Linden Marijuana Offenses
April 22, 2020
Marijuana Defense Lawyers in Linden NJ
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the percentage of the population consuming marijuana continues to increase. In fact, marijuana ranks number two among the most widely used and abused substances, second only to alcohol. The popularity and accessibility of the drug contribute to the high number of arrests for marijuana possession in Linden and throughout Union County and New Jersey. In the last year tallied, the number of reported arrests in Linden, New Jersey for marijuana was 181. The nearby City of Elizabeth had the highest number of arrests in Union County, with 381 people arrested for marijuana. The number of arrests have increased year over year, having devastating impacts on those accused of violating New Jersey law for the victimless crime of possession of marijuana. Beyond mere possession, individuals charged with marijuana distribution and intent to distribute in the City of Linden often face harsh penalties and knowing what you are up against is key when seeking to combat the negative consequences.
If you have been arrested in Linden for possession of marijuana, selling the drug, distribution in a school zone, or possession with intent to distribute, you need an experienced attorney who has handled these cases for years and knows how to present the top defense in your case. Contact us at (908) 838-0150 for a free consultation during which we can listen to your unique situation and outline the options that may be available to you. A knowledgeable local Linden marijuana defense attorney at our firm is always available to provide answers.
Arrested for Marijuana Possession in Linden, New Jersey
References to marijuana are everywhere. Whether you are watching a late-night talk show, trolling social media, or reading the newspaper, marijuana is present and often trivialized. Some believe that these platforms contribute to continued use of marijuana among the young and their lack of understanding of the real legal realities of being caught without a prescription. Make no mistake, if you are found to be in possession of just a small amount of marijuana in Linden or anywhere in New Jersey for that matter, you will be charged with a disorderly persons offense in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). If arrested for less than 50 grams of marijuana in the city of Linden, you will be forced to defend yourself in Linden Municipal Court. All disorderly persons offenses occurring in the city of Linden, including charges for possessing below 50 grams of marijuana, are heard in the local Municipal Court. While seemingly minor, a disorderly persons offense exposes you to jail for up to 6 months and a fine of $1,000. In addition, the law mandates you to pay a $500 fee for marijuana possession if convicted. Aside from the applicable fines and jail penalties, the court could place you on probation and order that you surrender your driver’s license for as much as two years.
If you had more than 50 grams of marijuana at the time of your arrest, the level of fines and penalties increases. Indictable/felony possession of marijuana is addressed under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(3). In Linden and anywhere else in New Jersey, possessing more than 50 grams of marijuana warrants charges for an indictable crime in the fourth degree. If you have been charged with a fourth degree crime for marijuana possession, you will attend court in Elizabeth at the Union County Superior Court. In Superior Court for possessing marijuana, worst case scenario, you face 18 months in state prison and a maximum amount of $25,000 in fines. Notably, some marijuana cases can be upgraded to more serious charges for distribution or possession with intent to distribute depending on the facts of the case.
Charges for Manufacturing, Distributing, Dispensing, or Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana in Linden
If you have an amount consistent with distribution, or you are caught dealing marijuana, you can be charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. Anyone possessing up to one ounce of marijuana can be charged with possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, a fourth degree crime, if the police can show that there are other factors present that indicate the potential for distribution, as opposed to just possession. If, however, you possess with the intention of distributing marijuana in an amount greater than one ounce but less than five pounds, you may be charged with a third degree crime and face prison time of 3 to 5 years. The degree of crime increases as the amount of marijuana involved increases. As such, anyone charged with having weed in an amount greater than five pounds but less than 25 pounds, will be charged with a second degree crime, which carries the potential for prison time of between 5 and 10 years. For greater than 25 pounds of marijuana intended for sale, you may be forced to spend 10 to 20 years behind bars upon conviction.
Linden Marijuana Distribution in a School Zone
Anyone who possesses marijuana within 1000 feet of a school, school property, or on a school bus, with the intent to distribute will be subject to harsher penalties. A person can be charged with this offense if he or she is within 1000 feet of any school property that is owned or leased by the school. In other words, even if you are sitting in your home with marijuana intended for sale, and it is within 1000 feet of a parking lot used by or for the school, you can be charged with intent to distribute marijuana in a school zone. If charged with this offense in Linden, any sentence must include a minimum of 100 hours of community service.
Similarly, if the marijuana offense occurs within 500 feet of public housing or certain other public property, the egregiousness of the crime drastically increases, as do the penalties. Specifically, if you possess marijuana with intent to sell within 500 feet of public property, you will be charged with a second degree crime. The only exception is cases involving marijuana less than one ounce, in which case you will be charged with a third degree offense. Before you can be convicted, the State must prove that you were within 500 feet of public property, which includes a housing complex, park, or public building. For example, if there is a housing complex for disabled or elderly persons and you possess with intent to dispense or distribute marijuana within 500 feet, you may be charged with this enhanced crime.
As you may recall, several years ago, a Linden police officer was arrested and charged with a marijuana crime for allegedly having possessed a small amount of the drug in his home. His arrest serves to demonstrate to the community that no one is above the law when it comes to possession of any controlled dangerous substance, including marijuana.
Linden Marijuana Attorneys Defending Your Case
If you have been charged with a crime for marijuana in Linden, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the possible penalties you face. It is vital that you know about the programs and alternatives that you may be eligible for. For example, Drug court, Pre-Trial Intervention, and the Conditional Discharge programs are all alternatives to incarceration and can be of help to you when seeking to avoid a criminal record. Beyond diversionary options, there may be employable defenses in your case. To discuss your eligibility for a program, your defense options, or any aspect of your Linden marijuana case, contact us today. Consultations are free and available 24/7 to best serve your needs.