Flemington Legal Blog

Protecting individuals' rights in the criminal justice system

New Jersey residents may end up in court for a variety of reasons. If they are sued for causing an injury to another person or choose to sue someone for a breached contract, their legal dispute will be heard in a civil court. If, however, they are alleged to have broken a criminal law, their matter will be handled by a prosecutor in the criminal justice system.

The criminal justice system can be a scary and confusing place. If a person ignores their charges, they may not have an opportunity to provide a defense to clear their name. If they do not offer explanations or defenses to the actions they are alleged to have taken, they may be heavily sanctioned with fines, the loss of rights, or even incarceration.

Are misconceptions about POAs causing you to hesitate?

One of the most important elements of a complete estate plan is a power of attorney. With this document, you grant authority to a trusted individual to handle your financial and legal matters if you should become incapacitated or unable to manage them on your own.

A power of attorney is one of several estate planning documents that can benefit you before your death. In fact, once you pass away, your powers of attorney expire, and your chosen agent no longer has authority. However, while the document is valid, you want to be certain it serves you in the best possible manner. This begins with understanding how a power of attorney works and dispelling any myths or misunderstandings you may have.

Reasons to keep an estate out of probate

Many people understand the legal system as a method to protect their rights and punish wrongdoers. However, the legal system has many other functions to help individuals accomplish everyday tasks and to serve their everyday needs. For example, not all New Jersey residents choose to create estate plans for the distribution of their assets upon their deaths. When individuals do not have an estate plan or have assets that require administration, probate may be necessary.

Probate is a legal process that involves identifying assets, collecting them, distributing the assets to beneficiaries, paying the decedent's bills, and closing out their estate. Probate is important because it ensures that property is dispensed properly when a person dies, but it can suffer from some serious deficiencies. For example, the probate process can take a long time to complete. When individuals make their own estate plans, distribution can be more direct and can take less time.

What is eminent domain?

Some people work for years to save enough money to buy tracts of land for their own personal use. While some may buy land for agricultural or business purposes, many New Jersey residents buy plots of land with the intention of building homes on them. Owning land gives individuals the freedom to work toward their goals and fulfill their dreams without the constraints of renting property from others.

It may seem as though a person's right to own their land is absolute. This, unfortunately, may not always be the case. The government retains the right to take land from private citizens, and that right is protected through the eminent domain process. This post will generally discuss what eminent domain is and how it works, but readers should not rely on its contents for legal advice.

Know when negligence is the cause of a personal injury

New Jersey residents may be aware that not everyone uses the best judgment. Whether they are out on the roads, walking through their communities or shopping in their favorite stores, they may see others distracted by their cell phones or engaging in other behaviors that are dangerous to themselves and others. While it may not be possible for everyone to always be perfect in terms of their actions, when individuals make poor choices that lead to others suffering harm they may be held liable for their victims' losses.

Estate planning still important for singles with no kids

As you approach retirement, you likely have many important accomplishments to look back on. As a single person with no children, you probably took advantage of your freedom to establish a successful career, gain countless life experiences and provide a comfortable future for yourself.

Have you thought about what will happen to your estate when you pass away? You certainly have important people in your life, perhaps even some you consider closer than your own family. However, if they are not related to you, they will have no legal claim to your property unless you prepare your estate carefully.

Not all police searches are legal

An allegation without evidence is baseless, and for that reason when New Jersey prosecutors plan to charge individuals with alleged criminal activity, they need to know that their actions will be supported with data, facts, and other corroborating information. Much of this information is collected through police searches and the seizure of property. When law enforcement officials wish to search and seize the property of a private citizen they must have a reason to do so or a warrant that justifies their actions.

For example, if a law enforcement official makes a traffic stop and sees illegal drugs in the vehicle of the person they have stopped, they may seize that evidence of illegal conduct since it was in their plain view. However, a law enforcement official who stops a speeder may not go through the driver's car and look for illegal drugs if they have no reason to believe that such contraband is present.

Is the police officer just being friendly?

No one likes to see those blue flashing lights in their rear-view mirror. More than likely, your nerves are on edge as you wait for the officer to come to your window. Maybe you had a glass of wine with dinner and wonder if that is the reason you now sit waiting. 

As the two of you begin conversing, the officer may start talking to you in a friendly and non-confrontational manner. Even though you want to think he or she is trying to put you at ease, don't let your guard down. That friendliness is a way to get you to answer questions you may not otherwise want to answer.

Did doctors tell you that you suffered an open fracture?

The human body can ordinarily take quite a beating. Strong bones, thick skin and protection for your organs allow you to come through some traumatic events relatively unscathed.

Then, in other instances, the forces exerted on your body push it beyond its breaking point, and you suffer serious injuries. One of those injuries could involve an open bone fracture, which could actually be life-threatening without quick and proper treatment.

What is adverse possession?

Real property ownership is a goal for many New Jersey residents who wish to build their own homes and have space that they can call their own. A person can work hard to save, search and acquire the plot of their dreams, and once they have paid it off they may believe that it will be their forever. However, certain land use and real property legal matters can divest property owners of their rights if they are not aware of them.

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Lanza & Lanza LLP

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Flemington, NJ 08822

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