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. Drug 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, New Jersey drug paraphernalia possession lawyer Adam M. Lustberg fights for New Jersey clients with dedication and experience. Our team of skilled attorneys may be able to help you protect your rights and freedom if you are charged with drug trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of mushrooms, or any other drug-related offenses in New Jersey. Contact our 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
Can You be Charged with Possession for Residue
In New Jersey, the law is quite stringent when it comes to drug offenses. This includes the possession of drug residues. A common misconception is that you can’t be charged if there are only trace amounts of controlled substances. However, under New Jersey law, you can be charged with drug possession even if what you have amounts to mere residue.
New Jersey’s Controlled Dangerous Substances Act (N.J.S.A 2C:35-10(a)) does not stipulate a minimum quantity of a drug for a person to be charged with possession. It simply states that it’s unlawful for anyone to knowingly or purposely possess a controlled dangerous substance. This means that if there is any detectable amount of a drug, including residue, you can be charged.
The penalties for possession of drug residue in New Jersey can be severe. They can range from fines, mandatory drug counseling, probation, to jail time in some cases. The exact penalties depend on several factors, such as the type of drug involved, the person’s criminal history, and whether there were any aggravating factors.
It’s also important to note that if the residue is found on an item associated with drug use, like a pipe or a spoon, you could also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, which carries additional penalties.
If you find yourself facing charges for possession of drug residue in New Jersey, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced drug paraphernalia possession attorney. They can help navigate the complex legal system and work to protect your rights.
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.
How To Get A Drug Paraphernalia Charge Dropped
Drug paraphernalia possession is a significant offense in New Jersey that can lead to serious legal consequences. Nonetheless, if you’re facing a drug paraphernalia charge, you should know that several possible legal defenses can be utilized to your advantage. By presenting a strong legal defense, you may be able to challenge the prosecution’s case and even secure a dismissal in charges.
One of the most common defenses to a drug paraphernalia charge is improper or deficient Miranda warnings. Law enforcement officers are required to read you your Miranda rights before they interrogate you, which includes your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If the officer fails to provide proper Miranda warnings, any statement you make may be inadmissible in court. As a result, this could result in the prosecution losing a significant portion of its evidence against you.
Another defense to a drug paraphernalia charge is mistaken identity. If you can prove that you were not in possession of the paraphernalia or equipment, or that there was someone else who could have been responsible, you may be able to have the charges dropped. Similarly, if you can demonstrate that the paraphernalia or equipment wasn’t yours or that you didn’t know it was in your possession, you may also be able to challenge the prosecution’s case.
If you’re facing a drug paraphernalia charge in New Jersey, it’s essential to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Lustberg Law Offices, our team of drug paraphernalia lawyers may be able to help determine the best legal strategy for your case.
|Improper Miranda Warnings||Challenging the case based on improper or deficient Miranda warnings. Law enforcement must read your Miranda rights before interrogation, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Failure to provide proper Miranda warnings can make any statements you made inadmissible in court, potentially weakening the prosecution’s case.|
|Mistaken Identity||Asserting that you were not in possession of the drug paraphernalia or equipment or that someone else could have been responsible. Proving mistaken identity can be a defense strategy to have the charges dropped. Similarly, demonstrating that you didn’t own or weren’t aware of the paraphernalia’s presence may challenge the prosecution’s case.|
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.