Proposed Anti-Gun Laws in New Jersey

In the wake of one of the most—probably the most—devastating and horrendous shooting massacres in recent history, which occurred at the hand of Adam Lanza in Newton, Connecticut, anti- and pro-firearms activists around the country have called for a re-examination of the current laws in effect controlling the rights of Americans to own and bear firearms. Whether you own firearms, despise them, or are indifferent to them, you probably have an opinion on how mass-murdering shooters like Adam Lanza or James Holmes, the Batman shooter, can be prohibited or prevented from getting their hands on firearms. Most propose New Jersey anti-gun laws, rather than pro-gun laws. Legislators of the State of New Jersey have heard the opinions of the people and firearms activists and have proposed quite a number of laws that they hope can halt the risk of mass-shootings at its core. The following is a short synopsis of the major bills proposed in the State of New Jersey:

  • Assembly Bill 3664 sponsored by Representatives Joseph Cryan (D), Jason O’Donnell (D), and Mila Jasey (D). “This bill revises the definition of ‘large capacity ammunition magazine’ to reduce the number of rounds of ammunition a legal magazine may hold in this State. Under current law, it is unlawful to own or possess an ammunition magazine that is capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition. This bill would reduce the maximum capacity of a legal ammunition magazine in New Jersey to five rounds.”
  • Assembly Bill 3676 sponsored by Representative Angelica Jimenez (D). “This bill would require any person applying for a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun to submit the results of a psychological evaluation before being issued the card or permit. Under the bill, the Superintendant of State Police would be responsible for issuing guidelines concerning the content of the psychological examination, the qualifications necessary to administer the psychological examination, maintaining confidentiality of the subject of the examination, compliance with federal law, and any other guideline the superintendant deems necessary. The bill also would require applicants to have an on-site inspection and evaluation of the household where the firearm will be located.”
  • Assembly Bill 3688 sponsored by Representatives Charles Mainor (D) and Angelica Jimenez (D). “This bill would require any person applying for a firearms purchaser identification card or handgun purchase permit to submit the results of a mental health evaluation as a prerequisite for issuance of the card or permit. The bill also would require applicants to submit a list of the names of every person residing in the applicant’s household and whether the person has a mental illness. In light of the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 six- and seven-year old students and six adults were killed by a gunman with a history of mental illness, it is the sponsor’s intent that any person in this State who wants to purchase a firearm must first meet a certain standard of mental capacity to do so.”
  • Assembly Bill 3666 sponsored by Representatives Joseph Cryan (D), Jason O’Donnell (D), and Mila Jasey (D). “This bill would make mail order, Internet, telephone, and any other anonymous method of ammunition sale or transfer illegal in New Jersey. The provisions of the bill require that all ammunition sales and transfers be consummated as face-to-face transactions and that at the time of the sale or transfer the purchaser or recipient display a valid form of picture identification to the person selling or transferring the ammunition. Face-to-face transactions are defined as sales or transfers in which the purchaser, transferee, or assignee is in the physical presence of the seller, transferor, or assigner. Under the bill, a violator would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by imprisonment for a term of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Federal and State licensees and dealers, law enforcement agencies and officials, and collectors when purchasing, acquiring, or transferring ammunition which is recognized as being historical in nature or of historical significance, are exempted from the provisions of the bill.”
  • Senate Bill 2464 sponsored by Senator Shirley Turner (D). “This bill would regulate the sale of rifle and shotgun ammunition. Under the provisions of the bill, only individuals who hold and can display a valid firearms purchaser identification card, a valid copy of a permit to purchase a handgun, a valid permit to carry a handgun, or a valid New Jersey hunting license would be permitted to purchase and possess rifle or shotgun ammunition in this State. The bill exempts individuals who are collectors of firearms or ammunition as curios or relics who purchase, receive, acquire, possess, or transfer rifle ammunition or shotgun ammunition which is recognized as being historical in nature or of historical significance. The bill also provides an exemption for law enforcement personnel and law enforcement purposes. In addition, the bill permits the transfer of some ammunition for use in a lawfully transferred firearm for (1) use on a firing range operated by a licensed dealer, a law enforcement agency, a legally recognized military organization, or a registered rifle or pistol club; (2) hunting; or (3) training purposes. The bill’s restrictions on the sale and possession of ammunition do not apply to blank ammunition, air gun pellets, flare gun ammunition, nail gun ammunition, paint ball ammunition, or any non-fixed ammunition.”
  • Assembly Bill 3659 sponsored by Representative Peter Barnes (D). “This bill amends N.J.S.2C:39-1 to revise the definition of ‘destructive device’ so that it includes weapons of 50 caliber or greater. Although it centers primarily on devices or instruments designed to explode or produce uncontrolled combustion, the current statutory definition of ‘destructive device’ also includes weapons which fire projectiles of greater than 60 caliber. Under the bill and subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-3, it would be unlawful to possess a firearm having a caliber of 50 or greater. A person violating this provision would be guilty of a crime of the third degree. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000, imprisonment for three to five years, or both. The bill does, however, provide exemptions for 1) antique firearms; 2) antique handguns; 3) muzzleloader rifles; and 4) black powder muzzleloaders having in-line ignition, a center hammer or an under hammer which have been approved for hunting in this State. These firearms would continue to be governed by the statute’s current ‘greater than 60 caliber’ restriction. Antique firearms and handguns are defined in the statutes as firearms which: (1) do not fire fixed ammunition or were manufactured before 1898 and for which fixed ammunition is not commercially available; and (2) are possessed as a curiosity or ornament or for their historical significance or value.  The statutory definition of ‘antique handgun’ includes replicas; under this bill, ‘antique firearm’ and ‘antique cannon’ are also defined to include replicas. The bill defines a muzzleloader rifle to mean a single shot, single barrel, side lock percussion or flintlock firearm with iron or peep sights, or with a fiber optic sight or scope, and a stock made of wood or any synthetic material. The bill also excludes from the definition of a destructive device any firearm with a bore diameter larger than 60 caliber whose principle means of ignition are traditional flintlock or caplock and whose principle propellant is black powder.  This would allow the possession of certain weapons greater than 60 caliber currently used by revolutionary war re-enactors. Under the provisions of the bill, it would be unlawful for anyone to possess a prohibited firearm of 50 caliber or greater. The bill, however, grants individuals who lawfully own one of these prohibited firearms one year in which to dispose of them. To facilitate the voluntary surrender of these firearms, the bill authorizes the Superintendent of State Police to establish a buyback program. Funding for this program is to be provided by the Attorney General from the proceeds acquired from the property and valuables forfeited by convicted criminals. Those not wishing to participate in this buyback program may (1) sell their prohibited firearm to someone who is authorized to lawfully possess it or (2) render the prohibited firearm inoperable and so notify the appropriate law enforcement agency. Finally, the bill affords immunity from prosecution to individuals during the interim between the effective date of the bill and the actual establishment of the buyback program. Thereafter, the bill affords immunity from prosecution to individuals for their actions associated with their participation in the buyback programs.”

NOTE: This blog post is for informational purposes only and is neither intended nor should it be interpreted to be legal advice or opinion.

DWI: Ignition-Lock Device instead of License Suspension? | Toms River Attorney

A bill was approved by the Senate panel on Monday, January 28, 2013, that would make the mandatory installation of ignition-interlock devices the main penalty in most drunk-driving matters rather than license suspension. The bill was advanced by a 12-0 vote, with one abstention.

Under the bill, first-time DUI offenders could continue driving their vehicles as long as the mandated ignition-interlock devices are installed. Ignition interlock devices allow the vehicle to start if the driver produces a clean breath sample. The devices typically require intermittent samples to allow the continued operation of the vehicle as well. Second or subsequent DWI offenders would need a restricted-use license which would allow only work-related or other driving travel set by a judge for at least the first year the interlock device is installed in the offender’s vehicle.

If you’ve been charged with a DWI (also known as Driving Under the Influence, or DUI), you should contact an experienced attorney. The Law Offices of Apicelli & Costanzo provides aggressive representation against all DWI and traffic offenses. We are dedicated to mitigating the adverse consequences posed by DWI and motor vehicle offenses. Our firm has represented many clients that have received traffic summonses in the municipal courts of Toms River, Ocean County, and across the entire State of New Jersey. Contact us, and let us assist you in protecting your rights.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and is neither intended nor should it be interpreted to be legal advice or opinion.

Governor Christie & the Doggie Seat Belt Law | Toms River Attorney

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently stated that he won’t be signing a proposed law that would require drivers to secure their dogs and cats with a harness much like a seat belt while driving. Governor Christie believes that lawmakers are wasting their time considering the proposal while what the State of New Jersey really needs is tax cuts, ethics reforms, and a boost in revenue and employment rates.

This reminds me of how everyone reacted when they realized that the United States Congress was holding hearings on professional baseball and the use of steroids. Don’t you think the State of New Jersey (and the United States Congress) might have better things to do with its time? Governor Christie said that he can’t believe that the State is wasting its time considering such a law. “This will tell you everything you need to know about how New Jersey runs under the Democrats,” said Christie on a local radio show.

The proposed bill is supported by Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, a Newark Democrat who apparently owns a Pomeranian named A.J., five cats, and a rabbit. Violators of the law would receive a $25.00 ticket which could escalate to even higher fines. Christie said that if this law gets past the Legislature, he would not put his name anywhere near it.

Assemblywoman Spencer, a liability-law attorney, said the problem she seeks to eliminate is a big-ticket issue compared to driving distractions such as texting, talking on your phone, and recalculating your GPS while driving. I can see where Governor Christie is coming from, though. Don’t cats always land on their feet? And don’t dogs like hanging their head out the window and feeling the wind blasting them in the face? A seat belt would hinder them from doing these things. I guess both points of view should be given equal weight.

What do you think?

New Jersey Law Banning Replacement Referees | Toms River Attorney

Should New Jersey implement a law that bans replacement referees in professional sports? Any NFL fan knows that the NFL’s experienced union referees have been locked out by the league’s owners since June of this year. Lawmakers and NFL fans alike have called for such a law prohibiting fill-in refs citing reasons such as increased risk of player injuries to over $300 million lost in bets because of the purportedly botched call during the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks and even disgruntled Fantasy Football owners (such as myself).

“This past weekend… the NFL has not only made a mockery of a great sport, but shined a very bright light on how important fully trained and professional officiating is to player safety,” said State Senate President Steve Sweeney, according to the Bergen Record. “We wouldn’t allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees. Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?” Sweeney’s other concern is that the fans don’t get their money’s worth when the outcome of an important game hinges on the thought process of a referee who might only have experience in the lower levels of Division II and III college football.

Is this a good idea? Or should New Jersey State Legislators keep their hands out the professional sports cookie jar?

What do you think?

The “Jersey Shore” Snookiville Law: New Jersey Bill A-3273

In the last few years, reality TV has seen a spike in ratings from filming drunken stars and the shenanigans that stem from their impetuous non-sobriety. A new law proposed in New Jersey could give towns more say when it comes to regulating the sometimes unpleasant effects of those events.

The Snookiville Law, Bill A-3273, was named for Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, star of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” The legislation would permit towns to regulate production and filming of reality television shows and impose fees and conditions on crews for additional police surveillance and presence during filming.

The cast of the “Jersey Shore” were involved in scuffles and fights while usually in an inebriated condition during their stint in Seaside Heights. Law enforcement routinely was called to the boardwalk while the show was taping. The Borough of Seaside Heights made its own arrangements with the show’s producers to cover the costs associated with bringing more police officers to the scene.

“New Jersey has a tradition of being a desirable location for reality TV shows such as ‘Jersey Shore,’ ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ and ‘Cake Boss,’” New Jersey assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R), who introduced the bill, said. “These shows can attract crowds, which can benefit local businesses and challenge a community’s resources.” Dancer says the bill “will permit local officials to make sure taxpayers don’t get ‘Snook’-ered or public safety is compromised.”

“It’s designed to provide towns with an option. It’s not a mandate, but an option,” Dancer said. “For a local municipal to license filming as a special event, we can better manage and plan to prevent poor situations, such as crowds, traffic congestion and drunkenness.”

“Reality TV can be an asset to a host community, as long as we remember that these shows may cost taxpayers money by requiring additional services when cameras are rolling in town,” Dancer said.

Snooki and co-star Jennifer “JWoww” Farley have been filming their own series in Manchester, a few miles west of Seaside Heights. There have been no reported problems with the filming to date.

Dancer says he hopes the law will go into effect by the end of 2012. Do you think this is a good idea?

Traffic Tickets and the Impact on Auto Insurance Rates | Toms River Traffic Ticket Attorney

Here’s a big question posed by you drivers out there: Will my car insurance rates go up if I plead guilty to or send in the payment for the fine for a traffic ticket? Well, the answer to that question is: YES! A recent survey performed by Insurance.com, which compiled data from over 49,000 auto insurance quotes given to drivers, revealed that those found guilty of the 14 most common traffic tickets issued to drivers saw an increase in their car insurance premiums up to twenty-two percent (22%). Consequently, a majority of these traffic offenses carry DMV points that will be added on your driving record if you plead guilty to or simply pay the fine.

For example, if your auto insurance premium was $83.33 a month ($1,000.00 annual payment), your monthly car insurance payment could increase up to $101.66 a month ($1,220.00 annual payment) for getting a traffic ticket. That means that you could be paying $220.00 extra for auto insurance per year just for being convicted of one motor vehicle offense!

Since motor vehicle convictions cannot be expunged in New Jersey, another harsh consequence that follows from this is that it could take several years for your insurance premiums to go down. The New Jersey expungement statute (N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1) does not apply to traffic violations. This also applies to driving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI) convictions because DWI/DUI is a motor vehicle, not criminal, offense in New Jersey.

The following is a table, based on Insurance.com’s analysis, on how much the 10 most common traffic ticket infractions will impact your auto insurance rates, on average:

Reckless driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4-96)

22% increase

DWI/DUI first offense (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50)

19% increase

Driving without a license or permit (N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2)

18% increase

Careless driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4-97)

16% increase

Speeding 30 mph over the limit (N.J.S.A. 39:4-98)

15% increase

Failure to stop at red light/stop sign (N.J.S.A. 39:4-120.9/39:4-144)

15% increase

Speeding 15 to 29 mph over the limit (N.J.S.A. 39:4-98)

12% increase

Speeding up to 14 mph over the limit (N.J.S.A. 39:4-98)

11% increase

No car insurance (N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2)

6% increase

Failure to wear seat belt (N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2f)

3% increase

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read the whole article, click here: http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/rate-increases-and-traffic-tickets.aspx.

If you’ve been charged with a motor vehicle offense or DWI (also known as Driving Under the Influence, or DUI), you should contact an experienced attorney. The Law Offices of Apicelli & Costanzo can provide aggressive representation against all DWI and traffic tickets. We are dedicated to mitigating the adverse consequences posed by DWI infractions and motor vehicle offenses. Our firm has represented many clients that have received traffic summonses in the municipal courts of Toms River, Ocean County, and across the entire State of New Jersey. Contact us, and let us assist you in protecting your rights and avoiding the harsh consequences that these traffic ticket violations and DWI offenses can pose.

Bill S1750: Ignition interlock devices for first-time DWI offenders in New Jersey

Bill S1750: Ignition interlock devices for first-time DWI offenders in New Jersey

New Jersey lawmakers seek to make ignition interlock devices mandatory for all first time Driving While Intoxicated (DWI/DUI/Driving Under the Influence) offense. On June 21, 2012, Bill S1750 (The Bill) was to be voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Current law states that these ignition interlock devices are mandatory only for repeat DWI/DUI offenders and first-time offenders with a Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) of 0.15% or higher. The bill would amend current law by making ignition interlock devices mandatory for first-time offenders convicted of DWI/DUI. If a DWI/DUI offender accumulates three (3) DWI/DUI convictions, the bill would require the offender to have the ignition interlock device for life.

Bill S1750 also proposes to lessen fines associated with DWI/DUI as well as shorten the length of driver’s license suspension to a maximum of sixty (60) days. The goal of these changes, according to some New Jersey senators, is to remove drunk drivers from the road while punishing them less. The reasoning behind this is that for those who live in suburbia, driving is a necessity—necessary to keep their jobs. This bill would allow all DWI/DUI offenders to be able to keep driving even in the face of a DWI/DUI conviction.

It is rumored that Bill S1750 was pulled prior to vote because a loophole existed that did not cover enough alternatives to the interlocking devices if the offender did not own a vehicle. One alternative was that a person convicted of DWI/DUI would be allowed only to drive vehicles that had the ignition interlock device installed. The bill is rumored to reappear for vote sometime in the fall of 2012.

If you are charged with a DWI/DUI or a traffic ticket or municipal offense, call an experienced Toms River attorney at the Law Offices of Apicelli & Costanzo. One of our Toms River lawyers can help you protect your rights and assist in mitigating the harsh consequences of DWI/DUI and traffic ticket convictions.

What are ignition interlock devices?

Ignition interlock devices are installed on a motor vehicle’s dashboard. The driver must first exhale into the device before the vehicle’s motor can start. If the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (“BAC”) is greater than the programmed BAC—usually 0.02% or 0.04%—the device will prevent the engine from starting.

An interesting fact about ignition interlock devices is that at random times after the engine has been started and while the vehicle is being driven, the ignition interlock device will require another breath sample. This is to prevent a driver from bringing alcohol into the car and consuming it after being successful in starting the engine. If the driver’s BAC is higher than the programmed BAC of the interlock ignition device, the device will make a record of the event, warn the driver, and then start the vehicle’s alarm (flashing lights and intermittent horn-honking) until the vehicle is pulled over and the ignition turned off or a breath sample under the allowable BAC is provided.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and is neither intended nor should it be interpreted to be legal advice or opinion.

Real estate corner: Home inspection issues

The biggest issues during real estate transactions tend to center around the results of home inspections. Oftentimes in this market, sellers feel as though they have already drastically reduced the purchase price for their buyer and are therefore not willing to make any further repairs or offer closing credits for issues that arise during home inspections. Buyers, on the other hand, want everything repaired, excessive credits, or to terminate the contract altogether. When the parties’ expectations are so far apart, it is sometimes difficult to reach a resolution. When this results in a terminated contract, it is particularly frustrating for sellers who have, at that point, kept the property off the market for a minimum of a couple weeks, losing exposure to the market, having to pay additional carrying costs, and having to explain to prospective buyers that the prior deal was terminated over home inspection issues—a red flag in buyers’ eyes.

Home inspection results almost inevitably devolve into negotiations regarding the final purchase price—a tense process. One of the best ways to avoid this tension is for sellers to spend the money and hire a licensed home inspector to conduct an inspection prior to listing the property. Sellers go through the expense of painting and cleaning their house before listing it, but rarely do they hire their own inspectors to evaluate the house and advise them of potential issues with the home.

At a minimum, conducting an inspection can make sellers aware of the problems with their house. Sellers may choose to repair those items that need to be repaired prior to listing a property so that, when a buyer does come around, issues regarding home inspections are less likely to arise.  Even if a seller does not want to spend money to make repairs to their property, home inspection reports can be shown to the buyer prior to entering a contract so that neither seller nor buyer makes any mistake as to  the “as is” condition of the property. Although we always recommend that buyers conduct their own home inspections, it is less likely that there will be any surprises during the inspection period if sellers act proactively and more deals would proceed to closing.

Have you recently sold or purchased a home? If so, would you have found the above information helpful? Is there a real estate contract with which the Law Offices of Apicelli & Costanzo can help you? Please contact us and let us know.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and is neither intended nor should it be interpreted to be legal advice or opinion.