Receiving a drug charge can be stressful and frightening. It can leave a nasty stain on your criminal record and has the potential to negatively impact your future employment. Use or possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, but even a charge of this nature can carry some serious penalties and hurt your reputation. Because of the lasting stigma an offense like this leaves, it is very important to secure excellent legal representation immediately following this charge.
If you have been arrested for possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. At Lustberg Law Offices, LLC, criminal defense attorney Adam M. Lustberg fights for New Jersey clients with dedication and experience. Contact his office today at (201) 880-5311 for a free initial consultation.
Definition and Details of Drug Paraphernalia Crimes in NJ
N.J.S.A 2C:36-2 – Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Statute – Offense:
It shall be unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog or toxic chemical in violation of the provisions of chapter 35 of this title. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.
Possession of drug paraphernalia typically refers to equipment or accessories that are commonly used with drugs, including:
- Glass Pipes or Bongs
- Rolling Papers
- Roach Clips
- Cutting Agents
- Plastic Mini Bags
- Small Measuring Scale
In determining whether or not an object is drug paraphernalia other factors may be considered, such as:
- Statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use
- The proximity of the object of illegally possessed controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs
- The existence of any residue of illegally possessed controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs on the object
- Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, to deliver it to persons whom he knows intend to use the object to facilitate a violation of this act; the innocence of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, as to a direct violation of this act shall not prevent a finding that the object is intended for use as drug paraphernalia
- Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use
- Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use
- National or local advertising whose purpose the person knows or should know is to promote the sale of objects intended for use as drug paraphernalia
- The manner in which the object is displayed for sale
- The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community
- Expert testimony concerning its use
Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia Possession in New Jersey
If you are convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia, the penalties can include up to $1000 in fines, jail time of up to 6 months, and driver’s license suspension for 6 months up to 2 years. However, if one can prove a serious need to drive (such as the need to travel long distances for work or to care for a sick family member), a judge can decide to waive penalties on a driver’s license.
Although a disorderly persons offense is not the same as being convicted of a crime, the associated charges can still have devastating effects on one’s life. Drug charges, even small ones, never look good on one’s record and can result in the loss of your degree or job opportunities..
It is also important to note that a drug paraphernalia charge can often be accompanied by other drug crime charges. Prosecutors will often use drug paraphernalia possession to leverage their case against you and amplify the seriousness of other drug crimes. Penalties can also be worse if the individual is convicted of other drug crimes at the same time. When a situation like this occurs, you will need a quality lawyer to help you negotiate a less severe sentence.
Common Defenses for Drug Paraphernalia Possession Charges
The possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious offense. New Jersey’s extensive drug paraphernalia legislation can also lead to criminal charges. An attorney can help defendants explore all options to preserve their freedom. These are just a few of the possible defenses a criminal defense lawyer may employ to help their client defend against drug paraphernalia possession charges.
Legal Use of the Items
Paraphernalia items are usually objects that are legally produced and then sold. However, what makes them illegal is when they are being used for drug-related purposes. If a defendant’s defense team is able to demonstrate that the paraphernalia was not used for illegal purposes, then the defendant will have a strong defense.
Adam M. Lustberg is a New Jersey drug defense lawyer who has extensive knowledge about defenses for drug paraphernalia possession charges. Each defendant’s case is unique and our attorneys at Lustberg Law Office strive to create the right defense strategy. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Civil Rights Violation
Everyone in America has civil rights. If the defendant’s arrest and the circumstances leading to it have involved an illegal violation of their civil rights, they may be able to have their charges dismissed. These violations could include:
- Law enforcement officers use illegals ways to conduct a search and discovery of the alleged paraphernalia
- Law enforcement officers overstepping what is legally acceptable behavior during interrogation or arrest
- Law enforcement deliberately induces an offender into committing a crime by using entrapment
Program Options Available to Allow for a Clean NJ Criminal Record
For clients who are first-time offenders (that means anywhere in the USA), there are programs available that, upon passing, can result in the dismissal of charges and a clean record. If you are only charged with drug paraphernalia possession, you may be able to receive a Conditional Discharge, where you are placed on probation for one year and can have your charges dismissed. However, having your charges dismissed is dependent on whether you are able to pass all drug tests and steer clear of any other criminal charges during this time.
If you are a first-time offender and you are charged with felony offenses in additional drug paraphernalia then you may be eligible for Pretrial Intervention (PTI) that may benefit you. PTI is for a period of time up to three years. If you abide by the terms and conditions of PTI, typically by remaining offense free, passing all drug tests and paying any fines, then you may be eligible to have your slate wiped clean.
Consult With a Qualified New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Options Today
Experienced criminal defense attorney Adam M. Lustberg knows how to fight drug charges and can help you avoid possession of drug paraphernalia penalties. In order to minimize the damage that severe penalties can inflict upon your life and livelihood, he will build a strong defense strategy on your behalf. He understands how to challenge the prosecution’s evidence in order to get your charges dismissed or reduced if possible. Contact us today for a free consultation: (201) 880-5311.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.