Possession of Marijuana
Have you been arrested for a marijuana offense? In New Jersey marijuana is considered a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). These offenses can have significant fines, penalties, and in some cases jail time. Whether you have been charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana or distribution of a large quantity of marijuana, it is important to get a experienced lawyers working for you immediately. Before you make any court appearances, protect you rights and speak to a lawyer. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation.
Possession of Marijuana
Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana is a violation N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(4). This is the most common marijuana related arrest. Possession of five grams or less of hash is also covered under this subsection. A Violation of NJSA 2C:35-10a(4) is a disorderly persons offense and carries significant penalties including up to 6 months in jail and a 6 month loss of license, in addition to heavy fines and possible probation.
In many instances, the defendant will also be charged with possession of CDS in a motor vehicle. This is a serious motor vehicle offense in violation of NJSA 39:4-49.1. If convicted of this offense, the court will impose a two year loss of license.
New Jersey statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(3), makes it unlawful for any person to possess more than 50 grams of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or more than five grams of hashish.
Any person who violates this statute is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.A 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be imposed;
Possesion of marijuana in a school zone carries enhanced penalties. Any person in possession of marijuana while on any property used for school purposes or within 1,000 feet of any such school property or a school bus and who is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment, shall, in addition to any other sentence, be required to perform not less than 100 hours of community service.
At LS&P Lawyers our primary goal is to minimize the consequences stemming from these charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney can meet with you to explore potential defenses in an effort to get your charges reduced or dismissed. With many drug cases, issues can arise involving police conduct. Often the outcome of the case can hinge on whether the police violated your 4th amendment constituional rights. Our NJ drug crime attorneys will explore whether the police conducted an unlawful search or seizure.
The penalities for a conviction of these charges usually depend on whether this is your first, second, or third offense, etc. For some offenders, there are oppoturnities for alternative diversionary programs. At the municipal court level, a disorderly persons offense may be eligible for Conditional Discharge. Typically, third and fourth degree crimes are handled at the county level. There, first time offenders may be eligble for alternative programs such as Pretrial Intervention (PTI) or Drug Court.
A criminal conviction can follow you. Having a criminal record can hamper your job opportunities, credit applications, and reputation. Let LS&P Lawyers see if you fit the criteria to enter a diversionary program to avoid this negative stigma. Depending on the charges against you, you may able to avoid a criminal conviction altogether.
Possession With The Intent To Distribute Marijuana
If you have been arrested and charged with a marijuana distribution crime, take the steps necessary to educate yourself about your charges. We provide free consultations and can give you the information you need to make educated choices going forward. Possession with intent to distribute is a serious drug offense and can, in some instances, carry mandatory state prison time. Now is not the time to wait. Make sure that your rights are protected every step of the way.
New Jersey statute, 2C:35-5, provides it is unlawful for any person knowingly or purposely;
- To manufacture, distribute or dispense, or to possess or have under his control with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog; or
- To create, distribute, or possess or have under his control with intent to distribute, a counterfeit controlled dangerous substance.
The penalties imposed for "PWI" charges vary depending on the quantity of marijuana involved. Twenty-five pounds or more of marijuana including any adulterants or dilutants, or fifty or more marijuana plants, regardless of weight, is a first-degree crime. A fine of up to $300,000.00 may be imposed.
If the amount of marijuana exceeds five pounds or more but is less than 25 pounds including any adulterants or dilutants, or 10 or more but fewer than 50 marijuana plants, regardless of weight, it is a second-degree crime.
An individual with marijuana in a quantity of one ounce or more but less than five pounds including any adulterants or dilutants, is guilty of a crime of the third degree and a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be imposed.
Possession with intent to distribute marijuana in a quantity of less than one ounce is a fourth degree crime.
Although these charges involve the distribution and sale of marijuana an individual may still be eligible for a diversionary program. If the charge is in the third or fourth degree Pretrial Intervention (PTI) can still be an option. Those charged with first of second degree offenses are typically not eligible for PTI. However, no matter the degree of offense a person can still apply for Drug Court.
Possesion with the Intent to Distibute in a School Zone
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 provides: any person who distributes, dispenses, or possesses marijuana with the intent to distribute on school property, a school bus, or within 1,000 feet of such school property is guilty of a crime of the third degree and shall, except as provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12, be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment.
The statute sets forth, "where the violation involves less than one ounce of marijuana, the term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole." If the weight of marijuana is greater than one ounce, the minimum imprisonment term increases to three years. Parole ineligibility remains the same. A fine of up to $150,000 may also be imposed upon any conviction for a violation of this section.
The important thing to realize if that you could be facing mandatory jail time if charged with distribution in a school zone. It is important to discuss your options and your case with a criminal lawyer who understands the law. We can determine your defenses and whether any relief is provide within the statute itself.
The criminal defense attorneys at our New Jersey law firm are eager to assist you and provide the type of aggressive advocacy that these cases demand.