Weehawken Drug Possession Attorney
Weehawken NJ CDS Possession Defense Lawyers
Located at the foot of the Lincoln Tunnel, Weehawken in Northern Hudson County, New Jersey, is easily accessible via the New Jersey Turnpike for those traveling to and from New York City. As such, those going to and from Weehawken are often the unfortunate subjects of traffic stops along the turnpike. Commonly, a simple stop for speeding can turn into an arrest for a drug offense. Possession of any controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 is a criminal offense for which the police can arrest you, charge you, and under some circumstances, hold you during the pendency of the case. If you have been arrested and charged with drug possession in Weehawken, NJ, you’re not alone. The attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law are here to assist you. Having over a decade of experience each defending clients facing criminal charges in New Jersey, we employ all of our accumulated knowledge and years of criminal law practice to obtain the most desirable results. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions and would like to speak with a lawyer who can advise you further. Call (201)-793-8018 today for a free consultation.
Drug Possession Offenses in Weehawken, New Jersey
There are essentially two categories of drugs under the statute prohibiting the use or possession of controlled dangerous substances. Drugs that are prescribed by a medical practitioner are known as prescription legend drugs and can be possessed by the person to whom the prescription has been given. Drugs that are “illicit” are known as street drugs that cannot ever be legally possessed.
Third Degree Possession of CDS
The list of controlled dangerous substances that are illegal to possess are numerous and the degree of crime associated with the particular drug varies from case to case. Although there are some exceptions, a Schedule I, II, III, or IV controlled dangerous substance found on you, or in your vicinity, can result in a complaint for a third degree crime. These can include:
In addition, possessing between 5 and 99 pills or units of prescription drugs like Oxycodone, Percocet, Adderall, Ritalin, Vicodin, and Suboxone can lead to third degree felony charges as well.
For any of the above named drugs possessed unlawfully, the court could in its discretion, impose 3-5 years in prison. Mandatory fines of $1,000 will be imposed as well, but the Judge also has the authority to order you to pay a financial penalty up to $35,000 and suspend your driving privileges in this state.
Fourth Degree Drug Possession Charges
Not all drugs require the police to file a criminal complaint in the third degree. Lower quantities of particular medications and other substances may allow for a lower level fourth degree offense to be charged instead. Listed on Schedule V are those for which you will be charged with a fourth degree crime and they include:
- < 200 milligrams of codeine
- < 100 milligrams of opium
- < 100 milligrams of ethylmorphine
- < Less than 2.5 milligrams diphenoxylate
- < Less than 100 milligrams of dihydrocodeine
The potential sentences for possessing these substances, synthetic marijuana, or marijuana in an amount exceeding 50 grams can be a term of up to 18 months in prison.
The state may allege and charge individuals with more significant indictable crimes, but larger quantities/weights would have to be substantiated. The charges are then taken out of the possession range and transcend into drug distribution charges under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.
Disorderly Persons CDS Possession Offenses
If you have less than 50 grams of marijuana or minor amounts of prescription pills under N.J.S.A 2C: 35-10.5 (e)(1) your case is considered a misdemeanor or, as we refer to it in New Jersey, a disorderly persons offense. This means it is not a “crime” per se but it does carry a possible sentence of 180 days in the county jail, a $500 Drug Penalty, and as much as $1,000 in fines.
How People Get Charged With Drug Possession in Weehawken NJ
Drug possession arrests and charges are often based on the alleged smell of marijuana coming from the motor vehicle. The legality of searches based on the smell of marijuana has always been called into question, but it is often relied upon by officers to justify searches during which drugs are found. While no one can say with absolute certainty, it is believed that these searches based on the smell of marijuana will likely continue notwithstanding the recent public vote in favor of legalizing marijuana. In a motor vehicle stop in which certain factors are present, the officer may have a hunch that drugs are hidden somewhere in the car. However, a hunch that drugs are present is not enough to remove the occupants from the car and search them, the car, and its contents.
Law enforcement officials have to specifically establish probable cause that a crime has been, or is being committed. If the offense they believe is happening is being under the influence of CDS (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b)) or drug possession (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)), the officer may state as a matter of routine, that he smells marijuana. Since 2015, this has been a justifiable reason to toss the car and look for drugs. See State v. Witt. Searches have been upheld even when no marijuana is ultimately found and instead, other drugs are discovered that have no identifiable smell, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and mushrooms. The result of the searches based on the smell of marijuana is profitable, and more serious crimes involving harder drugs have higher discretionary fines and mandatory Drug Enforcement Reduction Penalties, along with more potential jail time.
Even with the expected changes to the law on marijuana use in New Jersey, it is likely that officers will find crafty ways to find probable cause as a reason for the search. For instance, the officer may allege that he smelled marijuana and that the driver showed signs of impairment. Upon making the observation he will say that he searched the car for evidence of alcohol or drugs that negatively impacted the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. Additionally, he could cite plain view, observations made as to the occupants’ physical or mental condition, or answers to questions given by the occupants. In any event, if he gets into the car and finds drugs, you could be charged with an indictable crime or disorderly persons offense, both of which carry fees, surcharges, fines, and penalties. What it could mean for you is all of these consequences, plus a criminal record.
Courts That Handle Weehawken NJ Drug Possession Charges
If you have been charged with a drug possession offense, your notice, summons, or warrant should clearly state the name of the court that will hear your matter. As a general rule, indictable drug crimes like third and fourth degree drug possession are addressed in Hudson County Superior Court. If the case involves a disorderly persons offense, the matter may be dealt with in the court of that jurisdiction. In Weehawken, disorderly persons offenses are heard in Weehawken Municipal Court. In Municipal court, the prosecutor deals with criminal misdemeanors and motor vehicle tickets. It is common for the court to see numerous Weehawken DWI charges, possession of cds in a motor vehicle, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, and some cases involving prescriptions in smaller quantities.
Need a Local Weehawken Drug Possession Lawyer
When you have been arrested and charged with CDS possession in Weehawken NJ, the process can be long and arduous or relatively brief, depending on the particular facts and circumstances of the case, potential defenses and eligibility for diversionary programs, and whether your matter should be litigated to the fullest extent possible. At our Hudson County law firm, our attorneys have experience examining all of the evidence to determine the best strategy for handling your drug possession charges in Weehawken and throughout Hudson County. It is possible to have both disorderly persons offenses and felonies involving drugs at the same time. This is not an issue, as we defend clients in all cases involving criminal matters. To discuss yours and what you can do to protect your rights, contact (201)-793-8018. Consultations are provided at no cost 24/7.