Practice Areas

Criminal Law Services In New Jersey

Criminal Law Services In New Jersey

Bail Hearings

Don’t Hire a Bail Bondsman Until You Call Me.

I know how painful it is if a loved one is facing jail time or is in jail. If you have a friend or family member held in any of the local New Jersey jails, I can help with their immediate release. Before contacting a bondsman, call me at (732) 455-5018 for a free consultation.

I will get your loved one out of jail, as well as defend their case. I can usually negotiate a lower bail amount and at times, can deal with a release on your own recognizance. If a bond is needed, I can help you easily get a bond with the best possible terms.


Who decides how much bail I have to pay?

Judges are responsible for setting bail. Because many people want to get out of jail immediately and, depending on when you are arrested, it can take up to five days to see a judge, most jails have standard bail schedules which specify bail amounts for common crimes. You can get out of jail quickly by paying the amount set forth in the bail schedule.

What can I do if I can not afford to pay the bail listed on the bail schedule?

If you can not afford the amount of bail on the bail schedule, you can hire an attorney to ask a judge to lower it. Depending on the state, your request must be made either in a special bail-setting hearing or when you appear in court for the first time, usually called your arraignment.

How do I pay for bail?

There are two ways to pay your bail. You may either pay the full amount of the bail or buy a bail bond. A bail bond is like a check held in reserve: It represents your promise that you will appear in court when you are scheduled. You pay a bond seller to post a bond (a certain sum of money) with the court, and the court keeps the bond in case you do not show up. You can usually buy a bail bond for about 10% of the amount of your bail; this premium is the bond seller’s fee for taking the risk that you will not appear in court.

My husband was arrested and the court set the bail as "Cash Only". What does that mean? What does it mean if the bail is "Bond Only"?

"Cash" bail means you can put up your own money to bail out your loved one. This means if the bail is set at $15,000.00, you must put up the entire $15,000.00 to get your loved on released. This money is not lost, however. If your loved one makes all his court appearances, the person who put up the cash will get their entire $15,000.00 returned when the case is over. That’s why, if you can pay the bail, do it.

Sometimes the court also stipulates that the bail be "Cash with a 10%". This is even better because the person paying the bail only has to put up 10% of the cash bail, in the example $1,500.00. (10% x $15,000=$1,500). If the person arrested gets out and never goes to court, the person paying the bail is liable for the full $15,000, even though they only put up $1,500.

Bond Only means only a bail bondsman can bail out your loved one. Their fee for this service is 10% of the total bail. That 10% is lost once the bondsman puts up the bail and you won’t get that back. The 10% is the standard fee, but some bail companies advertise "2% bails". What they are actually doing is getting 2% from you now, and the rest of the bail is being financed by you. This can become expensive. They will set up a loan that takes forever to be repaid. IF YOU CAN PAY YOUR LOVED ONE’S BAIL, DO IT! YOU’LL GET THAT MONEY BACK IN THE END. SAVE YOUR MONEY TO PAY FOR A GOOD LAWYER.

A bail bond may sound like a good deal, but hiring a bail bondsman may cost you more in the long run. If you pay the full amount of the bail, you will get that money back (less a small administrative fee) if you make your scheduled court appearances. On the other hand, the 10% premium you pay to a bail bondsman seller is nonrefundable. In addition, the bail bondsman may require "collateral." This means that you (or the person whom pays for your bail bond) must give the bond seller a financial interest in some of your valuable property. The bond seller can cash-in this interest if you fail to appear in court.

If you can not afford your bail and you do not have a friend or relative that can help out, a bond seller may be your only option.

How soon can I appear before a judge?

In federal court, a person taken to jail must be brought "without unnecessary delay before the nearest available . . . magistrate." New Jersey has similar rules. In no event should more than 48 hours elapse (not counting weekends and holidays) between the time of booking and bringing you to court. Unfortunately, these rules are rarely enforced because the police can simply release the suspect when the time is up and then immediately re-arrest him.

Is it true that a defendant who proves his reliability can get out of jail on his word alone?

Sometimes. This is generally known as releasing someone "on his own recognizance," or "R.O.R." A defendant released R.O.R. must simply sign a promise to show up in court. He does not have to post bail. A defendant commonly requests release on his own recognizance at his first court appearance. If the judge denies the request, he then asks for low bail.

In general, defendants who are released R.O.R. have strong ties to a community, making them unlikely to flee. Factors that may convince a judge to grant an R.O.R. release include the following:

  • The defendant has other family members living in the community
  • The defendant has resided in the community for many years
  • The defendant has a job
  • The defendant has little or no past criminal record, or any previous criminal problems were minor and occurred many years earlier
  • The defendant has been charged with previous crimes and has always appeared as required

Drug and Narcotic Defense

Drug and narcotic crimes are among the most commonly prosecuted offenses in the United States today. Since the start of the "War on Drugs" in the 1970s, law enforcement has been under increased pressure from citizens and government officials to eradicate illegal drug use and related crimes. Unfortunately, this pressure is not without consequences. Overzealous law officers often take liberties with evidence gathering procedures, and fervent prosecutors are eager to deny the accused due process.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a drug or narcotic crime, it is important to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Please call Mr. Bellizia today for a FREE consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you maximize your legal rights and options. Very often, you may qualify for a first offenders treatment known as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) for smaller drug offenses.

Drug Offenses

State and federal laws forbid the possession, production, and distribution of various illegal drugs, and also legal drugs intended to be used or distributed illegally. Other offenses, such as violent crimes triggered by drug use, possession, or distribution are also sometimes charged as drug crimes.

Drug Conviction Penalties

Penalties for a drug conviction vary widely depending on the circumstances, including:

  • 1 The type or amount of drug
  • 2 How the drug was packaged
  • 3 Presence of scales or other trafficking paraphernalia
  • 4 The presence of children


Do not let your past…haunt your future!

If you have a criminal record, I can help you get it erased so you can get your life back.

How often have you not applied for a job because you know you were arrested for a crime? Since 9/11, security background checks have become an increasingly common part of everyday life and employment. Employers are now performing these background checks not only on new employment applicants, but also on existing employees. This huge surge in the volume of background checks has caused many ordinary people to lose their jobs as a result of this new security.

How Do I Know if I Am Eligible?

Call me at (732) 455-5018 to find out if you qualify. Certain crimes can’t be erased. If you have too many convictions, you might not be eligible. However, if you are eligible, the expungement of a criminal conviction is an excellent way to close a chapter on a past mistake. The process takes 4-6 months so you have to take action now in order to expunge your record.

Do you have a question about you past? Call me at (732) 455-5018 for a free, no risk consultation to see if you qualify to erase your record.

Juvenile Law

Is There Anything Worse Than Having Your Child Placed Under Arrest?

Although juvenile justice is the area of criminal law applicable to persons under 18, sometimes a court can try your child as an adult, with prison as a consequence of any conviction. This can occur when the crime is serious and the child cannot be rehabilitated.

Fortunately, most juvenile matters stay in juvenile court. But even a juvenile delinquency adjudication can seriously jeopardize your child’s future plans for the college of their choice and ultimately, their career. That is why you need an attorney with almost 30 years experience in the juvenile justice system.


Message to Parents

There is nothing more disturbing to a parent of young teenager than to find out your child has been arrested. As a father, I understand the impulse to both punish and blame yourself for your child’s misdeed. However, by hiring me to defend your child, you have taken the first positive step to ensure that this temporary miss-step does not turn into a lasting mistake. When I take on a juvenile case, it is to defend, not coddle your child. The last lesson I want your child to learn is that, "Mom and Dad paid for a lawyer to get me off." The lesson I try to instill in my juvenile clients is that I will try my best to make sure they are treated fairly and try to protect them from obtaining a record which may hinder their future. IT IS UP TO YOUR CHILD TO HELP ME ACHIEVE THIS GOAL.

Call me today at (732) 455-5018 for a free consultation.

Message to Teenagers

As a juvenile defendant, you may retain an attorney at any stage of your case but my advice is the sooner the better. You may believe that you can represent yourself and, of course, you have the legal right to do so, but this is often a bad idea. Prosecutors are well versed in the law and will NEVER have your best interest in mind. In fact, just the opposite is true.

You need someone who speaks their language and is not afraid to assert your rights at all times. You need to protect yourself, from yourself. Often, people who defend themselves run the risk of running off at the mouth in an attempt to lobby for their own cause. In doing so, they often make a bad impression on the prosecutor and add fuel to the fire. The urgency to impart your side of the story can backfire. You need a "buffer" between you and the prosecution and the judge. That buffer is me.

I am a former Assistant Prosecutor my background gives me a unique insight and access when dealing with members of my former office, some of whom are judges and prosecutors throughout the state.

Lewd & Indecent Exposure

Sandy Hook-Gunnison Beach-South Mountain Reservation

Lewdness New Jersey Lewdness Statute: N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4

Nude sunbathing is permitted in this unique federally protected national park. Nudity is legal, however, lewd and lascivious behavior is not. It is illegal and can result in arrest. This type of behavior includes, but is not limited to masturbation, sexual intercourse, oral sex and lewd or inappropriate comments.


Municipal Court & Traffic Violations

Municipal court is the one place where your rights will be trampled on if you don’t have a lawyer or if you don’t hire an experienced lawyer. I have always said that municipal court is so skewed in favor of the prosecution, justice is hardly ever served.


No Other Crime is More Detrimental to Your Future Career Prospects Than a Conviction for Shoplifting.

I’ll say it again–No OTHER crime is more detrimental to your future than shoplifting. The reason being that no one trusts someone who shoplifts. And if a prospective employer can’t trust you, they won’t hire you. It’s that simple.

You have a better chance of being hired with a conviction for an illegal firearm, assault or even drugs than for someone who is untrustworthy and who steals. No bank, government agency, school system, military contractor or employer who requires a back ground record check will want to hire you. (See, my section on Expungements if you want to erase your criminal record before applying for a job.)


Former Prosecutor and Criminal Defense Lawyer Advice to You

  • Plea “Not Guilty”
  • Do Not Speak to the Police!
  • Do Not Speak to the Prosecutor!
  • Call the best Lawyer you can and retain them
  • Do Not Talk About the Case with anyone
  • Write down the event while it is still fresh in your mind
  • Gather your witnesses for a possible trial
  • Check your vehicle if you think a mechanical defect caused the driving problems
  • Get yourself to a hospital or doctor in case a medical condition affected your ability to complete the roadside sobriety test