South Hackensack NJ Marijuana Possession Lawyer

        Conviction for possession, purchase, or use of Marijuana carries life long consequences.  Marijuana is considered to be a Schedule I drug by the Federal Government, meaning it is grouped in the same category as hard drugs like Heroin, Cocaine and Methamphetamine.

Although the State of New Jersey has reduced penalties, called disorderly persons offenses, for simple Possession of Marijuana, there remains the certainty of a Criminal Record and the possibility of a Prison sentence and large Fines if convicted.


Can I Fight my Possession Charge?

There are many avenues of defense, generally these rely on defects in how the police obtained the evidence.  The police need probable cause to suspect you of possession and to search your person or vehicle.  They need a warrant to search your home.  If they had neither of these, you may be able to have the evidence thrown out of court and your case dismissed.

It is important to know your rights at all stages of a search, seizure and arrest.  With nearly 40 years experience as a Judge, Prosecutor, and Defense Counsel, the Attorneys of Avery & Avery know all the tricks and tactics police use to illegally obtain evidence.  As NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers, we have mastered the identification of flaws in the States case, and will work with you to either avoid a criminal conviction, or have the case thrown out completely.  

In most cases you do have a defense, or a way around Jail time, Fines, and a Criminal Record, and it is important to contact an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney immediately to help guide you through our complicated legal system.


What are the Penalties?

The penalties for Marijuana Possession in South Hackensack depends upon how much pot was actually under your control.  If you possessed under 50 grams the charge will be a Disorderly Persons Offense, if you were caught with over 50 grams, the charge will be a 4th degree crime.   For the full statute see here:

Possession of less than 50 grams of Marijuana:

  • Up to six months in Jail;
  • $1,000 Fine;
  • 6-24 Month License Suspension.

Possession of greater than 50 grams of Marijuana:

  • Up to 18 Months  in Prison;
  • $25,000 Fine;
  • Criminal Record;
  • 6-24 Month Drivers License Suspension.

*In addition the above, if you were charged for marijuana possession within a school zone, you may also be required to perform a minimum of 100 hours of community service.  See here for a graphical view.


Do I need a Lawyer?

New Jersey has some of the countries most forgiving Criminal Procedure rules, and some of the most protections against illegal police action.  Even so, with such high penalties for Marijuana offenses in NJ it is important not to take a risk by defending yourself, and rather to be represented by an Experienced South Hackensack Criminal Defense Attorney for the best chance at a good resolution of the case.                                                                                                                                                                       

An attorney can fight for your right to either have evidence supressed and the states case dropped, or can find an appropriate resolution and dismissal of charges through plea agreements with the prosecutor or through the Conditional Discharge (CD) and Pre Trial Intervention (PTI) programs.  For a free consultation, please call us at, 201-943-2445, or reach out to us via our contact page.


Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Very often a client is charged simultaneously with possession of pot, as well as charged for possession of certain drug paraphernalia such as pipes, bongs, rolling papers, grinders, etc.  In NJ this is a disorderly persons offense and can add an additional 6 month jail term, $1,000 fine and possible 2 year NJ drivers license suspension.  For the full NJ Paraphernalia statute, please see here.    

Drug paraphernalia charges can be attacked in a variety of ways, including proving they are not for drug use, through plea agreement, or through the use of alternative programs such as Conditional Discharge and Pre Trial Intervention (PTI) programs.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I was charged for Driving under the Influence (DUI) of Marijuana?

A NJ Drug / Marijuana DUI is the same as a regular drunk driving.  The penalties will be the same, except that there is no provision for low level offenders.  This means, that in addition to the penalties for the possession of weed, you can face additional fines and driver’s license suspensions.  See here for a more detailed description of New Jerseys DUI laws as related to Drugs.

Can I be charged with both possession and possession with intent to distribute?

As the name of the offense indicates, it is the intent to distribute that really matters.  As long as the prosecutor can demonstrate you intended to and had the ability to sell, manufacture, or distribute the pot, weed, marijuana, etc, you can be found guilty and you should strongly consider contacting a lawyer.

Does the amount of drugs possessed matter?

The amount of weed in possession will matter for sentencing purposes.  As labeled above, there are two levels of offense, one involving 50 grams or less and the other more than 50 grams of weed.  If the amount of pot possessed was greater than 50 grams, the charge will be a 4th degree crime, with punishment up to 18 months in prison, and up to a $25,000 fine, along with up to a 2 year driver’s license suspension and a criminal record.  If you were charged with possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana, the crime would be a disorderly persons offense, with punishment up to 6 months in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, along with up to a 2 years driver’s license suspension.

If the quantity was sufficiently large the South Hackensackpolice will often also charge the defendant with Possession with Intent to Distribute, which carries much more serious consequences.

No matter the charge, a NJ possession of marijuana charge can have dire consequences, and you should defend yourself with New Jersey’s top Drug Possession Defense Lawyer’s.  For a free consultation, please call 201-943-2445.

What if I had more than one drug, will I be charged for both?

If you have been caught with more than one drug at a time, say Marijuana and Cocaine, you should only be charged with one offense for possession of drugs.  If however you have drugs in separate places which were additionally found, you may be charged multiple times.  This means if your hotel room was found to have heroin, and you were found elsewhere with marijuana, you may be charged twice.

What if it wasn't real drugs?  

In NJ, if you are expressely or impliedly selling Marijuana, even if the supposed weed is fake, and contains no banned substances, you can still be found guilty under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-11.  These situations are just as dangerous to your future as possessing the real thing, and you should consult an experienced NJ Drug Defense Attorney immediately.

If they have caught me and there are no defenses, what can I do?

In some situations the police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  In situations like these we have often been successful in downgrading the offense to a far lesser penalty and no jail time.  Another approach is to enter our client into a diversionary program such as Pre Trial Intervention (PTI)  or Conditional Discharge (CD).  These programs provide the benefit of no jail time and no criminal record.  We have been successful with combinations of the two as well when dealing with high level offenders.

What do I tell the police? 

We give the same answer to all clients regarding all criminal charges, say nothing!  Until you talk to your NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Is working with the police to have my charges dismissed a possibility?

       Sometimes the best approach to avoid prosecution is for a client to "turn state's evidence".  This is an opportunity which occasionally can be worked out with the prosecutor and police in order to have our clients charges dropped.  

How will my possession charge affect my immigration status?

This is not a simple question.  Depending on what your status is, and what your charges are, there can be vast consequences including deportation from the United States.  Generally a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, is extremely dangerous to your immigration status and may result in deportation or ineligibility for citizenship.  If it is a second offense possession charge the possible immigration consequences also become far greater.

It was a cop who bought it from me, is that a defense?  

No this is not a defense.  This is a classic sting operation.  The myth that undercover police officers must identify themselves is simply that, a myth, and has no bearing on the case.

I have been caught on this before, are there any additional penalties?

There are no statutory extra penalties, however you will still face additional hardships.  Generally a judge will impose much harsher penalties on a second offender than a first.  If you have already used a diversionary program such as Pre Trial Intervention (PTI) or Co,nditional Discharge or Expungement, you may not be able to take advantage of these programs again. Additionally if you are not a citizen, a second offense drug charge will significantly hinder your status.  With all these factors in mind, a second offense drug possession will require an Experienced NJ Criminal Defense Attorney.  With over 40 years experience you can feel safe in the hands of Avery & Avery, call today for a free consultation.

I didn't have the weed on me when I was busted, is that a defense? 

It depends on whether you in legal terms "constructively" possessed the contraband.  If it was in your house, or arms reach in your car it generally constitutes constructive possession as far as the courts are concerned.  It is the job of an experienced lawyer to cast doubt on that in in court.  

It was in a school zone how does that affect the case?

Community service is an extra burden if convicted for mere possession.  However if the charge also involves distribution of drugs and the offense took place in a school zone, you may face an additional charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.  For the full statute click this link.  Generally, if found guilty of this additional charge you may face up to an additional 5 years in prison.  Even if you are originally charged for a small distribution of pot, marijuana, weed, etc, you still can face significant prision time, and it becomes even more urgent you contact an experienced NJ Criminal Defense Attorney, such as those of Avery & Avery.

They found marijuana in the car, what happens?

These cases are just like any other weed possession case.  The penalties remain the same, as does the possible 2 year suspension of your NJ drivers license.  Posession of pot in a motor vehicle opens many avenues of possible defense however.  There are many possible defects in the way the police handled the case that could result in suppression of evdience against you.  To determine if this is a possibility, please contact one of our lawyers at 201-943-2445.

What happens when it wasn't mine?

This is a situation that generally occurs in a car.  Usually the police will charge every occupant of the vehicle and it is then up to them to prove in court it wasn't theirs or to compell their friends to cop to it.

I've also been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, what can I do?

There are several facts the courts will consider when deciding whether or not an object truly constitutes drug paraphernalia, these are:

Any statements of those in possession of the supposed paraphernalia;

     1. The existance or lack of residue in the object;

     2. Evidence of prior use of the object;

     3. Instructions for the use of the object;

     4. And whether there are any legitimate uses for the item.

     5. Any statements of those in possession of the supposed paraphernalia.

Drug paraphernalia charges in NJ almost always accompany possession or distribution charges, are serve as additional proof of knowledge by the defendant making the states case easier.  With the additional penalties such as 6 months in jail for possession of paraphernalia, it is important to contact a NJ Drug Defense Attorney immediately.  For a free consultation call one of our lawyers at 201-943-2445.

What about drug court?

NJ Drug Court works similarly to other diversionary programs, and provides a means for certain offenders to avoid some consequences of a criminal conviction.  Drug Court does have many drawbacks however, such as regular court appearances, random drug screens, community service, job training, in and out patient drug detox and rehabiliation, mandatory AA meetings, etc.

How will a NJ Marijuana Possession charge affect my professional license?

Professional licenses take a long time to get and can be taken away instantly if you have a drug conviction on your record.  All professional licenses are different, while some may be more forgiving, others such as those in the public safety, engineering, and medical profession, such as nursing and MD licenses are at great risk if you are convicted for drug charges.  

If you have a nursing degree, medical degree, law degree, or any profession license, you are at extra risk and should contact a Marijuana possession defense Attorney immediately to discuss your options.


South Hackensack Municipal Court Information:

The South Hackensack Municipal Court is held at 227 Phillips Avenue, South Hackensack, New Jersey 07606.  Court is scheduled on  the second and fourth Thursday's of the month at 1:00 P.M.

Phone:  201-440-1844

Fax: 201-440-6017

Judge: Hon. Giuseppe C. Randazzo

Court Administrator: Diane Brando - 201-641-7183

Prosecutor: Elsbeth Crusius, Esq.

South Hackensack Municipal Court Office Hours:

Monday - Friday: 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Police Records Officer: 

Capt. Robert Kaiser - 201-440-1815, Ext. 116

For more information on the South Hackensack Municipal Court, please visit their website at: http://www.southhackensacknj.org/court/


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