how to get a possession charge dismissed

A person charged with possession usually finds themselves in a serious situation—one that can result in jail time, fines, or suspension of their driver’s license. If you’ve been charged with possession of a controlled substance, it’s important to know how you might be able to get those charged dismissed.  Do you need to know how to get a drug possession charge dismissed? The most common ways to beat a drug possession charge in New Jersey involve denial, insufficient evidence, illegal search issues, and statutory defenses. Keep reading to find out more about which defenses might apply to your case, or contact a drug charges defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio. Defense #1: You Didn’t Commit the Crime This type of defense applies when you’re charged with any crime. If you didn’t commit the crime, you should not be convicted. The prosecution has the burden of proving that you committed the crime, so this defense might come up under various circumstances. The following examples show how to beat a drug possession charge:   The drugs weren’t yours. This defense is relatively simple. If the drugs weren’t yours, you didn’t commit the crime.   The drugs were planted.  This defense is difficult to raise because police testimony is highly trusted. Your attorney may be able to file a motion to release police files. These files may have information that would be useful in arguing that the drugs were planted.   You didn’t have constructive possession.  If the police didn’t find the drugs on your person, the prosecutor must show that you had actual control over the drugs.  Any evidence that the drugs may belong to someone else is helpful to argue against constructive possession.  For example, prosecutors might have a harder time proving constructive possession when multiple people live in the same house, or when police discover drugs in a car with multiple passengers.  Defense #2: Insufficient Evidence  The prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you possessed illegal drugs. The prosecution’s evidence can fall short of this requirement. These examples show how to get a possession charge dismissed in a few different ways:   The substance wasn’t an illegal drug.  The prosecution needs to show that the substance they found is actually an illegal drug. For example, a bag of white powder might look like cocaine when, in reality, it’s only flour.  A crime lab analyst needs to verify that the substance is actually an illegal drug to satisfy this requirement.    The evidence has gone missing.  The prosecution will be hard-pressed to show that the substance found is an illegal drug if it is nowhere to be found.  Evidence is often transferred multiple times before it makes its way to a locker, and sometimes it goes missing.   The search was unlawful.  The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. In many cases, police need a warrant to conduct a lawful search.  A warrant isn’t always needed, though. Police can search for items and areas where a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, if the drugs are in plain view, or a suspect gives police permission to search their car, the police can proceed to search without a warrant.  Entrapment Entrapment is when a police officer pressures or induces someone to commit a crime they wouldn’t otherwise commit.  While entrapment isn’t exactly a “bad evidence” concern, it is one of bad police conduct.   In drug enforcement actions, police will set up undercover operations. Entrapment often occurs when the state provides the drugs in question.   Defense #3: Statutory Defenses  Another possible defense is that you are legally allowed to possess the controlled substance, or you fall under a legal exception.  You have a valid prescription If you carry a valid prescription for a controlled substance, then your possession of that substance isn’t illegal.  Medical Marijuana In New Jersey, patients who carry a medical marijuana ID card are allowed to possess up to 2 ounces of usable marijuana per month.  This defense is never available on federal drug charges. However, if you’re being charged under state law, this defense might be available.  Good Samaritan Law In 2013, New Jersey adopted the Overdose Prevention Act to help reduce overdoses and fatalities.  The law gives immunity to people who seek medical attention for themselves or on behalf of someone else in connection with a drug overdose. The immunity protects them from being arrested, charged, prosecuted, or convicted for a drug offense.  Defend Yourself Against Drug Possession Charges with a Criminal Defense Attorney Do you need to know more about how to get a possession charge dismissed? Beating a drug possession charge is no easy task. The best way to make sure you’re aware of every defense that might apply to your case is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense attorneys use the defenses above and more to potentially reduce penalties or eliminate the charge altogether. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio to schedule your free consultation.

Read More
nj drug laws and penalties

When facing any type of drug charges in New Jersey, it is important to learn more about drug laws and penalties. No matter how minor your drug charge case might seem, it is critical to hire a New Jersey drug defense attorney.  An experienced lawyer will begin working with you on a defense strategy tailored to the specific facts of your case. A criminal defense attorney at our firm can discuss your case with you. In the meantime, we want to provide you with more information about New Jersey drug laws and penalties. Drug Possession in New Jersey The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:35-10) governs most drug possession offenses in New Jersey, including possession of drug paraphernalia (N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:36-1). Drug possession is when “any person, knowingly or purposely,” obtains or possesses, “actually or constructively,” any controlled substance without a prescription. New Jersey state law and federal drug laws classify drugs into five categories. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous and have the most serious penalties, while schedule V drugs are the least dangerous and have the lowest penalties. I: examples may include marijuana or heroin; II: examples can include methamphetamine, cocaine, and oxycodone; III: examples can include vicodin, codeine, and other prescription painkillers; IV: examples include lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium); and V: examples include cough medicines containing low levels of codeine. The statute of possession of drug paraphernalia states that the possession of all materials used in anything from planting to packaging, ingesting or inhaling, or otherwise introducing controlled dangerous substance to the human body.  Examples of drug paraphernalia according to the statute include: Kits for planting or growing controlled substances; Tools used to process or prepare controlled substances; Devices used to increase the potency of a controlled substance; Testing equipment to determine the purity or strength of a controlled substance; Scales and balances used for weighing or measuring drugs; and Containers used to package controlled substances. Distribution of Drugs Under New Jersey Law New Jersey law (N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:35-5) makes it unlawful for anyone, knowingly or purposely, “to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or to possess or have under his control with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled analog.” The statute also makes it unlawful to “create, distribute, or possess or have under his control with intent to distribute, a counterfeit controlled dangerous substance.” Having a certain amount of a drug can increase the offense to a distribution offense. The amount of the drug will suggest that the defendant had the intent to distribute it.  Penalties for Drug Convictions in New Jersey The penalties for drug possession, distribution, and manufacturing convictions depend on many factors. These include the type of drug and the specific offense. Distribution and manufacturing charges tend to be more severe than possession charges. Even drug possession charges can result in many years of imprisonment. The following are possible penalties based on the classification of the drug offense: First-degree crime: This is the most serious of all offenses. Examples include large-scale drug distribution charges. Penalties include up to 20 years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines. Second-degree crime: Lower-scale drug distribution charges are an example of a second-degree crime. Penalties include up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree crime: Examples include possession of a Schedule I, II, III, or IV drug. Penalties include up to five years in prison and up to $35,000 in fines. Fourth-degree crime: Examples include possession of a Schedule V drug. Penalties include a term of imprisonment up to 18 months and a $15,000 fine. Disorderly persons: This is the least serious type of offense. Examples include possession of marijuana (50 grams or less) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Penalties include a jail term of up to six months and a $1,000 fine. First Offense Drug Charges in New Jersey and Diversionary Programs For low-level first offenses in New Jersey, an offender may be eligible for the Conditional Discharge Program for disorderly persons offenses. The Conditional Discharge Program allows the defendant to have the charge dismissed after a period of time. This is only as long as the defendant follows all the requirements of the program. Enrollment in this program means that the defendant will not get the penalties for the offense. They can also be eligible to have the charge dismissed if they complete the program. To be eligible for Conditional Discharge, the following must be true: No prior criminal record (be a first-time criminal offender); No previous entry into a diversionary program; and Be charged with a lower level drug offense. Program completion requires the defendant to pass all drug tests and stay out of the criminal justice system for six months to one year. If you are facing a higher-level drug offense (for example, a third-degree crime or a fourth-degree crime) you may be eligible for a diversionary program known as Pretrial Intervention (PTI)–a program for first-time offenders. They can have the charges dismissed after a probationary period of one to three years.  Contact a Drug Defense Attorney in New Jersey Are you facing drug charges? A drug crimes defense lawyer in New Jersey can assist you. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio LLC today.

Read More
constructive possession of drugs

Facing drug charges causes lots of anxiety. As a first-time offender who doesn’t have any experience with the criminal justice system, it is overwhelming. Many people who are charged with possession of a controlled substance are charged because they were simply near the drugs. Legally speaking, this is called constructive possession, which allows a law enforcement official to arrest a person for drug possession even if that person did not physically possess the drugs. We want to provide you with more information about the constructive possession of drugs and the importance of having a New Jersey criminal defense attorney on your side during this process. What is Constructive Possession in New Jersey? You might have heard about distinctions between actual and constructive drug possession. If you do not have drugs, how can you be charged with possession of a controlled substance? The answer to this question concerns constructive possession. This is a situation where you did not have drugs in your possession, but you knew about the presence of drugs and they were in your control. Constructive Possession is Unlawful Under New Jersey Law If you constructively possess a drug, you can still be charged with drug possession in New Jersey. The charges you face will depend on the type of drug that you possessed. Examples of Constructive Possession Cases in Which You Could Face Arrest There are many scenarios where a person may be arrested for constructive possession. The following are some hypothetical examples of scenarios that may require the help of a defense attorney: You own a car and allow your friend to drive the car on occasion. Your friend has been arrested for possession of marijuana. You suspect that your friend sometimes uses your car to buy marijuana. He gets stopped after running a red light, and the police officer finds marijuana in your trunk. You suspect that your friend left the marijuana in the trunk. You did not put the marijuana in the trunk, but because the car belongs to you, you may be charged with constructive possession of marijuana. Mary owns a home, and she rents a room to Lisa, who throws parties and talks about using methamphetamine. Lisa tells Mary that she stores drugs in the bathroom that they share. Mary thinks, “I should flush those down the toilet since it is my house,” but she forgets. Police officers get a search warrant for Lisa’s home, even though Mary owns it. When the police search the house, they find the drugs in the bathroom. Since Mary owns the home and knew about Lisa’s drug use, Mary could face constructive possession charges. Ned buys a small amount of a controlled substance and places it in his wallet. He visits a friend’s house and takes his wallet out of his pocket. Ned then puts his wallet in his friend’s living room and ends up forgetting his wallet at the house. The next day, the police search the house with a lawful warrant and find Ned’s wallet. At first, Ned is relieved that he did not have the wallet during the search. However, Ned is later arrested for constructive possession since the drugs were in his wallet. Seek Advice from a NJ Drug Defense Lawyer About Constructive Possession Charges Constructive possession is a confusing concept. The key takeaway is that a person can be arrested for constructive possession of drugs in New Jersey. If you are facing constructive possession charges, speak with a New Jersey drug crimes defense lawyer right away. Your attorney will help you learn more about your possible defenses.  Our firm has years of experience building defenses for clients facing constructive possession charges. Let’s start working on your case today. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio LLC for more information about the services we provide.

Read More
penalties for drug possession

When you are facing drug charges in New Jersey, it is important to understand the penalties you could be facing if convicted. Penalties for drug possession under New Jersey state law and federal law can be steep. Even after serving a sentence, there are more penalties that you could encounter. A criminal background could cause an inability to apply for certain jobs or federal student loans. General Drug Possession Laws and Penalties in New Jersey Under New Jersey law, there are several statutes for drug possession penalties. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:35-10) states that: “It is illegal for anyone to have a controlled dangerous substance unless it is for a prescription from a professional practitioner.” New Jersey does not distinguish between misdemeanor and felony offenses in the state. Crimes are classified as “indictable” offenses and “disorderly persons” offenses. Depending on the type of controlled substance the following are potential penalties. CDS Schedule Possession of a Schedule I, II, II, or IV drug: This is a third-degree crime. It can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000. Possession of a Schedule V drug: This is a fourth-degree crime. It can result in up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana: This is a disorderly persons offense. It is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of five grams or less of hashish: This is also a disorderly persons offense. It is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If convicted of a third-degree crime or fourth-degree crime in New Jersey, you will have a criminal criminal record. Keep in mind that a first-degree crime is the most serious offense in New Jersey.  Penalties for possession of any of those substances can be more severe if any of the following is true: Possession of any of the above substances while on any property used or school purposes, any property owned by an elementary or secondary school, any property owned by a school board, any property within 1,000 feet of school property, and any school bus will have an additional sentence of at least 100 hours of community service (if there is no imprisonment). Failure to give the substance to a law enforcement official will also be charged with a disorderly persons offense. Types of Scheduled Drugs in New Jersey What are the different types of scheduled drugs? The following are examples of each: I: heroin, marijuana, ecstasy; II: Cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine, OxyContin, oxycodone, and morphine; III: Codeine; IV: Valium, Klonopin; Xanax; V: low amounts of codeine or opium. When a person possesses a large amount of drugs, the charges can include intent to distribute offenses, which come with more penalties. Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Under New Jersey Law Many people who face charges for drug possession also face charges for possession of drug paraphernalia. Under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:36-1), drug paraphernalia is any object used to grow, make, package, or introduce “into the human body a controlled dangerous substance”. If you are charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, you can face a disorderly persons conviction with up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Federal Drug Possession in New Jersey People in New Jersey who are accused of possession-controlled substances can also be subject to federal drug possession charges depending on the circumstances of the case. The penalties for a federal drug possession conviction under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.C.S.A. §§ 801 et. seq.) are severe. The Controlled Substances Act classifies drugs into five schedules. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous and Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous. The penalties depend on the schedule of the drug and the amount in a person’s possession. For example: Schedule I or II possession: In smaller quantities, a first offense conviction typically results in 5-40 years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million. Second offenses result in 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million. Penalties for a first offense conviction of larger amounts also usually include a prison term of 10 years to life and a fine of up to $4 million. Marijuana possession: Depending on the amount, fines can range from up to 5 years in prison (less than 50 kg) to life in prison (1,000 kg or more). Contact a Drug Possession Defense Lawyer  If you need to build a defense, a New Jersey drug possession defense attorney can help. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio LLC today to begin working on your case with an experienced drug crimes defense lawyer at our firm.

Read More

Possession With Intent/Distribution in School Zone Lawyer Facing drug charges anywhere in New Jersey? You need an attorney who understands the complicated area of law dealing with drug criminal liability and sentencing laws. New Jersey drug defense could be an entirely distinct area of law unto itself. The degree of exposure arising from a New Jersey drug arrest depends on many factors. These include the amount and type of drug, whether it was possessed with the intent to distribute it, and where this was done. If you are facing drug charges in any New Jersey Court, call to speak with a lawyer right away. There is no denying that many areas of criminal law are racially and economically discriminatory. New Jersey’s law on possessing CDS with intent to distribute or distribution is one of these. While the authors of NJSA 2C:35-7 certainly did not mean to discriminate against hispanics or african-americans or low income residents in getting the law passed, the practical effect of the law is gravely unequal. In many urban areas, nearly the entire city falls under a 1,000 foot zone from some kind of school (the law is even gray on what constitutes a “school”). In New Jersey, most residents of urban areas are facing the most challenging economic realities. Until recently, the criminal law in NJ called for harsh and mandatory prison and parole ineligibility for defendants convicted of NJSA 2C:35-7. However, in 2010, the New Jersey legislature amended the law, relaxing some of its harshest provisions.  If you have been charged with NJSA 2C:35-7, call now for a consultation with an experienced criminal lawyer. NJSA 2C:35-7: Distribution on or within 1,000 feet of school property a. Any person who violates subsection a. of NJSA 2C:35-5 by distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property or a school bus, or while on any school bus, is guilty of a crime of the third degree and shall …., be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment. Where the violation involves less than one ounce of marijuana, the term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. In all other cases, the term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or three years, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. …, a fine of up to $ 150,000 may also be imposed upon any conviction for a violation of this section. Judge’s Discretion b. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of NJSA 2C:35-12 or subsection a. of this section, the court may waive or reduce the minimum term of parole ineligibility required under subsection a. of this section or place the defendant on probation pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection b. …. In making this determination, the court shall consider: (a) the extent of the defendant’s prior criminal record and the seriousness of the offenses for which the defendant has been convicted; (b) the specific location of the present offense in relation to the school property, including distance from the school and the reasonable likelihood of exposing children to drug-related activities at that location; (c) whether school was in session at the time of the offense; and (d) whether children were present at or in the immediate vicinity of the location when the offense took place. (2) The court shall not waive or reduce the minimum term of parole ineligibility or sentence the defendant to probation if it finds that: (a) the offense took place while on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or while on any school bus; or (b) the defendant in the course of committing the offense used or threatened violence or was in possession of a firearm. Minimum Terms If the court at sentencing elects not to impose a minimum term of imprisonment and parole ineligibility pursuant to this subsection, imposes a term of parole ineligibility less than the minimum term prescribed in subsection a. of this section, or places the defendant on probation for a violation of subsection a. of this section, the sentence shall not become final for 10 days in order to permit the prosecution to appeal the court’s finding and the sentence imposed. The Attorney General shall develop guidelines to ensure the uniform exercise of discretion in making determinations regarding whether to appeal a decision to waive or reduce the minimum term of parole ineligibility or place the defendant on probation. d. It shall be no defense to a prosecution for a violation of this section that the actor was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property. Nor shall it be a defense to a prosecution under this section, or under any other provision of this title, that no juveniles were present on the school property at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session. Affirmative Defense e. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that the prohibited conduct took place entirely within a private residence, that no person 17 years of age or younger was present in such private residence at any time during the commission of the offense, and that the prohibited conduct did not involve distributing, dispensing or possessing with the intent to distribute or dispense any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog for profit. The affirmative defense established in this section shall be proved by the...

Read More

Defense Attorney for New Jersey Juvenile Marijuana Possession Charges If your juvenile child was arrested for possession of CDS or marijuana/paraphernalia, speak with a defense lawyer today. All drug possession charges, even those involving juveniles, carry a mandatory 6 month – 2 year driver’s license suspension. Simple marijuana possession charges may seem minor. However NJ law requires that all juveniles appearing in court be represented by an attorney. Give my office a call so we can explain the rest of the process to you. NJSA  2C:35-10. Possession, use or being under the influence, or failure to make lawful disposition a. It is unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by… Any person who violates this section with respect to: A controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule I, II, III or IV other than those specifically covered in this section, is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of … , a fine of up to $ 35,000.00 may be imposed; Any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule V, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of …  a fine of up to $ 15,000.00 may be imposed; Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or more than five grams of hashish is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of … a fine of up to $ 25,000.00 may be imposed; or Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or five grams or less of hashish is a disorderly person. On School Property Any person who commits any offense defined in this section while on any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of any such school property or a school bus, or while on any school bus, and who is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment, shall, in addition to any other sentence which the court may impose, be required to perform not less than 100 hours of community service. b. Any person who uses or who is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, for a purpose other than the treatment of sickness or injury as lawfully prescribed or administered by a physician is a disorderly person. Exact Drug Does Not Need to be Specified In a prosecution under this subsection, it shall not be necessary for the State to prove that the accused did use or was under the influence of any specific drug, but it shall be sufficient for a conviction under this subsection for the State to prove that the accused did use or was under the influence of some controlled dangerous substance, counterfeit controlled dangerous substance, or controlled substance analog, by proving that the accused did manifest physical and physiological symptoms or reactions caused by the use of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog. c. Any person who knowingly obtains or possesses a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog in violation of subsection a. of this section and who fails to voluntarily deliver the substance to the nearest law enforcement officer is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in this title or any other statute.

Read More

New Jersey laws and law enforcement efforts represent an aggressive approach toward marijuana. The state has some of the harshest penalties in the country for first-time marijuana possession offenders, and based on one study, more than 23,000 marijuana-related arrests occur in our state each year. As a result, New Jersey drug possession lawyers must constantly remain informed about changes in the law in order to better help the public. So how New Jersey’s New Medical Marijuana Laws Affect Drug Possession Charges? This is especially true in light of Senate Bill 119, or New Jersey medical marijuana laws, which was enacted in 2010. Some of the changes brought on by Senate Bill 119 have possibly confused many New Jersey residents. To be clear, while marijuana use and possession may now be legal in very limited circumstances, you should use caution. Here are important points you should know about the law: What Is ‘Legal’ Use of Marijuana or Cannabis in New Jersey? First, and most importantly, you should know that marijuana is still very much treated as a controlled substance in New Jersey. Also, regardless of claims by researchers, marijuana is still widely classified as a Schedule I drug. This means that marijuana is deemed to have a high risk of abuse and no medical use. So, you must remember, this is the default rule in New Jersey: Marijuana is illegal. However, in the wake of the 2010 medical marijuana law, New Jersey now allows you to use marijuana to treat specific “debilitating medical conditions,” including: HIV/AIDS Cancer Glaucoma Lou Gehrig’s disease Multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy Inflammatory bowel disease Seizures and spasms (including epilepsy) Any terminal illness from which the patient is expected to die within one year. However, merely having one of these conditions is not enough to allow you to legally use medical marijuana in New Jersey. You still have to meet a number of other conditions, including: Certification – Your doctor must sign a statement saying you qualify. It must be a physician with an ongoing responsibility to treat you. Registration – You must register with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. If you did everything correctly, you will get a Registry ID card, allowing you to legally use marijuana to treat your condition. How Do You Stay Legal? If you are reading this article, you are on the right track. You need to do your research. If you are still confused, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. You must follow the law carefully and ask any time you have questions. Above all, never use or possess marijuana until you have received your Registry ID card. Even then, be aware that you are still limited to possessing only two ounces at any time. Can You Still Be Arrested For Marijuana in New Jersey? Yes, but the police must have probable cause or a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. This means there has to be some valid reason to search you. Normally, without probable cause or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, anything the police find can be thrown out. Consider a recent case where a man was searched on suspicion of cannabis possession. The police found an unlawful firearm, which led to more serious charges against him. According to local news sources, the man argued that since he was legally allowed to have the marijuana for personal use under the new New Jersey medical marijuana laws, the police officer had no legal justification to search for it. The court disagreed. Instead, the court held, “absent evidence the person suspected of possessing or using marijuana has a registry identification card, detection of marijuana by the sense of smell, or by the other senses, provides probable cause to believe that the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana has been committed.” What Happens If You Are Arrested For Possession of Marijuana Even Though You Have a Registry ID Card? Since the law is relatively new, the police will still make occasional mistakes. But be aware that having a right to use cannabis does not guarantee a shield against arrest. As the case above illustrates, unless you are carrying your Registry ID card and have strong evidence that you are permitted to use marijuana, just the smell alone can be enough to justify an arrest.  If the police find evidence of other crimes, do not expect those charges to get dropped. In short, obey all laws, especially when in possession of or when using your medicinal marijuana. You should carry your Registry ID card and, perhaps, your doctor’s business card. This may help provide the police with the evidence they need. It may also help to demonstrate later on that the police did not have reasonable suspicion that you were breaking the law. Nevertheless, if you are arrested, immediately contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC. My law firm features offices conveniently located throughout New Jersey. I will personally review your situation and aggressively represent you from start to finish. Contact me today to learn more.

Read More

As a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, I’ve helped many clients across the state fight drug-related charges. Even with this experience, however, very rarely do I ever come across a drug-related case as large—and sophisticated—as the one that shocked New Jersey earlier this year. Recent Case In January, state and local authorities arrested 10 people in a alleged Central New Jersey crime ring. During the arrest, they busted up an alleged drug distribution network, seizing $130,000 worth of drugs and several illegal weapons. According to a recent report from NJ.com, the drug ring allegedly spanned nearly two decades. What’s even more upsetting is the involvement of local government officials in New Brunswick, New Jerse. This included a city housing inspector and a township public works employee. The inspector was actually found possessing drugs in his government car. According to authorities, a third man charged was employed by the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department as a dispatcher. Investigators carefully focused on the drug ring for nearly 10 month. They then found that the ring distributed cocaine and marijuana around Central New Jersey for nearly 20 years. In total, detectives recovered more than 1.5 kilos of cocaine, two pounds of marijuana and 12 ounces of MDMA. 167 prescription legend drugs, and steroids were found as well. 36 weapons were also recovered, 22 of them illegal. New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, the New Brunswick Police Department, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Plainfield Police Department, and the FBI all had a role in the investigation. The case will be prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice under the Office of the Attorney General, according to the NJ.com report. If you have questions about this, or have been charged with a drug-related crime in New Jersey, be sure to contact an experienced drug charge defense attorney right away.

Read More