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“Thanks Tara for always believing in me and making me feel like I was your only client. You made the impossible possible. Forever grateful.”

- Gabriel V.

Ocean County NJ

Trouble by the Jersey Shore Ocean County, New Jersey Attorney Representing New Jersey Citizens Charged With Disorderly Persons, Alcohol or Drug Offenses

From Six Flags Great Adventure to Barnegat Light, Ocean County, New Jersey offers fun both natural and man-made. But this is the Jersey Shore, which also has opportunities for crimes from misdemeanors to felonies. God forbid you should get in trouble while on vacation but if that happens, the first person you should talk to is Ocean County criminal defense attorney Tara Breslow-Testa.

New Jersey born, bred and educated (Rutgers), Ms. Breslow-Testa has many years of experience on both sides of the bench, and is qualified at all levels of criminal defense, from shoplifting to heroin trafficking. Like any red-blooded New Jerseyite, Ms. Breslow-Testa spends as much time as possible at the Jersey Shore in the summer with her family - her husband and son are both surfers. She has a busy office in Seaside Heights, which is a short, eight-mile drive to the Ocean County main courthouse in Tom’s River.

Just as traffic clogs the local roads of Ocean County, court cases fill local municipal courts all along Ocean County. Tara Breslow-Testa has learned how to navigate the local courts - she knows the judges, knows the routine, understands the flow - and she can save a great deal of time, money and future hassles defending you.

Call Tara at: (732) 784-2880

The Jersey Shore

From Long Beach Island in the south to Point Pleasant Beach in the north, the wild east end of Ocean County, New Jersey is just over 40 miles as the seagull flies, but many more miles of beaches, bays, inlets, nooks, crannies and some of the more famous beach towns of coastal New Jersey: Seaside Heights, Toms River, Beach Haven, Long Beach Township, Surf City, Harvey Cedars, Brick, Bayhead and another dozen beach towns.

Ocean County offers a sea of fun things to do, places to eat, drink and be merry. But there is no shortage of opportunities for mischief, that can land a person in handcuffs, in court, in front of a grumpy judge who would rather be at the beach than in robes: Drunk driving, disorderly persons, assault, drug offenses, road rage from that infernal summer traffic.

Search and Seizure

All Americans have a right to privacy as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized., and New Jersey law agrees with that.

Article 1, Paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution (1947) agrees with the Federal Constitution, and that puts the burden of proof on state prosecutors to prove that there was probable cause to obtain a search warrant and search your property or person. Police make mistakes and a knowledgeable defender like Tara Breslow-Testa will challenge whether a search was legal, and if any seizure that came with that search is legal.

Probable Cause

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause” and then does not define “probable cause” - so Federal and State Courts have been evolving the definition ever since.

The words “practical,” “non-technical,” “factual,” “reasonable” and “prudent” often come up when discussing probable cause: Did a peace officer have a common-sense, practical, well-grounded suspicion that a law had been broken or was being broken?

The burden of proof is one the prosecution to prove probable cause, and it is the job of a good defense lawyer like Ocean County criminal defense lawyer Tara Breslow-Testa to find flawed arguments in probable cause, that could lead to charges being diminished or a case being thrown out of court.

Exigent Circumstances

Exigent means “pressing or demanding” and there are circumstances where a peace officer will conduct a search based on a belief that a crime has been committed or is being committed. With no time to contact a judge and obtain a search warrant, a peace officer will take immediate action to search a person, or their vehicle or the property of someone suspected of committing a crime.

“Exigent circumstances” have many facets that are hard to define - and these facets are often the foundation of arguments in court, and arrests being challenged because of the definition of “exigency” but in general, “exigent circumstances” occur when there is an urgency to obtain a warrant, bot not time; there is a chance evidence will be removed and/or destroyed; the security of the peace officer in making the search - say pulled over on the side of a highway; behavior of the suspects; the strength and proof of probable cause; how the exigency took shape.

Many facets, all complicated and all open to debate in court. Tara Breslow-Testa loves to argue probable cause and search and seizure and she knows that a good argument against questionable police work can result in a case being dismissed and thrown out of court.

Can the Police Search my Car Without a Warrant?

Yes, they can. Going back to the 2015 ruling State v. Witt, N.J. (A-9-14) (074468) the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that on-scene warrantless searches of vehicles were legal - because a telephonic search warrant request would take too long, and a driver could always pull away and destroy evidence.

This is a departure from Federal law which requires police to make searches at police headquarters - a time-consuming rule which puts both the peace officer and suspect under pressure and danger.

The police can search your car without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe a law has been broken or is being broken - as long as the stop of the vehicle was “unforeseen and spontaneous and not pre-planned.”

That probable cause can be based on a number of factors: If contraband or a weapon is in plain view of an officer; if the smell of contraband wafts from the vehicle; a peace office can request to search a vehicle, and if the operator of the car consents to the search, a warrant is not necessary.

While this ruling has resulted in thousands of auto searches and arrests, it is also regularly challenged in court. If the prosecution can not provide sufficient probable cause that a crime has been committed, the charge can be thrown out of court.

As a criminal defense lawyer helping Ocean County residents, Tara Breslow understands the ins and outs of Probable Cause and she is ready to defend anyone who was arrested and charged as the result of a questionable search.

Better Call Tara

These are some of the most common causes for arrest and appearance in the courts of Ocean County, New Jersey. Even the simplest of these charges will result in a significant investment of time and money - with possible life-changing repercussions if convicted. Tara Breslow-Testa is experienced and dedicated to minimizing the damage of an arrest and trial.

  • Drug Offenses. Jersey Shore’s Pauly D liked his marijuana, but he isn’t the only one. Smoking marijuana at the beach is popular from Long Beach to Point Pleasant and everywhere in between, but also illegal. And the same is true for meth, cocaine, heroin and other Controlled Dangerous Substances: As illegal as they are popular. As much trouble as they can be fun. The Ocean County courts do not see the upside of taking or dealing drugs, and their punishments can be harsh in time or money. If hauled into court on drug charges, you would be wise to have Tara Breslow-Testa by your side to ease the blow.
  • Juvenile Offenses. Summer 2017 kicked off with a big beach fight at Margate on May 31, as 300 teens got into it, and police from Ventnor and Longport were called in to quell the near-riot. Three teenagers were arrested for disorderly persons and assault. And they would be wise to tall Tara Breslow-Testa, as juvenile arrests for fights, drugs, DUI will have short-term consequences and long-term resonations: Jobs, college, professional licenses.
  • Municipal Court Violations. Just as Jersey Shore made for good TV, Ocean County courts could also be good TV as the municipal courts have a steady parade of adult and juvenile offenders accused of everything from urinating in public to graffiti to fighting. Although less serious than felonies, municipal court violations can be time-intensive, expensive and can land a person in jail. Tara Breslow-Testa is an Ocean County criminal defense lawyer dedicated to reducing your exposure to penalties in time and money.
Get out of Jail

Tara Breslow-Testa has experience on both sides of the bench, and she is polished and efficient when dealing with the courts of Ocean County, New Jersey. The burden of proof is on the prosecution when it comes to drug and alcohol offenses, and Tara Breslow-Testa knows where to look for flaws in search and seizure, probable cause, exigent circumstances, establishing a lack of intent or knowledge and proving there is insufficient evidence to show distribution rather than possession, which can lead to a reduction in the charge. Ms. Breslow-Testa handles each client with personal attention and works with the accused to win the best possible result.

If you have a little too much fun along the Jersey Shore - or inland - Tara Breslow-Testa is an criminal defense attorney serving Ocean County who is ready to stand by your side. Call her at 732-784-2880 now for a free consultation.