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James A. Abate
  • Criminal Law, Domestic Violence, DUI & DWI...
  • New Jersey
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15 years of practice have taught me that what clients want most off all is for someone to listen to their side of the story. Going through the process, no one seems to want to listen to you. They have probably treated you like a number that is being prosecuted by a machine. It almost sounds like a science fiction story. But its not. Its what you are going through. The last thing you need is to have your attorney take your case like it is like every other case.

My office was founded on the principal of putting our selves in the shoes of a first time defendant that is scared and needs answers.

You will receive a consultation that focuses on your unique experience, while bringing our training and experience having handled hundreds of cases. In a world of computers, data bases and gas chromatography, there is still a place for visiting the scene of the arrest and seeing things as you the defendant has seen them. Often getting a hands on view is what triumphs over bureaucracy and exonerates our clients.

After a client finds someone to listen to their side of the story, they want that person to fight for them. You donât hire a lawyer to get you a result, you hire a lawyer to fight for you and make the system listen to you. My office has the experience to listen to you, find the crucial issues in your case and apply our knowledge and experience to advocate for you. I am a member of the National College of DWI Defense and the Association of Criminal Lawyers of New Jersey.

I have been practicing for over 15 years, starting my legal career as an intern in the United States Attorneys Office and also for United States District Court Judge David Trager. I then litigated complex matters throughout the United States, appearing Pro Hac Vice in numerous states as trial counsel. After gaining my experience with the government and with large national law firms, I opened the Law offices of James A. Abate, where I have successfully advocated for Criminal and DUI clients since 2008.

A dedicated criminal defense lawyer with offices in Bridgewater and Westfield, James A. Abate forms strong relationships when advocating for his clients. Mr. Abate works with clients on a one-on-one basis and personally sees their cases through to their ultimate resolution.

Practice Areas
  • Criminal Law
  • Domestic Violence
  • DUI & DWI
  • Real Estate Law
  • Free Consultation
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New Jersey
Professional Experience
Brooklyn Law School
J.D. | Law
Honors: cum laude Markhoff Scholar Trial Team — 1998 semifinalist Dean's List Achieved awards in Constitutional Law, Legal Writing, Civil Procedure and Trial Advocacy Cornelius T. Wickersham award
City University of New York - Brooklyn College
BFA | Theatre
Honors: Departmental Honors in Theatre
Professional Associations
Sommerset County Bar Association
Activities: Municipal Court and Criminal Practice Committee
National College of DUI Defense
General Member
- Current
Activities: The National College for DUI Defense®, Inc. (NCDD) is a professional, non-profit corporation dedicated to the improvement of the criminal defense bar, and to the dissemination of information to the public about DUI Defense Law as a specialty area of law practice. The National College is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama.It consists of a governing Board of Regents, a Founding Membership, a Sustaining Membership and a General Membership. College members represent the most experienced DUI defense attorneys in the country. The original Founding Members funded the establishment of the college, and are among the top DUI practitioners in the United States. Since its founding, the College continues to recognize, as Sustaining Members, defense lawyers who have demonstrated the skill and experience of the original Founding Members, as well as the generosity to financially sustain the growth of the NCDD. General Members are the backbone of the college—capable, experienced attorneys who dedicate a portion of their practice to the defense of DUI cases throughout the country. When the National College for DUI Defense® was founded, the Board of Regents envisioned a Board Certification program as the culmination of its program of education. In 1999, the Board instituted Board Certification as a means of recognizing lawyers within the college who exemplify the program’s standards, and who meet the criteria established by the Board of Regents: extensive experience trying DUI cases and litigating pre-trial issues, a broad knowledge of the science involved in testing for intoxicants, and a command of the legal process on which DUI cases are framed.
Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey
- Current
Union County Bar Association
General Member
- Current
New Jersey State Bar # 020512001
- Current
Activities: Municipal Court Practice Section Criminal Law Section
Websites & Blogs
The Law Offices of James A. Abate LLC Website
James A. Abate's Website Profile
Legal Answers
100 Questions Answered

Q. I was arrested for allegedly threating to burn my ex's vehicle as well as cursing at her via text.
A: Three separate issues here. The first is the criminal charge and the criminal record. We do not know the evidence at this point. But if you did not text these statements, then it may just be precautionary by law enforcement. A good barometer is whether you were charged on a warrant (WENT TO COUNTY JAIL FOR 2 DAYS AND SAW JUDGE) or a summons (went home). If the criminal matter is dismissed, then there is a procedure for automatic expungement. Second issue is the TRO/FRO. There are serious repercussions including its lifetime nature, ability to lead to further arrests and placement on domestic violence database and this is the venue I would be more concerned with. There is an art and a skill to defending these actions. If she is successful the order is forever. It is easy to get a TRO, harder to get an FRO. It is based on threee things 1. Jurisdiction (married = jurisdiction), predicate act (can she prove what she claims, and 3. Prior history (even if she proves you did this can she show that she needs a FRO to keep her safe.) Highly recomend you get counsel that knows how to handle these types of matters.
Q. What rights do I have in NJ as residentialparent when ex husband received a DUI, 2nd offense in four years?
A: This depends on the wording of your MSA. You can seek to alter the considerations of custody.
Q. Is there law suit for a person posting a police report on facebook? Threatening messages were made in the comments area.
A: If the report was posted with the intent to Harass, possibly. But just the act of publishing a police report does not provide a cause of action.
Q. My daughter was pulled over the police searched her car and found a tiny bag that contained crack .
A: She is likely facing an indictable crime (aka felony), 3rd degree punishable by 3-5 years incarceration. Loss of drivers license. It is not unheard of for a first time offender to be given probation. There may be issues on the search and miranda. Unable to know for sure without access to the reports and evidence. It would be extremely advisable to retain private criminal defense counsel.
Q. I was pulled over for a dui. When taking samples there was no clear recording. Can this be used against me?
A: It can be asserted to be a refusal. The police can convict based on the SFST tests at the scene without a breath test. If you were charged with DWI and Refusal that would be a strong indication.
Q. How long does a DUI stay on your record?
A: A DWI cannot come off your drivers abstract.
Q. Question regarding possession of drugs in the state of NJ
A: There is no requirement for a field test. The suspected substance will be sent to the State Police Forensic Lab for scientific testing. The remainder of your questions are fact specific and it would be best to retain counsel to go through those as you are facing a 3rd degree charge (3-5 years) for the Heroin.
Q. Can I use medical marijuana on parole in nj
A: This would depend on your terms of release. If your agreement says "no weed" I would get written permission before you take a single toke.
Q. Will a domestic violence conviction always impact a child custody agreement?
A: No always. These are fact specific questions. In this situation you require someone who is familiar with the family aspect, more than the domestic violence side of things.
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Social Media
Contact & Map
7 E. High St., First fl.
Somerville, NJ 08876
Telephone: (908) 210-9755
Westfield Office
376 South Avenue E.
Westfield, NJ 07090
Telephone: (908) 210-9755
Cell: (732) 412-2364
Fax: (732) 626-6165