New Jersey Possession of CDS Charges

We represent clients charged with N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1; New Jersey possession of CDS - controlled dangerous susbstance - complaints 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 Possession of CDS charges may stem from being caught operating a vehicle on a highway while knowingly in possession of CDS - controlled dangerous substance - or any prescription drug without a valid prescription.

N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 is a motor vehicle offense rather than a criminal charge.

However, New Jersey Possession of CDS while driving a motor vehicle is one of the most serious motor vehicle offenses because upon conviction it requires a two year suspension of driving privileges.

State Must Prove

The following five elements must be proven by the State beyond a reasonable doubt in order to procure a conviction:

1. Operation of a Motor Vehicle;

2. on a highway;

3. while in knowing possession;

4. of CDS or prescription drugs;

5. located on the person of the driver or within the vehicle.


Fines plus two years loss of license.


If operation does not take place on a highway then the charge must be dismissed.

Additionally, if the driver did not procure the CDS or was not aware of it, the charges similarly must be dismissed.

The farther away the drugs are found from the location of the operator within the vehicle the more difficult it becomes to satisfy the knowing element of the offense.

For example, the state may not be able to satisfy this element if the CDS is found in the trunk of the vehicle or on a passenger rather than the driver or hidden within a motor vehicle that is not owned by the operator and is occupied by several people.


This offense is almost always charged with criminal drug charges such as N.J.S.A 2C:35:10(a)(4) - Marijuana Possession - and N.J.S.A 2C:36-2 - Drug Paraphernalia Possession.

If a dismissal is unattainable then consideration should be given to resolving this charge by way of merging into the criminal offense or even dismissing it as part of a plea agreement.

Furthermore, most prosecutors will not object to a conditional dismissal or delay in prosecution of this traffic offense in contemplation of dismissal if the defendant can successfully complete a diversionary program such as conditional discharge on the companion criminal drug charges.

If there is no companion criminal charge associated with this violation, it may be resolved by way of plea, trial or dismissal.

If you have any questions for a NJ criminal defense lawyer about a New Jersey possession of CDS charge, please do not hesitate to contact us.