One of the most commonly charged drug crimes in Morris County involves marijuana possession and/or use. While it may be common, that does not detract from the severity of the consequences that coincide with a conviction for marijuana possession. While mere use of marijuana is typically a disorderly persons offense, possession of marijuana that exceeds 50 grams is an indictable offense (commonly referred to as a felony) in New Jersey. Specifically, marijuana possession over 50 grams will result in fourth degree charges under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 and could result in up to a eighteen (18) months in prison and a $25,000.00 fine. Alternatively, a disorderly persons offense for marijuana possession or being under the influence of marijuana carries up to six (6) months in a Morris County Jail. As you can tell these are serious charges and require the assistance of an experienced Morristown, NJ criminal defense lawyer. For assistance with your pending criminal charges involving marijuana possession, marijuana use, or failure to make lawful disposition of marijuana, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today. Our firm has a plethora of collective experience handling drug related matters, specifically, those involving marijuana throughout Morris County, in towns like Madison, Denville, Roxbury, Dover, Parsippany Troy Hills, Mount Olive and Boonton. Our firm has the tools and resources necessary to handle your case from start to finish. Call our Morris County Office today and speak with an experienced criminal trial attorney.
Parsippany NJ Marijuana Possession Lawyer
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 Possession, Use or Being Under the Influence, or Failure to Make Lawful Disposition
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug as set forth by the Controlled Substances Act. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), “it is unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposefully, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled substance or controlled substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized.” In practice, this is basically broken down as follows:
- Did the Defendant knowingly or purposely, obtained or possessed, either actually or constructively;
- Marijuana or its analog.
As you can see, the statute is pretty straightforward. The only exception to this rule is that you legally possess marijuana so long as you have a prescription issued by a medical professional in accordance with New Jersey law.
What If I Did Not Actually Possess the Marijuana Physically?
Clients often come to my office upset that they were charged with marijuana possession when in fact they were not the person actually possessing the drugs. While this may seem like a clear defense, the concept of constructive possession will trump that argument. Since its inception, constructive possession has proven to be a complicated aspect of this offense. Courts have found that physical or manual control over item itself is not required for constructive possession. Instead, all that is necessary is an intention to exercise control over an item, which can be proven through circumstances that reasonably infer a capacity to do so exists.
Being Under the Influence of Marijuana in Montville, NJ
In addition to possession, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 also sets out guidelines for individuals who are under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b), “Any person who uses or who is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, for a purpose other than the treatment of sickness or injury as lawfully prescribed or administered by a physician is a disorderly person”. Here, it is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant did use or was under the influence of any specific drug, rather for a conviction it is sufficient for the State to prove that the defendant violated this statute by proving that the defendant manifested physical and physiological symptoms or reactions caused by the use of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog. This gives the State greater latitude in proving that the defendant was in fact under the influence.
Is Possession of Marijuana a Felony in New Jersey?
It depends on the amount of drugs recovered at the scene of the incident. Where the marijuana measures out to more than fifty (50) grams, including all adulterants and dilutants, or more than five (5) grams of hashish, than the State may charge you with a fourth degree offense. Conversely, possessing fifty (50) grams or less of marijuana, five (5) grams or less of hashish, or merely being under the influence of either will be a disorderly persons offense.
Will I Go to Jail For Possessing Marijuana?
A Fourth degree crime for possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or more than five grams of hashish may result in up to eighteen (18) months in a New Jersey State Prison as well as a fine up to $25,000.00 as prescribed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(3). A disorderly persons offense for possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or five grams or less of hashish may result in up to six (6) months in the Morris County Jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine.
Moreover, the court will suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for a time period between six (6) months and two (2) years. In addition, probation for up to two (2) years, drug counseling, periodic urine testing and community service may be imposed.
Any person who commits any offense defined under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 while on any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of any such school property or a school bus, or while on any school bus, and who is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment, shall, in addition to any other sentence which the court may impose, be required to perform at least 100 hours of community service.
Madison NJ Marijuana Possession Defense Attorneys
The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced Morris County, New Jersey drug possession defense firm. Our office has over 100 years of combined experience on staff including over twenty-five years of prior prosecuting experience. We have been defending individuals charged with the simple possession of marijuana, possession of Molly, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, heroin possession and cocaine possession in towns like Morris, Madison, Boonton, Rockaway, Hanover and Roxbury for over a decade. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation with any one of our eight Morris County, New Jersey criminal defense lawyers, please contact our Morristown Office at 973-309-7050. Our initial consultations are always free and our team of Morristown, NJ criminal lawyers are available 24/7 to help you.