Marijuana Possession Downgraded to Township Ordinances


Our New Jersey marijuana lawyers recently defended a client who was charged and arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a state trooper had pulled behind his vehicle that was stopped on the shoulder on the New Jersey Turnpike. Once the trooper made contact with our client he alleged that he could immediately smell the odor of raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. Based on the smell alone, he placed our client under arrest and searched him. Although the search of our client turned up no drugs the troopers still searched the inside of his car and found a sandwich bag containing alleged marijuana in the center console as well as an Entourage Natural Vanilla cigar. Based on the sandwich bag filled with a greenish-brown vegetation believed to be marijuana, he was charged with Possession of Marijuana under 50 grams under 2C:35-10a4 and Drug Paraphernalia under 2C:36-2 for the cigar they found next to it. He was brought to the Cranbury State Trooper Barracks where he was processed and later released on a summons.

How To Dismiss a Marijuana Case in New Jersey

Based on his location on the New Jersey Turnpike, the case was sent to Edison Municipal Court for prosecution. Soon after, he contacted our office for help in his defense. Originally, like many people our client was hesitant to plead “not guilty” and thought it might be best for him to go into court and just admit to what he may have done. However, this is rarely recommended and, in fact, the judge and prosecutor will normally encourage you to plead not guilty because that is your right and for you to hire an attorney or apply for a public defender when you are having a serious criminal case and “consequences of magnitude”. It is always the state or prosecutor’s burden to prove the allegations against you and that is sometimes a lot easier said than done. As with the case here, our lawyers immediately made a demand for the evidence that the state planned to use against our client in order to weigh the state’s case. When it became obvious that some of the state’s evidence including the laboratory results and videos from the motor vehicle stop may be seriously delayed we made a motion to the judge to a sign an order mandating that the state produce those items within a limited amount of time or they would be barred from being used against him based on his speedy trial rights. The following court date, after the missing evidence was still not provided, our marijuana lawyers were successfully able to argue to the judge that he must suppress the evidence. Based on the suppression of evidence, the prosecutor could not proceed on the original criminal complaints so we agreed to have the drug paraphernalia amended to a local township ordinance which only carried a nominal fine and no criminal record and the possession of marijuana and remaining charges were dismissed. In the end, our client was able to walk out of court with no criminal record, no probation and preserved his right to use a conditional discharge or Pre-Trial Intervention in the future.

State v. W.M. decided September 21, 2017

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.