Challenge Your Drug Possession Charges in West New York, NJ
West New York is a town located atop the New Jersey Palisades and only a stone’s throw from Manhattan. This beautiful Hudson County town is a prime spot for anything you could want. Everything is at your fingertips, from groceries to clothing and even, controlled dangerous substances. If you or anyone you know happens to be arrested for drugs in West New York, you could be heading to jail. But before jail is even a consideration, you will have to attend court and should seriously consider retaining an attorney with experience defending drug cases in West New York Municipal Court and Hudson County Superior Court. When you need counsel on possession of CDS charges and want to avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction, contact our local office at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation. A criminal defense lawyer is available 24/7 to answer your questions and discuss your case in more detail.
West New York NJ Drug Possession Offenses
Actually or constructively possessing controlled dangerous substances (CDS) such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, Molly, PCP, and LSD is a crime that violates N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. If you are caught with any of these illicit drugs, you will be arrested and charged accordingly. The same holds true for marijuana provided that you do not have a prescription. However, to be charged with the offense, it must be alleged that you had drugs on or near you, that you knew the substances were illegal, and that you had the ability to control the drugs. The ability to control the item refers to actual or constructive possession, both of which can lead to charges for drug possession.
Many times, we come upon a case in which the person charged was not the actual owner of the drugs but because no one would admit that the substance belongs to him or her, everyone in the area of the substance is charged with Possession of CDS. This happens frequently for people traveling together in cars or attending parties. Unfortunately, the police are not discerning when deciding who should be charged and leave it to the courts to figure out who the guilty party is. In these situations, some people decide to do the noble thing and take the weight for everyone. However, they may not understand the consequences of admitting to possessing drugs. Unbeknownst to many, illegally possessing a controlled dangerous substance can result in indictable charges or charges for a disorderly persons offense. Being charged with either one means that you face criminal penalties, including possible jail or state prison time.
Possessing a controlled dangerous substance under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 will be charged as a third or fourth degree crime, or a disorderly persons offense. The degree of the crime depends upon the drug involved. For example, possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana is a disorderly persons offense, while possessing greater than that amount results in a complaint for a crime of the fourth degree. Aside from marijuana, the reality is that most people accused of drug possession under this provision are charged with third degree indictable crimes. This is because the most frequently used substances, such as heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA, etc., are identified as prohibited drugs for which possession is charged as a third degree crime. A third degree crime is the lowest degree of offense for which you can face charges for possessing any of these substances.
Charged with CDS Possession in West New York, What are the Potential Penalties?
If you have been charged with a felony for possessing a controlled dangerous substance, you can be sentenced to state prison, mandatory fines and penalties, or probation and county jail. The length of the prison term and amount of fines depend upon the degree of the charge. For example, for a 3rd degree crime, a state prison term of 3 to 5 years can be imposed, as well as $35,000 in fines, a mandatory $1,000 drug enforcement demand reduction penalty, and possible probation. For a 4th degree crime, the sentence is reduced but you can still be ordered to spend as much as 18 months behind bars. Additionally, for a fourth degree marijuana charge, the court can impose up to $25,000 in fines and a $750 drug enforcement demand reduction penalty. A probationary sentence can also be imposed. For both third and fourth degree drug possession, there is a presumption against state prison if you have never been convicted of an offense before in any jurisdiction throughout the United States. However, the court may choose to forego state prison and sentence you to county jail for as much as 364 days and/or place you on probation.
Luckily, if you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, there is no chance that you are going to state prison, though you may be sentenced to county jail instead. For disorderly persons CDS possession, the specific jail term can be six months or less. The fines are lowered as well and the most you can be forced to pay is $1,000. It should be noted that the $1,000 is in addition to a mandatory $500 drug enforcement demand reduction penalty. Likewise, you can be on probation for up to five years and the court can impose conditions during the course of your probation.
Notably, if the state makes a determination that you possess drugs with the intention of selling them, you can be charged with a more serious crime under N.J.S.A.2C:35-5.
Arrested in West New York for Drugs, Are there Defenses Available?
When charged with drug possession, it is paramount to know your options. Our criminal attorneys can help with your defense in various ways that are likely unique to your case. For example, if you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense and the case is heard in West New York Municipal Court, we can ask for a conditional discharge. This resolution allows for the charges to be dismissed after you complete court-ordered conditions. Similarly, if you have been charged with a felony and are headed to Hudson County Superior Court, we can apply for a Pretrial Intervention. PTI is similar to a conditional discharge and in most cases, there is no admission of guilt and the charges will be dismissed upon completion of all terms. Some people, namely those with prior criminal records, do not qualify for conditional discharge or Pretrial Intervention.
There are other options and defenses as well. For cases involving felony drug offenses, we can often seek a downgrade to a lesser charge such as failure to make lawful disposition, a disorderly persons offense. In some cases, our lawyers can file motions to suppress the evidence or to dismiss the indictment. At a trial, we are prepared to cross examine witnesses, challenge the sufficiency of the evidence, and try to establish that you had no control over the drugs that were allegedly in your possession. Overall, there are many effective ways that our experienced lawyers attack and resolves cases. The best thing to do is to have us review your individual case to look for defense approaches and solutions.
Call a West New York NJ Drug Possession Defense Attorney to Learn More
Have you been arrested for possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in West New York. Be proactive. Get informed. Position yourself for success in court. Simply contact us at (201) 793-8018 to receive a cost-free consultation. Our team of dedicated defense attorneys is here to help.