Possession of CDS Lawyers in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Edison NJ Drug Possession Defense Attorneys
Individuals are charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) virtually everyday in New Jersey. These drug charges, governed by section NJSA 2C:35 of the Criminal Code, may involve a broad range of substances, the most common of which is marijuana. In many instances, people are charged with drug possession after a traffic stop for an entirely unrelated motor vehicle violation. In fact, police arrest drivers and passengers on a regular basis after a search of a car yields marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs. Although charges for possession of drugs happen with astounding frequency in NJ, this does little to minimize the serious penalties associated with a conviction. Depending on the drug involved and the amount, sentencing for drug possession crimes may include incarceration for up to 5 years. If you have been charged with possession of CDS in New Jersey, you should speak with an experienced drug defense lawyer about ways to have your charges dismissed. At Proetta & Oliver, our attorneys customize a defense strategy based on the unique circumstances of each case in order reach the most successful resolution. With offices in Edison, we defend clients arrested for drug possession throughout Middlesex County, including in East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Piscataway, New Brunswick, Monroe Township, and Carteret. For additional information and a free consultation with an experienced Middlesex County drug possession attorney, contact us today at (732) 659-9600 or contact us online.
Possession of CDS Charges in NJ: NJSA 2C:35-10
Possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is governed by a single statute, NJSA 2C:35-10. This offense encompasses a vast array of drugs, essentially any of the substances included in the NJ Drug Schedules. In some instances, charges for drug possession are issued in isolation. However, they are often accompanied by other charges for possession of drug paraphernalia, CDS in a motor vehicle, or driving under the influence of drugs (DUI).
The penalties for possession of CDS are variable, based on the type of drug and the measured weight of the substance. The majority of drug possession offenses are graded as third degree crimes, which may result in between 3 and 5 years in prison. However, third degree crimes in New Jersey entail a presumption of non-incarceration for first time offenders. This means that individuals with no prior criminal record may be able to enroll in the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). This diversionary program offers you the opportunity to have your charges dismissed by completing a probationary term. If you finish PTI successfully, you will not have a conviction on your criminal record.
Charges for possession of CDS involving marijuana are unique in terms of their grading. Specifically, possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana is a disorderly persons offense, while possession of more than 50 grams is a fourth degree crime. This distinction is extremely important, as a fourth degree crime is considered a felony in New Jersey. Having less than 50 grams of marijuana means your case will be heard in the local municipal court. If convicted, you’re facing up to 6 months in the county jail. On the other hand, a fourth degree possession of CDS crime exposes you to a maximum of 18 months in state prison. Notably, there is a program similar to PTI that applies in municipal court called conditional discharge. It is a first time offender diversion that allows a defendant to avoid a criminal record after serving a period of probation.
New Jersey Drug Possession from a Legal Standpoint
All indictable offenses for possession of CDS are handled in the Superior Court, Criminal Division. This means your case will first be evaluated by the County Prosecutor’s Office, who will decide whether to downgrade the charges and remand them to municipal court or to proceed at the Superior Court level. Typically, these decisions are based on the amount of the drug you allegedly possessed and the strength of the evidence against you.
In order to obtain a conviction for possession of CDS in New Jersey, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had criminal possession of the substance. Criminal possession is broken down into two types: actual and constructive. Actual possession of CDS means you had the drug on your person or had direct control over it. Contructive possession is less straightforward, as it means you had knowledge of the item, the ability, and the intent to exercise control over it at some point. When an officer charges several people in a vehicle with drug possession, this is based on constructive possession. In other words, if you’re in a car with a few other people and police find a bag of marijuana in the glove compartment, you may all be charged with possession of marijuana as a result.
East Brunswick NJ Drug Possession Lawyer
Being charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is a serious matter, one which you should not attempt to handle alone. An experienced attorney can use a host of defenses to challenge the validity of the charges against you and aim to have them dismissed. The skilled drug defense lawyers at Proetta & Oliver will construct the best strategy to deal with your drug possession charges, whether that means having the charges downgraded, helping you enroll in conditional discharge or PTI, or fighting for an outright dismissal at trial. We have defended countless clients arrested for marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and prescription medications like Oxycontin throughout Middlesex County, NJ. Call our Edison office now at (732) 659-9600 to find out how we can help you.