New Jersey Marijuana Possession Law
We represent clients charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4); New Jersey marijuana possession complaints filed in central New Jersey municipalities including East Brunswick, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison, Old Bridge, North Brunswick, South Brunswick, South River, Monroe and Sayreville.
New Jersey Marijuana Possession; N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4) is a disorderly persons offense.
This offense may not be plea bargained by the municipal prosecutor.
Hence, defendant only option is to fight the charge, apply for a conditional discharge or plead guilty.
A person convicted of marijuana possession is subject to a fine of up to $1000 plus assessments to Drug Enforcement, laboratory analysis, Victims of Crime Compensation Board and to the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund of approximately $675.
Although a person convicted of this offense who has not been previously convicted of an offense is entitled to a presumption of non-incarceration, defendant may be sentenced up to six months in jail.
The court must suspend defendant's driving privileges for at least 6 months and up to 2 years upon conviction.
If the defendant holds a public office, a conviction may result in forfeiture of office.
If the charges against defendant are dismissed as a result of the conditional discharge the drug violation may be expunged after 6 months.
Provided defendant has not been convicted of more than three disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses, or defendant has not been convicted of an indictable offense, he or she may have their conviction expunged five years after sentence is carried out.
Statute of Limitations
Prosecution must be commenced within 1 year after the offense is committed.
Prosecution commences when a warrant or other process such as a summons or complaint is issued.
Conditional discharge is a diversionary program in municipal court that exists for first time drug offenders.
If qualified the drug charges against the defendant may be dismissed after a year of being placed on probation provided that defendant passes all administered drug tests and does not get arrested during the 1 year period.
To be eligible for the conditional discharge defendant cannot have any prior drug conviction in any court in the United States or has never been placed in a conditional discharge or pretrial intervention program before.
In addition, the defendant may not pose a danger to the community and the defendant will benefit while the public will be protected by defendant's admittance into the program.
Finally, the court must suspend defendant's driver's license following admittance into the conditional discharge program from 6 months to 2 years.
However, if the defendant can raise a "hardship exception" as to why it would cause him or her undue hardship should they lose their driver's license, the court has the discretion of not suspending defendant's privilege to drive.
If defendant is not eligible for conditional discharge and the charge cannot be dismissed, effort should be made to downgrade the charge to loitering for the purpose of obtaining drugs N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1 or even a municipal ordinance as such downgrades do not require loss of license and heavy fines.
Note, however, that municipal prosecutors often resist such an attempt to plea bargain marijuana possession charges because they are generally barred from doing so by New Jersey marijuana possession laws.
If you have any questions for a New Jersey criminal defense attorney about a New Jersey Marijuana Possession charge, please do not hesitate to contact us.