NJ Drug Offense Lawyer
Charged With Marijuana Possession?
This "Vehicle Stop" often results in a DUI arrest or Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) arrest.
The charges may be very serious. If you have been arrested for CDS possession or CDS Paraphernalia or DUI, you face up to six months in jail and a two-year loss of driver's license.
Whether you qualify for a "Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free" card depends on many factors. If you were arrested for having a small amount of marijuana on your possession, the quickest way to get rid of the criminal charge would be to use your "Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free" card. It may also be one of the worst ways to go. We never admit defeat without putting up a fight.
When defense lawyers are quick to put their clients in a probationary program, it usually means that little to no work was performed on their client's behalf. Conditional Discharge programs are great when there's absolutely no way out.
But how can you know there is no way out if you never looked?
- Did the police do everything perfectly?
- Did the police have "Probable Cause" for the traffic stop?
- Did the prosecutor provide every bit of evidence?
- Did the New Jersey State Police laboratory follow legal testing procedures?
The problem is that these "Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free" cards are meant to be sacred. In golf, they are called "mulligans". In playgrounds, they are called "do-overs". But the problem is that criminal charges should not be treated like board games or sports. Criminal charges and criminal convictions can have devastating consequences on your life.
The way we defend every case is the same. We investigate the events leading up to the arrest. We closely examine every move that the law enforcement made prior to the arrest. We challenge the traffic stop or the search.
- Were the police legally allowed to search the way they did?
- Did the police officer's actions violate our client's State and Federal rights?
- Were our clients questioned illegally?
- Was the traffic stop legal?
- Did the police officer have Probable Cause to stop our client's car?
Why do we go the extra mile?
Another way of putting it is that we don't just go to court a few times and blindly apply our clients for New Jersey's Conditional Discharge or Pre-Trial Intervention programs. We exhaust every legal way to challenge our client's arrest. If the arrest was illegal, our client's case gets stronger. If the search was illegal, the evidence obtained must be suppressed. Again, our client's case gets stronger. The stronger our case, the greater the likelihood of prevailing on the criminal charge.
New Jersey Diversionary Programs Are Sacred
Chances are that when you are 35, you will have a full-time job and a family.
If you face criminal charges at this stage in life, you have a lot to lose.
You no longer have the option of benefiting from a Diversionary Program.
This is when life can become very complicated.
We think ahead for our clients and they are always grateful that we do.
Mr. Peyrouton got all of my drug charges dismissed!
I was facing serious prison time, a divorce and a nasty criminal record.
He's a fighter who doesn't back down!
He is just relentless!
What Is A Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS)?
Drugs classified as CDS cannot be possessed, sold or distributed except as provided by law.
Very simply, in determing whether or not to classify a drug as a drug that needs to be "CONTROLLED" because it is "DANGEROUS" the State of New Jersey authorizes the Department of Health Commissioner to make that determination.
The main criteria which make a drug a "controlled dangerous substance" are the following:
- Actual or potential abuse of a substance
- How the substance affects the human body
- Scientific data about the substance
- Historical pattern of abuse that has been documented in regards to the substance
- How widespread the abuse of the substance is
- Impact on public health
- Whether the substance is addictive
- There is a similar drug already classified as a CDS drug
NJ Controlled Dangerous Substances Schedules
Located under N.J.S.A. 24:21-5,
Schedule I CDS have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Some of the substances in this category are:
Located under N.J.S.A. 24:21-6, Schedule II CDS have a currently acceptable medical use in the United States, but a high potential for abuse.
They can cause severe psychological and physical addiction.
Opioids (with some exceptions)
Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
Amphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall)
Located under N.J.S.A. 24:21-7, Schedule III CDS have potential for addiction and abuse but not to the degree of a schedule II CDS.
Drugs containing trace amounts of codeine (Tylenol)
Located under N.J.S.A. 24:21-8, Schedule IV CDS have low potential for addiction and abuse compared to those in schedule II and schedule III.
Darvocet (propoxyphene and acetaminophen)
Understanding The Penalties For CDS Possession
It is illegal in New Jersey to possess CDS for personal use without a valid medical prescription. Penalties vary according to the type and amount of CDS involved in the violation, as described below. (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-10.)
Crime in the Third degree
Possessing any amount of a schedule I, II, III, or IV CDS incurs a fine of up to $35,000, at least three (and up to five) years in prison, or both.
Crime in the Fourth degree
Possessing any amount of a Schedule V CDS incurs a fine of up to $15,000, up to 18 months in prison, or both.
Disorderly Persons Offense
Using or being under the influence of any CDS not for the purpose of treating a sickness or injury (as legally prescribed by a licensed physician) incurs a fine of up to $500.
Possession of CDS Near School Property
It is illegal to possess CDS on or within 1,000 feet of school property, or while on or within 1,000 feet of a school bus. If not sentenced to time in jail or prison, the defendant will have to perform a mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service (in addition to any fine that the judge imposes).
Second and Subsequent Convictions
Penalties for a second or subsequent conviction include up to twice the penalties otherwise allowed for the underlying offense. For example, the normal penalties for a first offense that is a crime of the fourth degree include a fine of up to $25,000, up to 18 months in prison, or both; however, if the violation is a second or subsequent offense, the applicable penalties increase to a fine of up to $50,000, up to 36 months in prison, or both. (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 24:21-29.)
Possession Of CDS In A Motor Vehicle
These charges arise from motor vehicle searches following traffic stops. Police stop a car for a minor traffic violation and upon approaching the driver side door, detect a "strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle" and proceed to search the vehicle. The New Jersey law has recently changed regarding the requirements to search a vehicle. Consent to search is no longer needed, only probable cause.
Although this is a motor vehicle offense rather than a criminal charge, police usually search and find either paraphernalia (marijuana baggies, pipes, grinders, cigars), or trace amounts of weed or coke or heroin and ALL the occupants of the vehicle are charged criminally.
We will take the necessary steps to gather and analyze the evidence the police have against you.
Every option must be exhausted.
We will always challenge the manner in which the evidence was obtained.
The sooner you begin defending the accusations against you, the greater the chances of mitigating the damage to your case and the greater the likelihood of avoiding incarceration.
Click on our free consultation below and let us help you during this time of crisis for you and your family.