In addition to any possible traffic tickets or drug possession charges, a person operating a motor vehicle while knowingly possessing any Controlled Dangerous Substance (Schedule I, II, III, IV, and V) without a valid prescription from a licensed physician or veterinarian is violating the New Jersey Traffic Regulation. The statute is written broadly to cover “street” drugs such as heroin, cocaine or marijuana, as well as prescription drugs. Defending yourself against this charge can protect you from a mandatory two-year loss of driving privileges. This offense, N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 should not be taken lightly considering that it carries a mandatory two (2) year suspension of your Driver’s License. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is a criminal defense firm that handles all types of traffic and criminal charges in Atlantic County including the municipalities of Galloway, Hamilton, Absecon, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, Brigantine and Buena Vista. If you were stopped for a traffic offense and issued a ticket for CDS in a Motor Vehicle, our law firm can help. Contact our Atlantic County Office at (877)450-8301 today and receive your free consultation with an Atlantic County Criminal Defense Attorney.
Possession of a CDS in a Motor Vehicle in Atlantic County
First and foremost, in order to be charged with this violation, you must have been the operator of the motor vehicle. Although mistakes are sometimes made resulting in a passenger of a motor vehicle being charged with possession of drugs in a motor vehicle, this charge should be disputed immediately. Some of the most commonly possessed drugs in motor vehicles are: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or prescription pills like oxycontin, vicodin, valium, oxycodone, percocet, codeine, ecstasy, mdma, ketamine, methamphetamine, adderall, ritalin, and synthetic marijuana.
This offense requires “knowingly possessing” any of the aforementioned substances. This allows for a “lack of knowledge” defense to this charge. The operator of a motor vehicle cannot be charged under this section if a passenger in their vehicle was carrying marijuana, cocaine, oxycontin or other drugs without the operator’s knowledge. However, the operator of a motor vehicle can be held liable for drugs being stored inside the vehicle (glove box, center console, underneath the seat) under a theory of “constructive possession”. Although the drugs may not be found on the person, if they are inside the vehicle, they are considered to be possessed by the operator when he or she knows that they exist and can exercise control over them. Even under the theory of constructive possession, the prosecution must still be able to prove that the driver had knowledge of the drugs.
License Suspension for Possessing a CDS in a Motor Vehicle in NJ
A conviction for this violation has serious consequences. If convicted, you will lose your driver’s license for a mandatory period of two (2) years along with a minimum $50.00 fine. The loss of license is not subject to reduction or dissolution based on a “claim of hardship”, making it very important for a Defendant to avoid being convicted for this violation at all costs.
If you or someone you love were charged with drug possession or CDS in a Motor Vehicle, you are likely going to lose your license. To avoid any license suspension you should speak with an Atlantic County Attorney about what can be done for your traffic violations involving drugs. For assistance with your motor vehicle possession charges, contact our Atlantic County Office at (877)450-8301 and receive a free initial consultation today.