Our law firm recently defended a client who was indicted for third degree possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance. Our client had been pulled over as a passenger in a car while him and his friend were driving down the Garden State Parkway on their way to Atlantic City. A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up a large quantity of pills in a mislabeled bottle, marijuana and several thousand in cash. Based on the circumstances, both individuals were charged with 3rd degree prescription drug distribution which could carry up to 5 years in state prison, if convicted. Our first strategy was to apply our client for Pre-Trial Intervention so the charges could be dismissed after successful completion of probation but after a review of his application, probation and the Prosecutor’s Office denied his admission because of his prior criminal record in New York. The case would then be scheduled for trial if no plea agreement could be worked out and our client was adamant that he would not plead guilty to an indictable crime (felony) or drug distribution. In furtherance of his defense, we brought several proof issues to the attention of the prosecutor that may prevent them from proving the drug distribution charge against our client. After conferencing matter, the prosecutor agreed and conceded that they could not prove the distribution case and therefore agreed to dismiss it. This left only the disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) possession of marijuana which our client admitted was his and agreed to plead to such. Ultimately, our client was sentenced to “fines only” which means no jail or probation.
State v. S.M. decided February 6, 2017