Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charge
In New Jersey, a variety of items can be considered drug paraphernalia, ranging from pipes, bongs, bowls, and spoons, to rolling papers, roach clips, and even bottles. According to the New Jersey Criminal Code, “equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled dangerous substance” can constitute drug paraphernalia. In some cases, these charges are issued in coordination with others such as possession of a controlled dangerous substance (i.e. heroin, marijuana, or cocaine). In other cases, a charge for possessing drug paraphernalia can be issued alone. In either case, a conviction may entail penalties including a criminal charge on your record, a fine of up to $1,000, a period of driver’s license suspension, and even up to 6 months in the county jail.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2
Charges for possession of drug paraphernalia are outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2 of the Criminal Code, which reads:
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.
Penalties for Possessing Drug Paraphernalia
As mentioned in the body of the statute, possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, meaning that these cases will adjudicated in the local municipal court associated with the alleged offense. Penalties for a conviction may include any of the following:
- Up to 6 months in the county jail
- A maximum fine of $1,000.00
- A period of driver’s license suspension ranging from 6 months to 2 years
- A charge on your criminal record
The Conditional Discharge Program in New Jersey
Fortunately, if you are charged with drug paraphernalia possession and have no prior convictions for drug offenses in New Jersey or another state, you may be eligible for enrollment in the conditional discharge program. This diversionary program allows you to achieve the dismissal of the charges if you successfully complete program requirements during a probationary period. Conditional discharge requirements typically involve you avoiding any other arrests or convictions and submitting to mandatory drug testing. Upon completion of conditional discharge, the charges against you are dismissed. You then become eligible for an expungement, which can be used one time to eradicate any record of your arrest, allowing you to answer “No” when asked if you have ever been arrested on an application for employment or educational institution. After an expungement, your criminal background check will also show no record of an arrest.
To learn more, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Breslow Law Offices anytime. Consultations are always provided free of charge.
Facing Criminal Charges of Paraphernalia Charges?
When faced with these charges, a skilled criminal defense attorney will pursue all of your available options, whether that involves an outright dismissal, a plea to a lesser offense known as a municipal ordinance violation, or enrollment in a diversionary program such as conditional discharge, which will result in the dismissal of the charges if completed successfully. The attorneys at Breslow Law Offices have assisted countless clients charged with drug paraphernalia possession. Contact the Essex County office anytime for a consultation, free of charge, about your case.