Our law firm recently defended a client who had been charged with a strew of very serious charges including second degree explosives, third degree burglary, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. The most serious charge, a second degree crime carried a presumption of state prison incarceration of 5 – 10 years, which means you are almost certain to go to prison. To make matters worse, our client was currently serving a term of probation for a charge that had recently been resolved only months earlier. Based on the circumstances, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office filed for a mandatory detention which means that our client could be detained for several months leading up to an eventual trial.
The case arose after our client and some friends had allegedly been seen going into an abandoned building and neighboring residents heard loud explosions that had supposedly broken windows from the blast. By the time police responded, the defendants had already made their getaway but not before neighbors had reported a description of the individuals and the car they were driving. Based on the loud explosion, police notified Homeland Security, the FBI, and police had the bomb squad sweep the building and arson investigators clear the scene. A city-wide alert went out for the vehicle that had been seen leaving the area and within a few hours our client and the rest of the defendants were stopped by police after being spotted near the vehicle. Prior to our representation, federal authorities were called in to question the defendants to make sure they were not members of ISIS or another terrorist organization.
Once our attorneys got involved and had a chance to review the evidence, it became clear to us that these allegations were nothing more than a few young men who had exercised some bad judgement by lighting off fireworks that a friend had brought back from a recent trip out-of-state. After going back and forth with the prosecutor’s office for several days while they concluded their official investigation into the matter, we were able to secure a deal that released our client after being detained for more than a week in jail and dismissed all the felony charges against him. In the end, our client only plead guilty to a disorderly persons offense of trespassing for entering into the abandoned building without permission. The judge only imposed a few hundred in fines and a suspended term of probation.
State v. A.G. August 22, 2017