With all of the publicity surrounding heroin abuse – and overdoses – in New Jersey, you would think that prosecutors have lightened up a bit on marijuana possession. You’d be wrong.
In fact, in response to the push for legalization of pot – which is happening elsewhere in the country but NJ legislators are holding their ground here to date – police are cracking down on illegal marijuana. (Medical marijuana is legal in New Jersey, under certain circumstances and only by prescription.) The truth is, getting caught with even one single joint can mean jail time.
New Jersey categorizes possession of marijuana in two ways:
Simple possession of 50 grams or less (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(4),) is a disorderly persons offense. If convicted, you could face six months in jail and be forced to pay up to $1,000 in fines. You could also have your driving privileges suspending up to two years, since marijuana is a controlled dangerous substance in New Jersey.
Anyone caught with more than 50 grams of pot will likely face fourth degree felony charges. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(3), a conviction may lead to 18 months in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
In both cases, getting caught with drug paraphernalia, may very well lead to additional charges and penalties.
Even if you are convicted and the judge decides to require you to pay fines and do community service, rest assured you aren’t getting away Scott free. You may avoid jail time but you will have a criminal conviction on your permanent record. Even one black mark on your record can cause a future employer to think twice about hiring you. Same goes for a landlord who can easily opt for the prospective tenant without the record. If you have a federal student loan, you may lose eligibility. If you have a professional license, you may have your privileges revoked.
Beyond that, the impact on your professional reputation can be great. The personal embarrassment you may face will be extremely difficult.
The Internet makes it very easy to get information on anyone. Make no mistake about it, people do background checks. Your public arrest records are available to anyone who makes an effort to view them.
John W. Tumelty is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will fight tirelessly to get your charges downgraded and even dismissed. He will negotiate with the prosecutor, putting his many years of experience as a state prosecutor to work for you. Contact him today for a free consultation about your charges. He will work hard to help you avoid conviction of marijuana possession charges in New Jersey.