N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1  | Operating motor vehicle with controlled dangerous substance or prescription legend drug in possession or in motor vehicle

     In addition to the possible 5 years in prison for the mere possession of drugs, clients found to be in such possession while in their cars / vehicles, are often additionally charged under NJSA 39:4-49.1, which comes with a mandatory 2 year driver’s license suspension.  It is important to note that under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16, any drug related crimes, may have an addition 6-24 month period of suspension imposed, meaning a possible 4 year license suspension if convicted.

      Getting charged any Drug Crime in NJ, can cost you years  in prison, finesdriver’s license suspension, and a criminal record.  With over 40 years Experience as a Former Judge, Former Prosecutor, and Criminal Defense Lawyer, the Attorney's of Avery & Avery are your front line of defense if you have been charged with any criminal offense in NJ.  For a free consultation, we invite you to contact our criminal defense team, at 201-943-2445.

     The following is a copy of N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1, New Jersey's Statute governing the criminal penalties regarding drug possession in a motor vehicle, car, etc:

No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any highway while knowingly having in his possession or in the motor vehicle any controlled dangerous substance as classified in Schedules I, II, III, IV and V of the “New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act,” P.L.1970, c. 226 (C. 24:21-1 et seq.) or any prescription legend drug, unless the person has obtained the substance or drug from, or on a valid written prescription of, a duly licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other medical practitioner licensed to write prescriptions intended for the treatment or prevention of disease in man or animals or unless the person possesses a controlled dangerous substance pursuant to a lawful order of a practitioner or lawfully possesses a Schedule V substance.

A person who violates this section shall be fined not less than $50.00 and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle for a period of two years from the date of his conviction.


     The following is a copy of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16, New Jersey's Statute which mandates an additional 6-24 month driver’s license suspension upon the conviction of any NJ drug offense:


a. In addition to any disposition authorized by this title, the provisions of section 24 of P.L.1982, c. 77 (C.2A:4A-43), or any other statute indicating the dispositions that can be ordered for an adjudication of delinquency, and notwithstanding the provisions of subsection c. of N.J.S. 2C:43-2, a person convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for a violation of any offense defined in this chapter or chapter 36 of this title shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period to be fixed by the court at not less than six months or more than two years which shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed unless the court finds compelling circumstances warranting an exception. For the purposes of this section, compelling circumstances warranting an exception exist if the forfeiture of the person's right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State will result in extreme hardship and alternative means of transportation are not available. In the case of a person who at the time of the imposition of sentence is less than 17 years of age, the period of any suspension of driving privileges authorized herein, including a suspension of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed and shall run for a period as fixed by the court of not less than six months or more than two years after the day the person reaches the age of 17 years. If the driving privilege of any person is under revocation, suspension, or postponement for a violation of any provision of this title or Title 39 of the Revised Statutes at the time of any conviction or adjudication of delinquency for a violation of any offense defined in this chapter or chapter 36 of this title, any revocation, suspension, or postponement period imposed herein shall commence as of the date of termination of the existing revocation, suspension, or postponement.

b. If forfeiture or postponement of driving privileges is ordered by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the court shall collect forthwith the New Jersey driver's license or licenses of the person and forward such license or licenses to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission along with a report indicating the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section. If the court is for any reason unable to collect the license or licenses of the person, the court shall cause a report of the conviction or adjudication of delinquency to be filed with the Chief Administrator. That report shall include the complete name, address, date of birth, eye color, and sex of the person and shall indicate the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section. The court shall inform the person orally and in writing that if the person is convicted of personally operating a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension or postponement imposed pursuant to this section, the person shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties set forth in R.S.39:3-40. A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of the written notice in writing. Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of a violation of R.S.39:3-40. If the person is the holder of a driver's license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not collect the license but shall notify forthwith the Chief Administrator who shall notify the appropriate officials in the licensing jurisdiction. The court shall, however, in accordance with the provisions of this section, revoke the person's non-resident driving privilege in this State.

c. In addition to any other condition imposed, a court may in its discretion suspend, revoke or postpone in accordance with the provisions of this section the driving privileges of a person admitted to supervisory treatment under N.J.S.2C:36A-1 or N.J.S.2C:43-12without a plea of guilty or finding of guilt.

d. After sentencing and upon notice to the prosecutor, a person subject to suspension or postponement of driving privileges under this section may seek revocation of the remaining portion of any suspension or postponement based on compelling circumstances warranting an exception that were not raised at the time of sentencing. The court may revoke the suspension or postponement if it finds compelling circumstances.

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