, it would only lead to violence and possible harm to all involved.

Q.  Can the officer search me?

A.  An officer may search you to protect him or herself. Whether there is good cause for him to make a protective search is a question, which is separate and apart from the issue of whether he is allowed to stop you. A policeman may only search you for weapons if a reasonable person in his position would think that his safety is jeopardized. He must be able to point to facts from which he reasonably inferred that you were armed. Again, hunches or subjective impressions are not enough, but if an officer arrests you, he is clearly allowed to search you pursuant to the arrest. If however, he has taken you out of your car and then arrests you, he is not allowed, under New Jersey law, to then search your car as part of the arrest.

In encounters with the police, you should always be sure not to antagonize them. But you should not cooperate to the extent that you implicate yourself.  If police are urging you to a make a statement "to help yourself", and you know the statement would be an admission of guilt, always assert your right to remain silent. Such a statement only helps the police and it will never make things "easier" for you no matter what they say.

This only intended as a broad outline of your rights. The law of search and seizure is extremely fact sensitive. Every situation is different.

Disclaimer: This site and any information contained herein are for informational purposes

David P Donnelly
NJ criminal defense

Of Counsel
O'Mara Law Firm
25 Sycamore Ave. Suite #2
Little Silver, NJ 07734

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Juvenile Offenses, Municipal Court cases ,DWI ,Driving While Uninsured,Driving While in Possession of CDS and other Traffic Violations Drug Offenses, PIP Court, Domestic Violence ,Violent Crimes ,Shoplifting