My office handled many cases this summer in Jersey Shore towns including Manasquan, Belmar, and Seaside Heights with clients charged with underage possession of alcohol, underage driving while intoxicated (DWI), and possession of a fake ID.
One typical example is underage individuals who were charged with possession of a Fake ID in Belmar Municipal Court after attempting to get into a bar or a liquor store with false identification. This is a criminal offense in New Jersey and leads to a permanent criminal charge on your record if convicted. However, our experienced criminal defense lawyers were extremely successful in negotiating a downgrade of this criminal offense to a violation of a municipal ordinance. This results in a fine ($1,250.00 in Belmar Municipal Court) and no criminal charge on your record. The prosecutor will consider your background (any prior criminal history), your age, the circumstances of your arrest (if you were cooperative with law enforcement), and the evidence that the State possesses to prove the charges against you.
If you plead guilty to possession of a fake ID, this is a disorderly persons offense and includes up to six (6) months in the county jail. Moreover, this will lead to a criminal charge on your record which will show up on background checks for future educational and employment opportunities. Obviously for a young person, this can have a significant negative impact on your future. However, you can file for an expungement of this criminal charge five (5) years from the date of your conviction. If you plead guilty to a downgraded violation of a municipal ordinance, you can file for an expungement two (2) years after the violation. If the charges are dismissed entirely, you can file for an expungement immediately to have the arrest removed from your record.