Harrison Drug Possession Attorney
Battle-tested Harrison Drug Possession Defense Lawyers
Marijuana has been legalized in New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be arrested for drug possession in Harrison, NJ. If you are caught unlawfully possessing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in Harrison, you can expect Harrison law enforcement to charge you with a crime. For drug possession charges, you may even face possible jail or prison time if you plead guilty or are convicted at trial in Harrison Municipal Court or Hudson County Superior Court. Whether you have been charged with illegal possession of a prescription drug, cocaine possession, possession with intent to distribute heroin, possessing MDMA, or another drug offense in Harrison, you have the option to speak with an attorney as soon as possible by contacting the experienced team at William Proetta Criminal Law. One of our skilled criminal defense lawyers may be able to challenge the evidence in your Harrison drug case or raise constitutional challenges to the search and seizure used by police to obtain the evidence in the first place. It also might be possible for an attorney at our firm to get your charges downgraded to a lesser offense, or help you be admitted into a diversionary program so that you avoid jail and keep the criminal charges off your permanent record. Knowing all of your options and preparing a solid defense strategy is the best thing you can do when you have been charged with drugs anywhere in New Jersey. We can assist you. Simply call (201) 793-8018 or send us a message for a free consultation.
Possession of CDS Is a Common Criminal Charge in Harrison NJ
Harrison is a town located on the western border of Hudson County, New Jersey. According to the most recent Census estimates, Harrison has a population of more than 17,000 people who reside in an area of just 1.33 square miles. Red Bull Arena is located in Harrison and is home to the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer. The arena is a popular destination during soccer season, with a total capacity of around 25,000 people and accessibility available via the Harrison PATH station. The main public transportation facility in Harrison is the Harrison PATH station, which provides daily service to the largest cities in NJ, including Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark, as well as New York City. With the PATH, the stadium, a larger population of residents and commuters, highly trafficked roads and highways and access to many more, such as the Garden State Parkway, Harrison also has a notable police presence. Virtually everyday, people are stopped for traffic infractions and DWI offenses, and arrests and criminal charges are not uncommon within the municipality’s borders. Drug possession is among the most frequently charged offenses and yet, the ubiquitousness of these charges belies how serious their consequences can be.
Defining a Harrison Drug Possession Offense
The unlawful possession of any drug that is covered by the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act and that is classified according to a “Schedule” is considered a criminal offense which can lead to criminal charges in this state. Importantly, the NJ criminal code restricts possession of both illegal and legal drugs, which means that even a prescription painkiller or cough syrup has legal restrictions. Violating the law with respect to controlled substances happens in various ways, the most common offense being illegal possession. The most common drugs involved in drug crime arrests and charges in Harrison include cocaine, marijuana, synthetic marijuana, heroin, and prescription drugs. Generally speaking, the more addictive and dangerous the drug, the more severe the penalties for illegally possessing or distributing it. Keep in mind that even legal drugs like marijuana, OxyContin, Morphine, Xanax, Percocet, and Vicodin are still regulated by the state – which means that it is possible to be charged with a felony-level drug possession crime for possessing any of these drugs under unlawful circumstances. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, it is a crime to possess certain controlled dangerous substances in Harrison or elsewhere in New Jersey.
What Exactly Constitutes “possession” of Drugs?
While the most common type of drug possession charge involves actual possession – where the offender is searched by police and found to have a CDS on their person – it is possible for an individual to be charged with illegal drug possession even if they did not actually have the drugs in their physical possession. This is known as “constructive possession,” and it means that police found the drugs near you and that you were deemed to be the person that the drugs belonged to. For example, many constructive drug possession charges involve a motor vehicle stop in which law enforcement searches the vehicle and discovers drugs like Ecstasy, cocaine, or heroin in the glove compartment or elsewhere in the car. If authorities determine that the drugs belonged to the driver because he or she had the ability to exercise control over them, that person is likely to be arrested and charged with a drug possession offense. Keep in mind that it is also possible to jointly possess CDS, which means that police could arrest all of the occupants of a motor vehicle if drugs are discovered in the car.
Degrees & Penalties for Drug Possession Charges in Harrison NJ
The grading of drug crimes in New Jersey is typically determined by the weight of the drug, the type of drug, and the nature of the drug offense, whether it be possession, distribution, or other offenses that break the law with regard to controlled dangerous substances. For instance, selling one pound of heroin is likely to be classified as a more serious drug offense than merely possessing 10 ounces of marijuana or a single dose of a prescription painkiller. The precise grading and penalties for NJ drug possession crimes under the main Possession of CDS statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, classifies drug possession offenses as:
- Third degree felonies: Possession of a CDS that is classified as a Schedule I, II, III, or IV drug is a third degree indictable offense and carries a possible penalty of 3-5 years in state prison. The types of drugs covered by this part of the statute include heroin, cocaine, LSD, and Molly.
- Fourth degree felonies: Possession of a Schedule V controlled dangerous substance is a fourth degree indictable offense and carries a possible penalty of up to 18 months in prison. Fourth degree charges also apply to possession of synthetic marijuana.
- Disorderly persons offenses: Unauthorized possession of prescription drugs in an amount of 4 pills/units or less can result in charges for a disorderly persons offense, for which an individual will face up to six (6) months in jail if convicted. To learn more about the specific nuances of prescription drug offenses, click on the link.
In addition to facing incarceration, an individual convicted of a drug offense in Harrison or anywhere else in New Jersey can be punished with fines, driver’s license suspension, community service requirements, and probation. Beyond that, a person convicted of a drug crime will also have a criminal record that could make it difficult for them to gain employment and other opportunities in the future.
Arrested for Drugs in the Town of Harrison, Where Will My Case Be Handled?
Most drug possession cases involving low quantities of prescription medications or paraphernalia associated with drugs like cocaine and heroin, are handled in the Harrison Municipal Court. For more serious drug charges that involve either distribution or a higher Schedule drug like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine, the cases are handled in the Hudson County Superior Court. The difference in the forum is crucial for defendants because the penalties in superior court can be extremely harsh and may even involve minimum mandatory terms of incarceration, whereas the penalties in the local municipal court typically do not result in the offender being sentenced to jail time. A minor drug offense like unlawful possession of prescription drugs is typically classified as a disorderly persons offense, which carries a maximum penalty of six (6) months in jail. By contrast, a drug offense like cocaine possession is classified as an indictable crime of the 3rd degree and carries a possible penalty of 3-5 years in state prison.
The bottom line is that drug cases handled at the superior court level are more likely to result in incarceration and even CDS charges in municipal court can impact your driving privileges, finances, and the goals that you have moving forward. The good news is, there are methods and defense strategies that can be employed to avoid these, which is why it is crucial that you have a competent criminal defense lawyer representing you very early in the legal process. At William Proetta Criminal Law, our lawyers have years of experience and methods for fighting to get your Harrison drug possession charges either dismissed or downgraded to a disorderly persons offense or municipal ordinance violation handled in the Harrison Municipal Court, where the penalties will be far less severe.
Harrison NJ Drug Possession Attorneys Can Help You Fight CDS Charges
Your best chance of avoiding conviction in your Harrison drug crime case is to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer representing you. The simple fact is that a defendant with a knowledgeable lawyer on their side is far more likely to beat a drug charge in Harrison Municipal Court or Hudson County Superior Court than a defendant without legal representation. Prosecutors know how to push you into an outcome that is simply not in your best interests and criminal lawyers with experience know not to take the bait. If you would like to speak with an attorney about possession of CDS, distribution charges, maintaining a CDS production facility, a drug paraphernalia offense, or driving under the influence of drugs in Harrison, contact us 24/7 at (201) 793-8018 for immediate assistance. An attorney is available now to provide you with a free consultation.