New Jersey Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
Despite a push to make marijuana legal in New Jersey, it remains illegal for recreational use in the Garden State, just like many other controlled dangerous substances (illicit drugs). If you are found to be in possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine (meth), LSD, PCP or other illicit drugs in New Jersey, you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and pay a fine of up to $35,000.
But you may also avoid punishment after being arrested for drug possession if you are represented by a capable New Jersey drug possession attorney. The defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are former N.J. prosecutors and public defenders who can help if you are charged with possession of drugs in New Jersey.
- Our firm has nine offices across New Jersey.
- Our drug possession defense attorneys have connections in courtrooms statewide that we have built over decades of legal practice.
- We can begin promptly to build a case for reducing or dismissing charges against you.
The New Jersey court system is set up to allow non-violent offenders to seek rehabilitation and avoid jail, particularly in drug possession cases. Your attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall may be able to get you into a diversion program and/or treatment, and ultimately get drug possession charges removed from your record.
Not taking a drug possession arrest seriously could impact the rest of your life. A conviction for drug possession will be immediately costly and may cause you problems in the future as you seek employment, money for college, housing or public benefits. We can help. Call or fill out our online form today for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey drug possession lawyers.
Facing Drug Possession Charges in New Jersey
Drug possession charges in New Jersey include possessing, using, being under the influence of, or failing to properly dispose of controlled dangerous substances, unless they were legally prescribed to you.
Drug possession in New Jersey is a third-degree offense in most cases, punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $35,000. This applies to Schedule I, II, III or IV controlled dangerous substances, as well as counterfeit versions of such drugs and their analogs, or closely matching substitutes.
However, though marijuana remains a Schedule I drug (along with heroin, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA and other hard drugs), it is treated differently.
Possession of 50 grams (1.76 ounces) or less of marijuana without a prescription obtained through the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP), or 5 grams or less of hashish leads to a disorderly persons charge handled in municipal court and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana or more than 5 grams of hashish is a fourth-degree offense, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Possession of a Schedule V controlled dangerous substance, such as prescription drugs with low doses of codeine, dihydrocodeine, ethylmorphine, diphenoxylate, opium, etc., is also a fourth-degree offense, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Penalties may be doubled for a second or subsequent drug possession offense.
First-offense penalties for drug possession are more severe if you are charged with the crime having occurred in a:
It is also not uncommon for prosecutors to add charges of drug distribution (selling drugs) to a possession charge if there is a large quantity of drugs involved or certain other circumstances exist. Sometimes the additional charge, which carries much harsher penalties, is filed just to intimidate a drug possession defendant.
Facing drug possession charges is a serious matter, but an arrest or indictment is not a guilty verdict. There are several steps to the criminal process in New Jersey. With proper legal representation by the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, there are multiple opportunities to avoid harsh penalties or even a guilty verdict.
Common Defenses to N.J. Drug Possession Charges
Unlike courts of law, police assume guilt when they arrest a person. But, despite what police may tell you about evidence against you, the prosecution knows it must be able to prove its case in court to obtain a conviction.
There are many reasons drug possession cases are dismissed or charges are reduced before they go to court. Defendants are also found not guilty in court every day. If you have been arrested for drug possession charges, the sooner you get an attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall involved in your drug possession case, the sooner we can challenge the evidence against you or even how you were arrested.
An attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can begin to investigate the charges against you as soon as we are engaged as your defense attorneys. Among the questions we will ask and answer are:
- Is the evidence that is being used against you the product of an illegal search and seizure?
- Did police have probable cause to stop and search you or your motor vehicle?
- Did a police officer find drugs on you as he or she patted you down for a weapon?
- Were you identified to police in a flawed or misleading manner, such as from an improperly designed lineup?
- Were you detained or arrested because of racial, ethnic, socio-economic or other bias (profiling)?
- Were you promptly and properly advised of your Miranda rights against self-incrimination?
- Can police demonstrate that the alleged drugs were actually in your “possession” — under your control?
- Can police verify that the substances allegedly seized from you are controlled dangerous substances as defined by New Jersey law?
- If test results are being used against you, is there evidence of malfunctioning lab equipment used to obtain those results?
- Are “possession with intent to distribute charges” inappropriate because they are based only on the presence of drug paraphernalia, a large amount of cash, a household scale, plastic baggies, etc., at the site of your arrest?
To create a solid defense for you against drug possession charges, your drug possession attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will explore every aspect of the allegations against you. Again, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. We make sure the state’s case is never open and shut.
Contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation. We recognize that most of our clients have many questions about being arrested for drug possession. We’ll answer your questions and address issues you may not have thought of. We will look after your best interests.
Options Available After a N.J. Drug Possession Charge
As we investigate your case, the evidence we uncover or problems we identify in the state’s case may allow us to negotiate a dismissal or reduction in charges against you. It is not unusual for prosecutors to agree to a plea bargain or to drop charges once we raise questions about the validity of their case.
When necessary, we go to trial in drug possession cases ready to demonstrate to the judge and jury that a not-guilty verdict serves justice best in our client’s case.
Another approach to drug possession cases under New Jersey law is to seek rehabilitation. If you have a drug problem and are ready to turn your life around, the New Jersey court system offers two diversion programs for nonviolent first-time offenders:
- Drug court provides specialized probation with intensive supervision. Participants are required to agree to frequent drug testing and court appearances, as well as completing a treatment program and maintaining their recovery through 12-step programs. Drug Court participants can also obtain counseling and other assistance with job training, education and health care.
- Pretrial intervention (PTI) requires court supervision for an average of 1 to 3 years. Participants may also be directed to psychological and/or drug and alcohol evaluations, required to complete a rehabilitation program, and undergo random urine tests. After successfully completing all conditions of PTI, the defendant’s original charges are dismissed.
Additionally, a veterans’ diversion program has recently been established in New Jersey for active and retired members of the military. Service members or retirees accused of nonviolent crimes who have been diagnosed with mental illness, or who law enforcement, family members or friends say have exhibited symptoms of mental illness, are eligible. The program allows them to avoid trial and, upon successful completion of the program, have charges expunged from their records.
We can assist and advise you about the availability of PTI, drug court or the veterans’ diversion program in your case, and/or discuss addiction treatment and recovery programs available independent of the New Jersey court system and how they may benefit you.
Our team will work diligently to seek the best available outcome for you when you face drug possession charges. When an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney is on the case, there are opportunities to avoid harsh punishment. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today to discuss how we can help you.
Meet with Our Lawyers About Drug Possession Charges in New Jersey
Don’t run the risk of the harsh punishment allowed under New Jersey law for drug possession. Exercise your right to remain silent and call our experienced New Jersey drug crime lawyers as soon as possible. An initial legal consultation with the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is always free.