Hightstown NJ Marijuana Lawyer
Possession of marijuana under 50 grams is by far one of the most common charges litigated in the Lawrenceville Municipal Court, the Hamilton Municipal Court, the Robbinsville Municipal Court, the Ewing Municipal Court, the Hightstown Municipal Court, the Hopewell Municipal Court and the Trenton Municipal Court. This offense is considered a disorderly persons offense, also known as a misdemeanor. Therefore, this offense can only be litigated in the local municipal court in the town where the incident occurred. However, if the Defendant is caught possessing over 50 grams of marijuana, then they will be charged with a fourth degree felony. This offense must be handled in the criminal division of the Mercer County Superior Court. Regardless of the degree, these offense are very serious. If convicted, a Defendant could be facing incarceration, fines in excess of $10,000, community service, criminal record, probation, loss of driving privileges and mandatory drug treatment.
These offenses are governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(3) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(4). If you have been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of heroin, possession of Molly, heroin distribution or possession of cocaine, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our office has extensive experience representing clients charged with various drug offenses ranging anywhere from being the leader of a drug trafficking network to possession of marijuana under 50 grams. Often times drug offense revolve around some form of a search and seizure. This is where an experienced Mercer County drug possession defense attorney can make a difference. They can challenge the underlying search and attack the credibility of the arresting officers during a suppression hearing. If successfully, most of the time the pending drug charges would be dismissed. If you would like to come into our office to have a face to face consultation with one of our attorneys then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. We are available 24/7 to help assist in anyway possible and as always our initial consultations are always free. Now here is a breakdown in the difference between N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(3) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(4).
Lawrenceville NJ Marijuana Possession Attorney
In essence, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 states that “it is unlawful for any person knowingly or purposely, to obtain or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance”. Therefore, the State would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following two elements:
- The Defendant possessed or obtained the marijuana; and
- That the Defendant acted knowingly or purposely in possessing or obtaining the marijuana.
What if I had no Marijuana on me?
To prove possession the State can show that the Defendant either actually or constructively possessed the marijuana. Actual construction is rather self explanatory, but it has been defined as “A person is in actual possession of an item when he/she first, knows what it is: that is, he/she has knowledge of its character, and second, knowingly has it on his/her person at a given time. Conversely, constructive possession is more complex and creates an opportunity for an experienced criminal defense attorney to attack. Constructive possession has been defined as a situation where “the possessor does not physically have the item on his or her person but is aware that the item is present and is able to and has the intention to exercise control over it.”
As if that wasn’t complicated enough, the State can also charge and convict multiple people of possessing the same quantity of marijuana. As you can tell, what on its face seemed to be straightforward can become rather complex. If you would like to speak to one of our drug possession defense attorneys about your options then please contact us at (609)789-0779.
What are the Penalties for Possessing Marijuana in New Jersey?
The quantity possessed will dictate what degree of marijuana possession that a Defendant is ultimately charged with. If it is over 50 grams of marijuana then the Defendant will be charged with a fourth degree felony. If it is under 50 grams then the Defendant will be charged with a disorderly persons offense. Here is a breakdown in the potential penalties:
4th Degree Felony Marijuana Charge – Defendant had more than 50 Grams
- Up to 18 Months in a State Prison;
- Fine up too $15,000;
- Fees & Assessments up too $1,000;
- Felony Criminal Record;
- Mandatory Drug Treatment;
- Loss of Driving Privileges.
Disorderly Persons Offense Marijuana Charge – Defendant had Less than 50 Grams
- Up to 6 Months in the Mercer Jail;
- Fine up too $1,000;
- Fees & Assessments up too $800;
- Criminal Record;
- Mandatory Drug Treatment;
- Loss of Driving Privileges.
These offenses revolve around strictly marijuana possession charges, the penalties will drastically increase for anyone arrested and charged with distributing marijuana in Mercer County. For more information on that offense, please click the link.
Can I avoid Jail Time on a Marijuana Possession Charge in NJ?
With all that being said, there are several diversionary programs in New Jersey that a Defendant may be eligible to take advantage of. They are the Conditional Discharge Program, Pretrial Intervention Program and Drug Court. Each one of these programs has its advantages. If a Defendant is accepted and successfully completes either the Conditional Discharge Program or the Pretrial Intervention Program then the will walk away from these charges without not only serving a day in jail but without a criminal record. With Drug Court the Defendant would be able to avoid incarceration but would have a felony criminal record as a result. For more information on these programs please click the previous links or contact our office at (609)789-0779.
Possession of Marijuana Lawyer in Robbinsville
As you can tell, there are a lot of different options out there for a Defendant who is facing possession of marijuana charges. If you have been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana under 50 grams, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, marijuana distribution or possession of cocaine the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Prior to founding the firm in 2017, Mr. Oliver was a partner at one of the State’s largest criminal defense firms. During his time there Mr. Oliver handled countless drug cases. As a result of his experience his able to bring his big firm experience to a small firm practice. This allows from him to be more hands on with his clients. If would like to set up a free initial consultation today, then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779.