Old Bridge Marijuana Possession Lawyer
Possession of Marijuana Attorneys for Clients Charged in Old Bridge, NJ
No town, no matter how big or small, can allow for the possession of marijuana without the State of New Jersey’s approval, which only applies to medical marijuana prescribed by a licensed physician and in compliance with the state’s program. In Old Bridge, marijuana remains illegal. Whether you have marijuana on you, in your belongings, beach bag, or you are riding in a car with marijuana on your way to Cheesequake, you can be charged with possessing marijuana in any amount in the Township of Old Bridge and throughout Middlesex County, New Jersey. Be aware that despite the low-key attitude toward marijuana by the public, you face significant scrutiny if convicted. In other words, a criminal charge involving marijuana requires your attention and the oversight of an experienced, local attorney who defends clients in Old Bridge Municipal Court and Middlesex County Superior Court, and can help challenge the state’s case against you. Contact our team now at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation about your marijuana charges. One of our lawyers will go over your case and explain how the law applies. But for now, please read below for a basic overview of possession of marijuana if you have been charged with an offense of this kind.
Constructive vs. Actual Possession of Marijuana in Old Bridge NJ
Before you can ever be charged with marijuana, you must “possess” the substance. You can possess marijuana by having it in your pants, pocket, undergarments, backpack, purse, car, or in your hands. This is called “actual possession.” It means that you did possess the substance and that there was no question that it is yours or was on your person. Aside from actual possession, the police can charge you with marijuana possession even when you are not physically caught with the drug. This is called “constructive” possession. Constructive possession is defined by your proximity to the drug and your ability to control it. For example, if you are in a bedroom with your girlfriend, and there is marijuana lying next to you in an ashtray on the nightstand, you may be charged with constructive possession. You may argue that you do not live there, that the marijuana was your girlfriend’s, and that you should not be held responsible for unlawful possessing it. However, the police will say that you had constructive possession because it was next to you and you had the opportunity to reach over and control the weed.
This often happens in the context of motor vehicle stops in which there are multiple occupants who disclaim ownership of the drugs found inside. The police will end up charging everyone with constructive possession. Further, if the drugs are found in the vehicle, the driver may be given a ticket for possessing CDS in a motor vehicle, for which case they will be forced to pay high fines and lose their license for a mandatory period of two years upon conviction. Aside from the possible ticket, you will be charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable fourth degree crime for possession of marijuana in Old Bridge.
Degrees of Old Bridge Marijuana Possession Offenses
A disorderly persons offense will be charged if you actually or constructively possess less than 50 grams of marijuana. This charge is preferred, as it is not a felony and the punishments are not as severe. For instance, if you plead or are found guilty in Old Bridge Municipal Court, your maximum exposure is a $500 mandatory drug penalty, up to $1,000 in fines, a license suspension of 6-24 months, and to top it off, as much as 6 months in jail or probation. The upside of a disorderly persons marijuana offense is that this equates to a criminal misdemeanor and a conviction is not, therefore, punishable by state prison.
Conversely, anyone who has more than 50 grams of marijuana in their possession will, in the very least, be charged with a fourth degree crime for possession. For fourth degree possession of marijuana offenses, a jail sentence of up to 18 months can be imposed as well as $25,000 in fines, 5 years’ probation, license suspension, a $750 drug fine, and $205 in mandatory penalties and lab fees.
Even worse, if you have large quantities of marijuana, the charges will likely be converted to possession with intent to distribute. For example, if you have more than one ounce of marijuana but less than five pounds, the charge will be increased to a third degree crime. The possible punishments bump up with each degree. For a third degree marijuana offense, the sentence ranges between three and five years in prison, an increase in fines, and a drug penalty of $1,000. The jail time becomes mandatory in second and first degree cases involving greater amounts of marijuana and the fines increase as well.
Facing Marijuana Charges in Old Bridge NJ, Who can Help?
If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Old Bridge, New Jersey, there are many defenses available, as well as positive pleas made to cap the overall penal exposure, and diversionary programs that may offer you a chance to avoid a criminal record altogether. Contact us today at (732) 659-9600 to discuss your case with a seasoned Old Bridge NJ Marijuana Lawyer who can help you explore your top options. We have extensive experience defending clients facing marijuana charges and encourage you to take advantage of our free consultation.