Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817
(732) 572-0500
Kenneth Vercammen was included in the “Super Lawyers” list published by Thomson Reuters

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

State v. Jarrett Parker (A-67-11; 068966)

State v. Jarrett Parker (A-67-11; 068966)

 In accordance with N.J.R.E. 405(a) and 608, an alias
which appears on a defendant’s prior judgment of
conviction may not be used for impeachment purposes in
a future trial unless the alias was the basis for the
prior conviction. Thus, the State’s use of Parker’s
aliases to demonstrate his character for
untruthfulness constituted error warranting reversal since the aliases were not the subject of his prior
convictions. 1-15-14

State v. Raymond D. Kates (A-40-12; 070971)

 State v. Raymond D. Kates (A-40-12; 070971)

 The judgment of the Appellate Division is affirmed
substantially for the reasons expressed in Judge
Ostrer’s opinion below. Deprivation of a defendant’s
right to counsel of choice is only found where, as
here, a trial court denies an adjournment without
properly considering the relevant factors or abuses
its discretion in doing so. 1-14-14

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Arrested in Edison? Hire an Edison Criminal defense Attorney

Arrested in Edison? Hire an Edison Criminal defense Attorney
Kenneth Vercammen's Law Office represents individuals charged with criminal, drug offenses, and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey. Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutor's Association.

Try to Avoid Some of the Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea:

1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)

2. If you plead guilty:

a. You will have a criminal record

b. You may go to Jail or Prison.

c. You will have to pay Fines and Court Costs.

3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.

4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.

5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.

6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.

7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.

8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3

9. You could be put on Probation.

10. You may be required to do Community Service.

Don't give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal and serious motor vehicle violations.

When your job or driver's license is in jeopardy or you are facing thousands of dollars in fines, surcharges and car insurance increases, you need excellent legal representation.

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
Toll Free 1-800-NJLAWS7 (1-800-655-2977)
Personal Injury and Criminal on Weekends 732-261-4005
BeNotGuilty. com

Too often lawyers throw up their hands when a client presents a ticket involving Drug Possession, Driving While Suspended, DWI or Assault. While defense of criminal court charges involving serious motor vehicle charges may become an involved process requiring commitment and persistence, there are a number of viable defenses and arguments that can achieve a successful result. Rather than simply suggest that a client plead guilty and avoid trial, an attorney should accept the challenge and apply his best legal talents to protect the client’s rights.

1. The In-Office Interview at the Law Office
We advise potential clients to bring in a copy of the complaint, all their papers in connection with their case, accident report, and any documents they received from the Motor Vehicle Commissions. Often times I will instruct them to write a confidential narrative if it is a case that is fact- specific or involves a great deal of detail, such as an assault case.
When the client is first in the office, we have them fill out the Confidential New Criminal Case Interview Sheet. We obtain background information such as their name, address, the offenses charged, date of the persons arrest, other witnesses, statements given to them by the police, their occupation and information regarding prior criminal convictions and prior motor vehicle convictions. Our interview sheet also asks if there is anything else important, such as a medical condition that affects their case. This form will also let us know whether or not the client will follow instructions and cooperate with us.
If they refuse to provide information we may have a problem client.
After reviewing the summons and the interview sheet, I ask a series of questions of the client. We request the client wait until the end of the interview before explaining their side of the story. We also ask them if there is anything else of importance in connection with the case that we should know. The client may have pending serious criminal charges in another state or country. I usually open up our statute book and show the clients the specific language of the offense they are charged with and explain to them the maximum penalties that could be imposed. By understanding the charges they are facing, my clients are more likely to realize the seriousness of the offense and pay our retainer.

2. Retaining the Attorney
             Rule 1:11-2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct indicate a retainer letter or written statement of fees is required for new clients. I also provide all my clients with written information explaining how to appear in court, information on surcharges, information on points, and information regarding substance abuse treatment, if applicable.
Once we receive our retainer (are paid), we begin work right away. Usually while the client is still in the office, we prepare a discovery letter on the computer to the prosecutor/district attorney and court and hand a copy to the client. We occasionally call the court to advise them that we will be handling the case and to inquire who handles discovery. We check the Lawyers Diary to determine who are the judges and prosecutor/district attorneys for the county or town. It is important to learn about the judge and the prosecutor.
We require a great deal of cooperation from our clients in an effort to help keep their costs reasonable. We require our clients to take photographs of accident sites and prepare diagrams and provide us with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of witnesses.
I recommend that my clients provide me with a list of between 10 to 15 reasons why they should not go to jail and why court should impose the minimum license suspension. We recommend they obtain a Motor Vehicle Abstract. This provides us with information for mitigation of penalties and also provides information to be considered by the judge in sentencing.

3. Post Interview Work
             Many states have programs for first time offenders who have never previously been arrested or previously convicted of a criminal offense. Again, to avoid embarrassment it is a good idea to speak with the prosecutor/ district attorney and the police officer because they may have a criminal abstract to indicate that the client is not eligible for a diversions type program.  We also make a Motion to Suppress where there is a question regarding the validity of a stop or search. Any other Motions to Dismiss should be made in writing such as statue of limitations or lack of jurisdiction.
             Oftentimes in cases that deal with just one triable issue such as the admissibility of a blood test result in alcohol or drugs, we can make a Motion in Limine or suggest a pre-trial conference. It is often a good idea to try to know how the judge will decide in order to save us a three-hour trial on a complicated case. If the court rules against us in the Motion in Limine we can enter a guilty plea contingent upon reserving your right to appeal on that one issue.

4. Discovery Phase
             Oftentimes we do not receive all of the discovery that we request. We send a letter to the prosecutor requesting additional discovery and request that the discovery be provided within 10 days. If we do not receive the discovery with 10 days then we prepare a Motion to Compel Discovery.
             In the case involving essential witnesses, we occasionally write to the witnesses and ask them to call us so that we can find out what really happened. If possible I have a law clerk call up after we send the initial letter. The attorney cannot testify if the witness provides an inconsistent statement but our law clerks can testify. I sometimes speak to friendly witnesses myself later to make a decision to determine whether or not the witnesses are credible.
Upon receiving discovery, we forward a photocopy of all discovery to our client. We then discuss with the client whether or not they have a reasonable prospect of winning.
In drunk driving cases we review the videotape with the client prior to the trial date and sometimes make arrangements to retain an expert.

5. Preparing for Court
             If it is a drug case, we should make an objection to the entry of the lab certificate as evidence at trial. We are also under a responsibility to provide any reciprocal discovery to the prosecutor. Occasionally, in a court where there is only one prosecutor you should call the criminal court prosecutor ahead of time to see if a matter can be worked out or plea bargained. Some Criminal prosecutors in lower courts work part time and are not compensated for the many telephone calls they get in their offices.                  
             If we discover a favorable case, we make a copy for the judge, prosecutor, and client. Never assume the part time prosecutor or judge is familiar with all the laws. We can prepare a Subpoena ad Testificandum for witnesses to testify and Subpoena Duces Tecum for witnesses to bring documents.  We have our clients hand deliver the Subpoenas and write out their own check for the subpoena fees. It is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
             Over the years I have made it a practice to build up files on particular legal subjects with complete case law. I now have files for drunk driving, driving while suspended, drug possession, assault, and careless driving.
             When we receive the hearing notice we send a follow up reminder to the client to be on time, bring all papers and call 24 hours ahead to confirm the case is still on the calendar. The client should be prepared and look neat. The Grateful Dead and Budweiser T-Shirts should be replaced with something that looks presentable. They should have their pregnant wives sitting next to them.                                    
             Preparation is the key to winning cases or convincing the prosecutor of exceptional defenses. Upon arrival at court, we will attempt to ascertain if the police officer is available. Sometimes the police officer is on vacation, retired, or suspended. This may assist your ability to work out a satisfactory arrangement.
             There is no prohibition against speaking with States witnesses in a non-threatening way. Outside of the courtroom, I usually call out the name of the non-law enforcement States witnesses to determine what their version of the facts are. If we have an excellent trial issue but believe the judge is going to rule against us, we bring an appeal notice and file it with the Court on the Record. I keep in my car blank forms for Order to Compel Discovery, Order Mark Try or Dismiss, Order to be Relieved, and an Appeal Notice.

6. Plea to a Lesser Defense
             If the client is going to enter a guilty plea to an offense, it is important they understand what the offense is and put a factual basis on the record.  The Judge will be angry if a person is pleading guilty to a drunk driving case and the judge asked them what he had to drink, the person insists he only had one beer. The judge will send us back to our seat and must refuse to take the guilty plea unless an adequate factual basis is put on the record.
Having previously obtained for my clients their favorable background, I usually put on the record reasons why the judge should give them the minimum penalties.                                            
Letters of reference and character reference letters are helpful in cases where the judge has wide discretion in his sentencing. After the client pleads guilty, it is a good idea to also ask the client on the record if he has any questions of myself or of the court.
             7. Conclusion
Whether or not we have a trial or there is a plea to reduce the charge, I wish to walk out knowing I did the best you could for the client. Even if I lose, I want to have been such an articulate advocate that the client walks out saying my attorney is great but the judge is wrong. We try to be innovative and prepare new arguments. We handle a substantial amount of criminal court and personal injury cases and have put case law and certain legal defenses on our website:

             About the Author: Kenneth A. Vercammen is an Edison, Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on criminal court and litigation topics.
Criminal Indictable and Disorderly Offense  Penalties

Disorderly person criminal offenses- ex Simple Assault, shoplifting & cases in Municipal Court
                                          Jail 2C: 43- 8               jail  6 month maximum
                                                                              probation 1-2 year                                     
                                                                              community service  180 days maximum 
                                                                              mandatory costs, VCCB and other penalties
Disorderly- fines:                    2C: 43- 3               $1,000 Fine  maximum                

            There are many other penalties that the court must impose in criminal cases.  There are dozens of other penalties a court can impose, depending on the type of matter.                        
            Drug offenses: in addition to above penalties, mandatory minimum $500 DEDR penalty, mandatory lab fee and other court costs over $200, mandatory 6 month- 2 year loss of license, Probation, drug testing and other penalties. If attorney's Conditional Discharge motion is granted for first time offender. penalty can be reduced. In certain drug cases, the fine can be up to $75,000.

-Petty Disorderly person - 30 days jail   maximum
Petty DP $500 max Fine, VCCB and other penalties

            Indictable Criminal Penalties    [Felony type]  [ Superior Court]
                                                  Jail  potential          Fine max                        Probation
            1st degree                    10- 20 years                      $200,000               [presumption of jail]
            2nd degree                   5-10 years                         $150,000               [presumption of jail]
            3rd degree                    3- 5 years                          $15,000                 1 year- 5 year
            4th degree                    0- 18 months                     $10,000                 1 year- 5 year

            There are many other penalties that the court must impose in criminal case.  There are dozens of other penalties a court can impose, depending on the type of matter. Read

            If you or a family member are charged with a criminal offense, you should retain an experienced criminal attorney to argue to reduce the penalties! 

 2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
More information on Fines, jail and penalties on website:
[rev 10/17/13  Fines, Jail penalty criminal]                                                                                                                                                                           

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

State v. David M. Gibson (A-27-12; 070910)

State v. David M. Gibson (A-27-12; 070910)

 There is insufficient evidence in the record to
support a finding that Officer Comegno had probable
cause to arrest Gibson for defiant trespass;
therefore, the subsequent search at the stationhouse
was unconstitutional and the drug evidence seized
during the search must be suppressed. 1-7-14

State of New Jersey v. Reinaldo Fuentes

State of New Jersey v. Reinaldo Fuentes (A-18-12;

 Because the trial court did not adequately explain its
findings with respect to the aggravating factors, or
its balancing of the aggravating and mitigating
factors pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(a) and (b), the
matter is remanded for resentencing. 1-7-14

Wednesday, January 01, 2014



Defendant was employed by the North Bergen Board of
Education as a clerk to the child study team. She was
indicted with one count of second-degree official
misconduct and one count of third-degree theft for
allegedly taking confidential student records to assist her
attorney in the prosecution of her civil employment
discrimination claims against her employer. Relying on
Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., 204 N.J. 239 (2010),
defendant unsuccessfully moved to dismiss the indictment
before the trial court.

We granted leave to appeal and now affirm. We reject
defendant's argument that she had an absolute right to take
confidential student records to support her wrongful
termination suit against the Board. Quinlan does not
establish a bright-line rule decriminalizing conduct that
is otherwise sufficient to support an indictment under
State v. Hogan, 144 N.J. 216 (1996). The trial judge was
not required to apply the multi-factor test in Quinlan to
determine whether the State presented a prima facie case to
support the indictment against defendant. Defendant is
free, however, to raise Quinlan at trial to negate the
state of mind requirements of official misconduct under
N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2a and theft under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2b(2)(g),
as an affirmative defense.

Judge Simonelli dissents. She would have dismissed the
indictment with prejudice on fundamental fairness grounds. 12/24/13



Addressing the impact of Missouri v. McNeely, ___ U.S.
___, 133 S. Ct. 1552, 185 L. Ed. 2d 696 (2013), on pending
cases involving warrantless blood tests, we reversed a
trial court order suppressing blood evidence in a DWI and
assault-by-auto case. Consistent with long-standing
rulings of the New Jersey Supreme Court, the police
obtained the blood sample from defendant without a search
warrant. Thereafter, the United States Supreme Court
unexpectedly changed the legal landscape by issuing a
ruling that construed the Fourth Amendment more broadly
than our Court.

On these facts, under Davis v. United States, ___ U.S.
___, 131 S. Ct. 2419, 180 L. Ed. 2d 285 (2011), suppression
would not be the appropriate remedy under federal
constitutional law, because the New Jersey police were
acting lawfully under established New Jersey precedent at
the time of the search. Further, had our own Supreme Court
issued the McNeely ruling as a construction of the New
Jersey Constitution, the ruling would not have been applied
retroactively. Under these unusual and very limited
circumstances, we held that suppression of the evidence in
this case was not required. 12/20/13

State of New Jersey v. Oscar Porter (A-91-11; 069223)

State of New Jersey v. Oscar Porter (A-91-11; 069223)

 With respect to the claim of ineffective assistance of
trial counsel based on failure to investigate an alibi
defense, defendant made out a prima facie showing and
raised material facts in dispute, therefore entitling
him to an evidentiary hearing on that issue. 12-19-13