Police departments invest a tremendous amount of manpower and financial resources in aggressively enforcing the state’s strict drug laws. Prosecutors will likely take a similarly hard-line approach to filing and trying a case against you if you are arrested for drug charges in Ocean County or elsewhere in New Jersey. With that said, hiring an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney can tremendously help to increase your chances of resolving your drug case in the best way possible. Depending on the circumstances and your prior record, you may be able to qualify for “diversion” of a first-time drug offense with a program like Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or Conditional Discharge. Or you may be able to move to suppress evidence obtained through an illegal stop or search, making it impossible for the state to prove the charges against you.
Alternatively, your attorney’s investigation into your case may produce additional defenses that can call into question the prosecutor’s theory or invalidate any evidence obtained at the time of your arrest, potentially leading to the reduction or even outright dismissal of the charges against you. None of these outcomes are assured or even common, but an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to sort through the facts of your case and develop the most effective strategy. Contact our skilled New Jersey drug defense lawyers for a free consultation about your drug case in Ocean County, NJ.
Top Defenses for Drug Charges in Toms River NJ
Lack of Probable Cause
In some cases, police may have stopped you, pulled over your vehicle, or searched your house or workplace without reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that a crime occurred. Perhaps you weren’t actually speeding before they pulled you over or there was no reason to stop your car. A police officer must stop your vehicle for a valid reason – not because you’re in a certain neighborhood or some other reason unrelated to a criminal or traffic violation.
If police lacked such cause or suspicion, and if they further failed to obtain a search warrant prior to the search that turned up evidence against you, your attorney may be able to move to suppress that evidence. Without certain types of key evidence, the state may find itself unable to prove its case and the charges against you may be dismissed. In many cases, this involves the actual drugs that were found. You can see how difficult it would be to prove a drug possession case with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or the prescription drugs that gave rise to the charges.
Evidence Doesn’t Support a Conviction
Charges against you may also be dropped if evidence not available to the police or the prosecutor is discovered after you have already been charged with your drug crime. Your defense attorney or their investigator may look at the video footage from the police car and notice that your rights were violated in some way. Perhaps you were accused of swerving and that was the reason the officer used to pull you over. If the video shows that you weren’t, in fact, swerving, the stop is invalid and any evidence obtained thereafter may be thrown out of court.
The Drugs were Someone Else’s
Of course, there are other examples of this also. If you were in a vehicle with multiple people and someone else who was also charged subsequently confesses that the drugs were theirs, your lawyer may be able to get the charge against you dismissed. Any number of other facts could come out after the time of your arrest or arraignment that provide you with viable legal defenses or undermines the prosecution’s case. This is why it is so critical to have a lawyer working for you throughout the legal process.
Negotiating a Better Deal
Later-obtained evidence is often more useful in convincing prosecutors to dismiss a case than is a letter regarding your good character, evidence of enrollment in a substance abuse treatment facility, or similar evidence of good conduct following your arrest. However, character evidence can be very useful in certain cases when seeking a more lenient sentence from the judge or better plea deal from the prosecutor. This is especially true if you choose to enter rehab after drug charges have been filed.
Using a Diversionary Program
New Jersey has a number of leniency programs, known broadly as “diversion programs,” designed to help you avoid a criminal conviction if you are charged with a first-time drug offense and have no prior criminal record. If you qualify for such a program, you will typically be asked to complete a term of court supervision in exchange for dismissal of the charges pending against you. There are several requirements for admission into these programs, and they are generally only available for a true first-time offense. Talk to a knowledgeable criminal lawyer at our firm to find out whether you qualify.
Consult Point Pleasant Drug Lawyers for Help with Your Case
If you are facing drug charges in Ocean County or elsewhere in New Jersey, you should make sure to learn about all of your potential options to deal with case before making any decisions. To discuss your drug case and learn more about potential strategies for negotiating reduced charges or a dismissal in your drug case, contact our Point Pleasant criminal defense attorneys at (848) 238-2100 or contact us online. We handle drug cases in Toms River, Seaside Heights, Lacey Twp, Brick, Manchester, Jackson, and throughout Ocean County, NJ.