Drug possession accounts for a high number of arrests in New Jersey, and under New Jersey’s strict laws, people convicted of drug possession can face severe penalties. An arrest does not automatically lead to a conviction, however, since the State is required to prove each element of a crime to establish a defendant’s guilt. If you were recently charged with drug possession, it is vital to retain a skilled New Jersey drug possession lawyer to assist you in protecting your rights. Attorney Raymond A. Grimes has diligently defended people charged with criminal offenses in New Jersey for over 25 years.Drug Possession Under New Jersey Law
Under New Jersey law, there are several statutory provisions under which a person may be charged with drug possession. The severity of the charge and the penalty that a criminal defendant may face if he or she is convicted largely depend on both the type and the quantity of the drug that the person is charged with possessing. In New Jersey, it is unlawful for a person to purposely or knowingly obtain or possess a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog without a prescription.
If a person is convicted of possessing a drug classified as a Schedule I-IV drug, which includes heroin, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamines, it is a crime of the third degree punishable by a prison term of three to five years and a fine of up to $35,000. A conviction of possession of a Schedule V drug, such as cough medicine with codeine, is a fourth-degree crime and can result in a prison term of up to 18 months and the imposition of a fine of up to $15,000.
The penalties imposed for a marijuana conviction depend on the amount that the person is charged with possessing. Possession of greater than 50 grams of marijuana is a fourth-degree crime, which is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and up to 18 months’ imprisonment, while possession of 50 grams or less is a disorderly person charge and can result in a jail term of up to six months. A capable drug possession attorney in New Jersey can advise you on the potential penalties for your charges, as well as the defenses that you may be able to assert to avoid a conviction.Defenses to Drug Possession Charges
In New Jersey, the State is required to prove that you committed the crime with which you are charged beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, in drug possession cases, the State must not only prove that you were in possession of a controlled substance but also prove that you knowingly and intentionally possessed the substance. If you are charged with possession based on drugs that were in your car or belongings of which you were unaware, for example, you may be able to avoid a conviction.
Additionally, in most drug possession cases, the State’s case will largely rest on evidence obtained during a search and seizure. If the evidence was not obtained in a legal manner, the State may be precluded from introducing it at trial. For example, both the New Jersey and the United States Constitutions prohibit the government from subjecting citizens to unreasonable searches and seizures. A New Jersey drug possession attorney can investigate whether the police lacked a valid warrant or another purpose for conducting a search that is permitted by law. If so, the search may be improper, and any evidence obtained during the search may be suppressed. Even if the police had a warrant, if they go beyond the scope of the warrant, any evidence found during the portion of the search that was beyond the scope of the warrant may be suppressed as well.Contact a Knowledgeable Drug Crime Defense Attorney
A conviction of drug possession can result in fines and jail time, and it can also harm your career and relationships. Raymond A. Grimes will work diligently to help you pursue the most advantageous legal result available under the facts of your case. He represents people charged with drug possession in areas such as Somerville, Neshanic Station, and other communities in Somerset County and throughout New Jersey. You can reach Mr. Grimes through the online form or at (908) 371-1066 to schedule a meeting to discuss your charges with a drug possession lawyer in New Jersey.