Until the law is changed in New Jersey, if caught in Rahway with marijuana, you will be called to answer to the charges in either Rahway Municipal Court or Union County Superior Court. Marijuana crimes are great money makers for local municipalities and the state as a whole, as individuals convicted are often assessed court costs, hundreds or even thousands in fines, and driver’s license suspensions requiring restoration fees.
Experienced Rahway Marijuana Lawyer Assistance When You Need it
If you have been issued a criminal charge for marijuana in Rahway, New Jersey, do not take this charge as a minor event. It can have far-reaching consequences. Find out more about marijuana charges that commonly happen in Rahway and throughout Union County below, and please feel free to contact our criminal law office to speak with an attorney who can assist with your specific questions. You can reach out at (908) 838-0150 anytime for a free consultation.
Why Do People Get Charged With Marijuana Possession in Rahway Nj?
During the most recent United States presidential election, New Jersey voters resoundingly passed a referendum for the legalization of marijuana. However, no matter what the voters believe, marijuana is still illegal in this state without a prescription. There are legal ways to take marijuana for medical reasons, but you must follow the rules. If you have a medical-grade form of marijuana with a prescription, you should not be convicted of unlawfully possessing marijuana. For instance, Verano, a company who has been authorized to cultivate and dispense legal marijuana, was slated to set up shop in Rahway at the old Walmart building. However, if you are just the average person, driving around, taking a toke and getting pulled over, you will likely be charged with violating New Jersey’s primary drug possession statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.
Marijuana possession is a frequently charged offense. In fact, in 2016 in New Jersey, there were approximately 35,000 arrests for marijuana, ranking it number three nationally for the highest number of arrests for the drug. Rahway has contributed to this high number of arrests due to the location of the town and the high volume of people coming in and out of its boundaries on a daily basis. As such, the roadways in and out and around the township are highly trafficked areas sought out by police in making arrests.
For example, the town is located between the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike. It is also accessed by Routes 27 and 1 & 9, which are all heavily traversed roadways where both local and state police are looking for infractions and reasons to pull you over. Even if you are not driving and instead using such public transportation methods like NJ transit from port Authority to Elizabeth, Perth Amboy, or eventually the Rahway Train Station, the police are never too far away. You can expect that in Rahway and elsewhere across the state of New Jersey, there may be an officer waiting and looking for you to make a mistake, light up, or simply be in their presence when they “smell the odor of” burnt or raw marijuana. The police frequently use this simple phrase to give them carte blanche to search you, your car, your friends, and your belongings.
What Is the Penalty for Marijuana Charges in Rahway NJ?
People who get pulled over and searched for the smell of marijuana usually have a minor amount in their possession. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4), any amount of marijuana less than 50 grams is a disorderly persons offense. This includes the little bit left in your roach, the free-flowing shake in your grinder, or the tiny joint in your shirt pocket. But this tiny bit of weed can allow the court to pack a big punch. The Rahway Municipal Court can order a term of probation, a $1,000 fine, a $500 mandatory drug penalty, and even county jail for 6 months. If this is your first offense, you may be able to get a conditional discharge and receive a dismissal down the road by finishing the program.
If you have an amount of marijuana in excess of 50 grams, you will be headed to Union County Superior Court, as you have just been charged with an indictable crime. The fourth degree crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(3) for greater than 50 grams allows the court, in its discretion, to order up to $25,000 in fines. Any financial penalties are issued in conjunction with a mandatory $750 DEDR penalty. If convicted, the sentence can also include prison for as much as a year and a half (18 months).
The level of the crime increases if you have more marijuana in your possession and it is believed that you possess the drug to sell it. For example, for a third degree charge involving one ounce to five pounds, you face 3-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. For a second degree marijuana distribution/possession with intent charge involving 5 to 25 pounds, the potential prison term goes up to 5-10 years and the fine penalty increases to a maximum of $150,000. Worst case scenario, for a marijuana distribution charge of the first degree, you may spend a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison and could pay as much as $300,000 in fines. The fines and penalties only become worse if you are found in possession of marijuana or possess the drug with the intent to distribute in a school zone.
Talk to a Rahway Marijuana Defense Attorney About Your Case and Options
If you are arrested for possession marijuana in Rahway, you will be headed to court where someone else will temporarily have the power to exert control over your life and create problems for you now and in the future. Our criminal defense law office can step in, take some of your control back, and help navigate your hellacious trip through the criminal legal system to protect your innocence. Fortunately, we have experience handling these cases and know what can be done to minimize or eliminate the consequences you now face. In some cases, evidence was obtained illegally and should not be used during your prosecution. For others, the reason for the traffic stop is invalid and everything thereafter is as well.
Depending on your record and the strength of the prosecution’s case, our lawyers can also assist you with applying for such diversionary programs as Pre-Trial Intervention, a dismissal program for first time offenders involving felonies, conditional discharge, a similar program for those charged with disorderly persons offenses, and Drug Court, sometimes an option for those with more significant criminal histories. To receive a free consultation from an experienced Rahway marijuana attorney, reach out today. You can call (908) 838-0150 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we are waiting to hear from you.