Bayonne Marijuana Attorneys for Clients Charged with Possession & Distribution Offenses
Tens of thousands of people call Bayonne home. Aside from those residing in the town, thousands more frequent the area for work or pleasure. Whether you are passing through via the Bayonne Bridge on your way to Cape Liberty, or driving along Kennedy Boulevard, you have a good chance of being pulled over for an alleged traffic infraction. Police are highly active in the area and frequently conduct motor vehicle stops for alleged offenses ranging from speeding to reckless driving and DWI. Once pulled over, a search of your vehicle can lead to unintended criminal charges and associated consequences. If the police approach your car and supposedly smell marijuana, they can search the vehicle for evidence of any contraband or crime. If marijuana is found on your person or in your car, you may be arrested and charged with a marijuana offense. In the city of Bayonne and throughout New Jersey, people may face charges for possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, and actual distribution of this controlled dangerous substance . Each offense carries maximum penalties including jail, thousands of dollars in fines, and a criminal record.
When you are facing marijuana charges in Bayonne, you should strongly consider enlisting legal counsel. Hiring the right attorney who is familiar with both Bayonne criminal cases and the laws in New Jersey can be your greatest asset when seeking to successfully resolve the case. We at Proetta & Oliver have decades of combined experience defending clients charged with marijuana crimes in both the Hudson County Superior Court and Bayonne Municipal Court. Depending on the degree of your charges, your appearance in one of these courts is required, and our lawyers can help you effectively handle the next steps. Contact our local offices at (201) 793-8018 to discuss your case. Consultations are available 24/7 and provided at no cost to you.
Disorderly Persons Offense for Marijuana in Bayonne, New Jersey
If you have been arrested and charged with an offense involving marijuana, you will attend either Bayonne Municipal Court or Hudson County Superior Court, depending on the level or degree of alleged crime. For instance, countless people have been charged with the disorderly persons offense of having less than 50 grams of marijuana under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 in municipalities throughout Hudson County, including Bayonne. If charged with possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana in Bayonne, you will attend Bayonne Municipal Court located at 630 Avenue C in the city.
Once in Municipal Court, you will have various options. For example, you may choose to plead guilty to the offense as part of a plea bargain that lessens your overall exposure to jail. For some, a conditional discharge may be appropriate, which allows your case to be dismissed if all conditions are met during a specified period of time. For others, you may wish to fight the case by filing motions or having a trial.
Ultimately, if the case is not worked out or you are found guilty, you do face jail time. The presiding Judge in Bayonne Municipal Court can sentence you to a maximum of 180 days in jail, order a combination of jail and probation, asses a $500 drug crime fee, and order up to $1000 in other fines, in addition to suspending your license for 6 to 24 months. Additionally, if you have the marijuana in your car, you can receive a ticket/summons for having a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a motor vehicle.
Possession of Marijuana in a Motor Vehicle in Bayonne
Being in possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle may actually subject you to charges for two separate offenses. Specifically, you may be charged with the underlying criminal offense of drug possession, in connection with marijuana or another drug that the police allege that you had, as well as receive a companion ticket for possessing the substance in the car. How does this happen?
Often, the process begins with the police stopping the car for an alleged infraction of the motor vehicle code. Once pulled over, the officer approaches the car and attests to the “the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.” This “smell” authorizes the police to go through your car and search for drugs. They may also conduct a vehicle search if they see the marijuana or drug paraphernalia in “plain view.” Upon searching the car, the individual may be charged with possession of CDS (ie. Marijuana), as well as CDS in a motor vehicle.
CDS in a motor vehicle under N.J.S.A. 39:4-49, carries certain penalties that can alter your lifestyle. In fact, your license can be suspended for two years, obviously making it difficult to travel to and from work and conduct your regular activities. This ticket may come in addition to the charges for possession of marijuana, and is often charged as a companion to underlying drug possession or paraphernalia offenses. So, whether you have a baggie, a packed bowl, or a blunt, you may be arrested and charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, plus a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-49, if the marijuana possession offense is committed within a motor vehicle.
Felony Marijuana Charges in Bayonne NJ
Having greater than 50 grams of marijuana permits more serious charges that are indictable in nature. When facing felony marijuana charges in Bayonne, your case will be sent to Hudson County Superior Court, located in nearby Jersey City. For example, hypothetically, if the police pull you over and find more than 50 grams of marijuana, you could be charged with marijuana possession in the fourth degree. If they also discover plastic baggies and a scale, you may be charged with marijuana possession with intent to distribute.
In Hudson County Superior Court, you have the option to plead guilty, negotiate a plea for a lesser offense, apply for admission into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program or Drug Court, or take your case to trial. Notably, the consequences of a finding of guilt after a trial are much more grave in felony marijuana cases.
For fourth degree charges for marijuana possession, not only will you have a criminal conviction on your record which can impact things like employment and housing, but the judge can sentence you to a maximum of 18 months in state prison, order $25,000 in fines, probation for 5 years, or as much as 364 days in the Hudson County Jail. If you had allegedly had more than one-half of an ounce, your charges will be upgraded to a third, second, or first degree crime for possession with intent to distribute or distribution of marijuana.
Marijuana distribution charges and possession of a drug with the intention of selling it, are encompassed within the same statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. When facing these charges, the degree of the crime depends on the amount of marijuana. For a first degree crime, which applies in cases involving at least 25 pounds or 50 plants, you can be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. The possession with intent to distribute charge is deemed appropriate because it would be difficult for one person to argue that they possessed 25 pounds or more of the drug for personal use. Possession of less than 50 grams is more commonly associated with personal use, which is why this is a lesser offense with comparably lesser penalties.
For a second degree complaint of the same nature to be filed, the police must allege that you have at least 5 pounds but less than 25 pounds of marijuana for distribution or dispensation purposes. If convicted, a jail sentence of 5 to 10 years can be imposed. A third degree complaint can be filed for possessing greater than one ounce but less than 5 pounds of marijuana for sale, and jail for 3 to 5 years can be ordered by the Judge upon conviction. Lastly, for a fourth degree possession with intent crime for marijuana, the police must allege that you had less than one ounce with the intent to dispense or distribute. If proven, the court is within its discretion to sentence you to jail for 12 to 18 months.
Charged with Marijuana in Bayonne NJ? Talk to a Lawyer Now
If you find yourself charged with marijuana in the city of Bayonne, this may sound extremely overwhelming. But, simply being charged with a marijuana offense does not mean that you will be found guilty. There may be legal issues to raise in your case, or a program available, that can ultimately lead to a dismissal. When you enlist help from our skilled Bayonne marijuana defense attorneys, we review all the information, such as police reports, CAD reports, recordings, statements, and lab reports, and use it to defend you against the charges. For instance, in the case of a car stop, we may be able to challenge the legality of the stop after reviewing the evidence.
If the stop is illegal, the search that ensues thereafter is equally illegal, and the drugs may be “suppressed.” Essentially, this means the state cannot use the marijuana as evidence and it often means the state has no case. Even if there are not issues that directly lead to a dismissal, our experience often enables a favorable plea deal or entrance into Conditional Discharge or Pre-Trial Intervention. Contact us today at (201) 793-8018 to discuss your marijuana charges in Bayonne, and let us see what we can do to deliver a superior outcome for you.