Need a Drug Possession Defense Lawyer in Seaside Heights NJ
Facing Drug Possession Charges in Seaside Heights, New Jersey
Whether you live alone or share your beachside retreat with several others, you can be strapped with drug possession charges if a controlled dangerous substance is found in your home or otherwise in your possession. Seaside Heights, located in Ocean County, New Jersey, is a popular beach town. Easily accessed by Routes 35 and 37 or New Jersey Transit, the town is a popular summer destination for almost anyone looking to get away from it all, especially the younger generation. The 21 and under crowd in part causes the population to surge during the summer months, due to proximity, affordability, and an abundance of things to do. Many of the younger folks take menial jobs and pool their money with friends in an effort to rent beach homes for the summer. With lots of options and thousands of people, Seaside is a hotbed for drug crimes and other types of offenses that lead to arrests. Drug crimes under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 (possession of a controlled dangerous substance) are categorized as disorderly persons offenses or indictable crimes, whether it be heroin, marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy, or another form of CDS that leads to the arrest. If you are charged with any type of drug possession offense, you face jail time if convicted. No matter who you are, where you supposedly possessed the drugs, or what your past is, we can help. An experienced Seaside Heights drug possession defense lawyer at our firm is available now to discuss your case and provide you with a free consultation. Please do not hesitate to contact us at (848) 238-2100 if you have been charged with CDS possession in the Seaside Heights area.
Types of Possession in Seaside Heights Drug Possession Cases
Possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is a crime, which can be alleged to have been committed by you regardless of whether you possess the CDS in your car, on your person, in your belongings, or even in your home. In fact, if you live in a Seaside rental with others and the police find drugs in the home, you can be charged with possession of the substances even if they do not belong to you. Under New Jersey law, the term “possession” includes “constructive” possession. Constructive possession applies in many scenarios where the drugs are in the vicinity of one person or several people, or in a location inhabited by multiple people. For example, if your roommates leave the Seaside Boardwalk, Casino Pier, or any bar such as Beachcombers, JR’s, Jimbo’s, or Hooks after a night of fun and they head home with a fistful of drugs, you can be charged if the substances are brought into the home and left strewn about in the main living area. You and your roommates will be charged with possession of CDS if no one takes ownership of the drugs, as the police will say that what was found was constructively possessed. Constructive possession includes the ability to access or have control over the substance. The upside is, there are many arguments that knowledgeable defense attorneys can make when disputing that the drugs were yours or that you had the ability to control them.
Here’s another common example. Imagine that your roommate routinely uses drugs in your shared summer home. When you moved in, he brought a few Xanax pills that he bought from a friend, as well as some weed. He typically wakes and bakes and you think nothing of it. Sometimes, he uses traditional marijuana packed in a joint, while other times he vapes THC or ingests synthetic marijuana. Whatever the drugs may be, he leaves them out in the common living areas. But when he purchases more expensive or coveted drugs like MDMA, cocaine, mushrooms, LSD, or even larger quantities of pills like Percocet, or Oxycodone, he takes them to the bedroom that he shares with another roommate. Unfortunately, if the police bust in with a warrant after having witnessed someone in your house purchase drugs along the Boardwalk, they will not know who sleeps where or to whom the drugs actually belong. As a result, they may charge multiple people in the house with constructive possession of whatever substance is found.
What can I be Sentenced to for CDS Possession in Seaside Heights?
Court cases for drugs possessed in Seaside Heights are heard in either Seaside Heights Municipal Court or Ocean County Superior Court. Where you go to court depends on what degree drug offense you have been charged with. For instance, for a joint or other possession of marijuana less than 50 grams, you would go to Seaside Municipal Court. In Municipal Court, the Judge hears cases involving disorderly persons offenses, petty disorderly offenses, and municipal ordinance violations. For drug cases such as possession of small amounts of marijuana, possessing a small amount of some prescription pills, failure to turnover drugs, being under the influence of CDS, or possession of drug paraphernalia, you will be charged with a disorderly persons offense and attend court at the Municipal level. If found guilty, you can be ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and could serve as much as 180 days in jail. Making matters worse, the judge can suspend your license for as much as two years. Drug cases in Municipal court also mandate a Drug Enforcement Demand Reduction Penalty (DEDR) of $500 be assessed. And this is nothing in comparison to what can happen to you if you are charged with an indictable crime for possessing CDS.
Possessing drugs such as heroin, molly, methamphetamine, cocaine, K2, THC oil, or larger quantities of pills, will be charged as a felony. Your case will be heard in Ocean County Superior Court where you are guaranteed the right to have a trial in front of a jury of your peers. If convicted of possession of CDS in the third degree, you may be looking at spending the next 3 to 5 years in state prison, as this is the permissible sentence. Additionally, fines can range up to as much as $35,000 for possessing these substances as well as a $1,000 mandatory DEDR penalty. The fines and prison time are lowered to 18 months and $10,000 to $25,000 for fourth degree offenses, such as possessing K2, greater than 50 grams of marijuana, or THC oil.
Ways to Challenge a Drug Possession Case in Seaside Heights NJ
If there was a search warrant preceding the arrest, our attorneys can perhaps challenge the sufficiency of the warrant. If no warrant was issued, and you or someone else consented to the search, we can often challenge the consent to the search and file a motion to suppress the evidence. Our lawyers may also choose to file a motion to dismiss the case by demonstrating that you had no ability to control or constructively possess the drugs. We can also interview any witnesses and cross-examine the state’s witnesses with questions specifically designed to point out that the drugs were likely someone else’s or unlawfully retrieved. Even if you are the person who allegedly purchased and possessed the drugs by yourself, we can evaluate the entirety of the situation and determine if there are ways to fight the case through the filing of similar motions or conducting a trial. Among the variety of controlled substances charges that we handle, our defense lawyers know that the uniqueness of the case must be appreciated and factored into any decisions about defense and trial strategy. With years of experience doing this, we are diligent in our efforts and bring everything that we know to the table when handling your case.
Finding Help from Seaside Heights Drug Possession Attorneys
Convictions for drug possession offenses can weigh upon you mentally, as you know that they may negatively be viewed by those evaluating college admissions, financial aid, and employment applications. So what started with a fun summer adventure can end with substantial restraints on your prospective future. Before you make decisions concerning your future, call the skilled team of lawyers at our Ocean County criminal law office at (848) 238-2100. You may think all is lost and feel hopeless, but we can assess the facts and circumstances to determine the best means of fighting for you. Our defense lawyers are here to assist you. Simply contact us for a free phone consultation or to set up an appointment to meet with us at our local office.