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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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New Jersey Permits the Criminal Defense Of Necessity

One thing is certain in this life; you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. While it may be quite difficult to imagine yourself ever having to commit a crime, it’s not completely unusual for someone to do just that – when it’s a matter of life-and-death survival. For example, let’s say someone breaks into your house and you truly fear for your life? You could never see yourself attempting to harm someone. In that case, all bets would be off.

The next thing you know, you are being arrested and charged with a crime. You are frightened, confused and overwhelmed by your circumstances. If you know someone in this situation, the first thing to do is to call an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you are ever in this situation yourself, take your right to a lawyer very seriously. Do not speak to police without your attorney present. Even if you are told that you are only being questioned about what happened. Protect yourself by hiring a lawyer who will protect your rights.

Much like many other states, the state of New Jersey recognizes that there are instances in which a person has to choose between survival and breaking the law. A criminal defense that relies on showing people that it was a necessary crime is known as “the Defense of Necessity” in common law. While it is not always a workable defense, most states will recognize a person’s need to defend oneself from intruders with force. Many courts also will recognize the need for someone to perform a public duty, such as when a police officer shoots someone who is about to harm a child. In certain other rare cases, the criminal defense of necessity can be used successfully in New Jersey courts.

It is important to remember that many courts will make it difficult for even the most clear-cut cases to use this defense. In order to successfully use the defense of necessity, it’s crucial to show that there were no other alternatives, that the crime was committed as a duty to the public good, or that it was an action that was considered permissible by New Jersey law. Not being able to prove one of these three points may mean that your defense will fail in court.

If you or a loved one recently were charged with a crime, it’s crucial to get a lawyer who is able to help you choose the best defense for your case. Contact the Law Office of John W. Tumelty for a free consultation about your case. It may make the difference between a major sentencing and your case being thrown out of court.

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