Articles Posted in Drug Paraphernalia

I forgot to post an important case result for a matter that concluded recently. I represented a client charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and cds in a motor vehicle. The case was a series of battles that eventually led to winning the war.

Once again, being prepared and on top of the procedural aspects of a drug case paid dividends for my client. From the start, I seized on to a procedural problem the state was having producing certain discovery. I would not let it go and made several motions for a dismissal of the case all together. After several court appearances, the judge had no choice but to dismiss the drug possession charge and the paraphernalia offense. However, the court held the possession of cds in a motor vehicle (traffic offense) for adjudication. I vehemently fought to keep this from happening because the court essentially put my client in a worse position by dismissing only part of the case. There is not enough room here to explain exactly why. Just know that my client was facing the real possibility of a 2 year loss of license because the case could not longer be negotiated as a package.

On the day of trial, the state trooper arrived to court and I had the opportunity to speak with him. After my conversation, I realized that the State may have an overwhelming proof problem given what the officer’s potential testimony. The decision at that point was to put the prosecutor on notice and run the risk that she would cure the problem, or go straight to trial and run the risk of a non-negotiable 2 yr loss of license. I had dealing with this prosecutor on a number of occasions and decided that if I revealed the issue, there was a distinct possibility that the prosecutor would back off the case ( she was a straight shooter).

I represented a defendant who was initially charged with possession of heroine. Heroine possession is a third degree indictable criminal offense. After extensive discussion with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the charge was remanded to the municipal court in Newark where my client now faced a drug paraphernalia complaint.

Having a charge of this magnitude remanded to the municipal court was already a victory, but this particular offense (drug paraphernalia), like most drug related convictions, carries the possibility of a six month loss of license, and the minimum mandatory statutory penalties that can lead to thousand of dollars in fines.The only way to avoid the loss of license is to convince the court that taking the defendant’s license would create an undue hardship. You may be thinking, of course taking my license would create an undue hardship. But the proofs required to avoid the suspension are more stringent than one would imagine.

I avoided having to deal with this issue by negotiating an even more advantageous plea agreement. The state agreed to amend the paraphernalia charge to an offense called loitering with the intent to purchase cds. The difference between this offense and paraphernalia is that loitering is not on an offense under chapter 35. It is a disorderly persons offense under NJSA 2C:33-2.1. The biggest difference being there is no loss of license, also the fines and statutory penalties are substantially reduced.