Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance

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Possession of CDS in New Jersey potentially carries stiff legal consequences. You could also face other issues such as losing your employment or inability to find a job with a Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) conviction on your record. If you or a loved one is charged with Possession of CDS in the State of New Jersey, you need to be represented by an experienced, top-ranked criminal defense attorney. Put your trust in Breslow Law Offices, where the attorneys have been defending clients facing criminal charges for more than 45 years. Call now and speak with one of our CDS lawyers at 973-239-8000.

Is Possession of CDS in New Jersey a Felony?

One of the most frequent questions our clients ask us as a criminal defense attorney, “Is possession of CDS a felony in New Jersey?” The answer is that it depends on the details of your specific case. If you face charges of possession of a controlled substance, you were either charged with a disorderly conduct charge or a third-degree or fourth-degree felony. 

A felony is an indictable crime, with the accused facing possible jail time. A felony drug case goes to the county prosecutor’s office, where the prosecutor decides whether the case remains a felony charge or if it is remanded back to the municipal court. Should the felony charge stand, the matter goes to the grand jury. The grand jury then decides whether to indict the accused of an NJ possession of CDS, even if it was for your own personal use. 

What makes the difference in your charge as a felony or a misdemeanor is the grading of New Jersey Possession of CDS offenses. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 35-10 explicitly states the law and penalties related to CDS possession in NJ. N.J.S.A. 2c states:

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 under a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by P.L. 1970, c.226 (C. 24:21-1 et seq.). Any person who violates this section with respect to: 

(1) A controlled dangerous substance or its analog, classified in Schedule 

is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S. 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $15,000.00 may be imposed; 

(3) 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 N.J.S. 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be imposed; or 

(4) Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or five grams or less of hashish is a disorderly person. 

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. 

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. Still, 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. 

You or your loved one needs a criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience serving clients in the superior and municipal courts when facing possession of CDS charge in New Jersey. 

Charges for Possession of CDS in NJ

There are specific elements that the prosecutor must prove in possession of a CDS case. The first element is that what you possessed was a controlled, dangerous substance. The New Jersey State Police explains that the State breaks down controlled substances into specific groups, including narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, designer drugs, anabolic steroids, and prescription drugs. 

The next element that the prosecution must prove in possession of CDS case is that you obtained or possessed the controlled dangerous substance. The prosecution must also prove that you acted both knowingly and purposely in obtaining or possessing the drugs you are charged with possessing in violation of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. 

Successful prosecution of a possession charge, whether a first offense or a subsequent offense for possession of drugs, requires that the prosecutor follows all laws related to bringing any drug crime charges before the courts. Protect your rights by turning to our law firm that has extensive experience fighting for their clients. 

Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in a Motor Vehicle

A traffic stop can potentially result in multiple charges if an officer discovers drugs in your vehicle. A police officer that finds marijuana in the glove compartment of your vehicle may charge you with a criminal offense for possession of marijuana. The police officer may then issue a summons for possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a motor vehicle. The second of the charges is a motor vehicle offense, which entails a mandatory driver’s license suspension that extends for two years to be imposed, in addition to any other consequences associated with other charges. 

There are two critical aspects of the statute to note, including the fact that this statute cannot be violated when the car is parked. 

Somebody must drive the vehicle for purposes of the violation. The State may argue that the marijuana was in the car while it was being driven earlier. 

Secondly, the statute applies only to the vehicle driver. If a passenger is charged with this offense, the traffic violation or possession of CDS in a motor vehicle charge is often dismissed. 

Forfeiting your right to operate a vehicle for two years can have catastrophic consequences for your employment situation and your family life, not to mention hindering your ability to conduct your daily activities.  

Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in a motor vehicle is addressed in section N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1, entitled “Drug possession by the motor vehicle operator,” which reads: 

No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any highway while knowingly having in his possession or in the motor vehicle any controlled dangerous substance as classified in Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V of the “New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act,” P.L. 1970, c. 226 or any prescription legend drug, unless the person has obtained the substance or drug from, or on a valid written prescription of, a duly licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist, or other medical practitioner licensed to write prescriptions intended for the treatment or prevention of disease in man or animals or unless the person possesses a controlled dangerous substance according to a lawful order of a practitioner or lawfully possesses a Schedule V substance. 

Facing Charges for Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle? 

If you are found guilty of the violation outlined above, you are exposed to multiple penalties, including: 

  • A fine of at least $50.00 
  • A mandatory 2-year period of driver’s license suspension 
  • Penalties included in drug charges 

Contact the Attorneys at Breslow Law Offices for Optimal Case Outcome

It is critical to confront these charges with a well-formulated defense strategy. The individual aspects of your NJ possession of CDS case mean that you need an attorney with the expertise to mount an effective defense that leads to the best possible outcome. 

Our firm has extensive knowledge and experience in criminal law and will ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way until your case is resolved. We protect your sensitive information throughout the attorney-client relationship. Contact a criminal lawyer at the Breslow Law Offices for a free consultation at 973-239-8000 today to start devising your most effective defense.