Drug Possession is one of the most commonly charged offenses in New Jersey. So long as marijuana (though all things are pointing to a legislative change), cocaine, heroin, LSD, adderall, xanax, steroids, ecstasy, and a slew of other substances remain illegal, the Toms River Police Department will be on the hunt for drugs during pat-down searches and motor vehicle stops. Depending on the type of drug and the volume/weight of the drugs, you may be subject to an indictable offense handled by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Contact the Toms River criminal defense attorneys at 848-238-2100 to discuss your matter and learn what we can do to help you fight your criminal charges.
N.J.S.A. 2C:25-10 Lawyer Toms River, NJ
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 sets forth the varying drug related charges and their corresponding degree (first degree, second degree, third degree, disorderly persons, petty disorderly persons). Under this statute, it is “unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely to obtain or possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled dangerous substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly or pursuant to a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner (i.e. a licensed medical professional).” This is a specific intent standard. That means that the State must prove that you intending to possess the drugs either through “actual possession”, “joint possession” or “constructive possession” This concept is constantly litigated in motor vehicle stops where passengers all deny knowledge of drugs that are found in the vehicle.
However, for those that do possess the requisite mental state, the severity of your charges are directly related to the type of substance that you possessed and, in some cases, the quantity of that controlled dangerous substance. Controlled Dangerous Substances are classified under the Controlled Dangerous Substance Act as either a Schedule I, II, III, or IV drug.
Types of Possession – Actual, Constructive and Joint
A person is in actual possession of an item when he/she first, knows what it is: that is, he/she has knowledge of its character, and second, knowingly has it on his/her person at a given time. “Constructive Possession”
Possession may be constructive instead of actual. As just stated, a person who, with knowledge of its character, knowingly has direct physical control over an item at a given time is in actual possession of it. Constructive possession means possession in which the possessor does not physically have the item on his or her person but is aware that the item is present and is able to and has the intention to exercise control over it. So, someone who has knowledge of the character of an item and knowingly has both the power and the intention at a given time to exercise control over it, either directly or through another person or persons, is then in constructive possession of that item.
Possession may be sole or joint. If one person alone has actual or constructive possession of an item, possession is sole. If two or more persons share actual or constructive knowing possession of an item, possession is joint.
Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Toms River
While marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug by the DEA, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 handles marijuana differently from other Schedule I drugs. Specifically, if you are found in possession of 50 grams or more of marijuana, then you will be charged with a crime of the fourth degree. If convicted, you face up to 18 months incarceration and a $25,000 fine. However, in the more common scenario, the individual who is in possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana (joint, blunt, dime bag, eighth, etc.) will be charged with a disorderly persons offense. A disorderly persons offense is a non-indictable crime that is handled at the Toms River municipal court (unless there are additional indictable charges) and carries up to 6 months in the Ocean County Jail.
Penalties for Possession of Heroin in Toms River
In New Jersey, basic possession of heroin is a third degree offense. This means that you will face up to 5 years in a New Jersey State Prison and a $35,000 fine, plus assessments. However, depending upon your criminal record and history of drug abuse, you may be required to to enter a diversionary program such as Drug Court.
Penalties for Possession of Cocaine in Toms River
Similar to heroin possession, cocaine possession is a third degree offense. A conviction at the Ocean County Superior Court will carry up to 5 years imprisonment and a $35,000 fine.
Typically, drug possession charges are accompanied by a charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(c), Failure to Make Lawful Disposition. Moreover, any possession charge may face enhanced penalties if the offense occurred within 1000 feet of a school zone or 500 feet of certain public property.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a drug crime in Toms River, contact our office today and speak with an experienced attorney. Our office is available 24/7 and will provide the initial consultation free of charge. For help, call 848-238-2100 today.
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