Marijuana Offenses in New Jersey
Parsippany Marijuana Crime Lawyer - Charges Under N.J.S. 2C:35-10
A growing number of states, including New Jersey, have legalized medical marijuana, making it possible for patients to obtain a doctor's prescription for the legal use of cannabis in the treatment of certain conditions. New Jersey has not, however, joined the list of states which have partially decriminalized marijuana so that simple possession of a small amount would be an infraction punishable by nothing more than a ticket and a fine. Instead, state law maintains a tough stance against any use of marijuana for recreational purposes, and any time you are caught with the drug you can be arrested and charged with a crime.
What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Crimes in New Jersey?
The sentence you could receive if convicted of a crime involving marijuana depends on factors such as the quantity of cannabis involved in the incident and the specific nature of the crime of which you are accused. For example, possession of no more than 50 grams of marijuana is charged as a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Additionally, you may be subjected to a driver's license suspension lasting for as long as 2 years.
In the event that you are found in possession of more than 50 grams, you can be charged with a felony and punished with up to a year and a half in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If the arrest took place within 1,000 feet of a school, you may additionally be ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. More serious crimes, such as distribution or cultivation of marijuana, are charged as felonies. Again, the penalty depends on the quantity of drugs involved, but they can range as high as 20 years in prison and $300,000 in fines.
Defending Against Marijuana Charges in Morris County, NJ
There are many proven criminal defense strategies which can be employed in fighting against charges involving marijuana. One of the first questions to ask following a marijuana arrest is whether the police may have violated your constitutional rights. If, for example, you were arrested after a police officer pulled you over and searched your vehicle, it may be possible to file a motion to suppress the evidence by demonstrating that the officer violated your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. Legally, a law enforcement officer cannot search your person, your home or your possessions with a warrant or probable cause to suspect that you are guilty of a crime.
In many cases, a marijuana arrest is made after a traffic stop in which the officer did not actually have probable cause to pull the driver over. The same is true in cases where cannabis is found in pockets or a bag during a stop and frisk on the street, or when the police have entered the suspect's home without a warrant. If your rights were violated, it may be possible to suppress the evidence that you were in possession of marijuana or were growing plants in your home.
Make the Prosecutor Prove Your Guilt
Another common approach for fighting marijuana charges is to dispute the fact that you were actually guilty of the crime. For example, your Parsippany criminal defense lawyer may argue that you were unaware that the marijuana was in your vehicle or your home and that the drugs belonged to someone else. The burden of proof in the case is on the prosecutor, since you cannot be convicted until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
When you meet with The Law Offices of Christopher G. Porreca, P.C. for your free consultation, I will take the time to discuss the circumstances of your arrest and to determine what strategy will be most effective in clearing your name of the charges.
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