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How Can I Beat a Drug Possession Charge?

Allegations of drug possession in New Jersey should be taken seriously, as the penalties for a conviction are harsh. When facing drug possession charges, it is natural to feel frightened and overwhelmed. Will you face jail time, or be required to pay hefty fines? The fact is a conviction on drug possession charges can result in far more damage than fines and jail or prison time. Criminal convictions can affect a person’s livelihood, impact the ability to rent in certain places, and damage personal relationships. There are some common defenses to drug possession charges in New Jersey that are often used to protect the legal rights of those convicted. Those with questions may want to consider scheduling a consultation with The Forrester Law Firm at 609-613-1513.

Potential Consequences of a Drug Possession Conviction

Many people who face drug possession charges think primarily of incarceration and fines if they are found guilty. The truth is a conviction could impact a person's life in many ways depending on the circumstances of the case. Some of these consequences may include:

· Loss of driver's license

· Child custody loss

· Deportation, citizenship application denial, or loss of work permit or immigration visa

· Loss of professional license for those employed in medicine, law, pharmaceutical, education, and other industries

· Loss of aid provided by the federal government to pay for college

· Permanent criminal record affecting employment, housing, and ability to obtain a loan

· Irreparable damage to relationships

The consequences of a drug possession conviction can be devastating. Someone can be charged with this crime even when the illegal substance was not found on their person, but in their home, car, or other area.

Common Defenses to Drug Possession

Whether a person is charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, opioids, or other illegal substances, there are several common defenses that may prove effective for either minimizing the penalties if convicted or securing a not guilty verdict. Depending on the facts of the case, a New Jersey criminal defense attorney may use one or more of the following defense strategies:

The Drugs Did Not Belong to the Convicted Person

In situations where there are multiple people gathered, law enforcement must demonstrate that the illegal drugs found were actually the convicted person’s drugs and did not belong to another person who was present at the gathering. Prosecutors have the burden of proving the drugs were in the possession of the defendant.

A Person’s Rights Were Violated

Police and other law enforcement officers do make mistakes. When a person's rights are violated, charges for drug possession will be dismissed immediately. Some examples of rights violations include:

· Illegal search and seizure

· Illegal or improper traffic stop

· Failing to read the person accused of drug possession their rights before questioning

· Refusing to allow the person accused to obtain a lawyer for questioning

A Quick Note about Unlawful Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows all people the right to "due process" of law. When drugs are not in plain sight are found by law enforcement without the permission of the suspect or a warrant, in most cases they cannot be used as evidence against the suspect. Charges are dismissed in most cases when a person's Fourth Amendment rights are violated.

The Drugs Are Missing

During the course of a trial, drugs are often transferred and exchanged many times. When evidence is lost, the prosecutor's case may crumble. Without evidence of drugs, it is very difficult for the prosecution to secure a conviction.

Crime Lab Analysis Results

It must be proven by the prosecution that the substance seized by law enforcement is in fact the illegal drug claimed by the prosecutor. A substance may appear to be cocaine, but until the crime lab can prove it actually is, the prosecution has a very weak case.


According to The United States Department of Justice, there are two elements in a valid entrapment defense.

1. Government inducement of the crime.

2. The defendant's lack of predisposition to engage in the criminal conduct. This essentially means a person is persuaded to commit a criminal offense they would not have committed by a law enforcement officer or informant.

There are other defenses used by criminal defense attorneys, and which is best is often determined by the facts of the individual case. Drug possession is a common drug crime across the nation; a person may face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the type of drug or controlled substance involved, and the amount of the substance allegedly found in the defendant's possession. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Forrester Law Firm are available for those who have questions or need legal guidance.

Drug Possession Penalties in New Jersey

In most cases, drug possession is a third-degree offense when the illegal substance is a Schedule I, II, III, or IV drug as outlined by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. The penalties for a conviction on third-degree charges include fines of up to $35,000 along with three to five years in prison. Marijuana is a Schedule I substance; however, there have been recent changes in the law regarding marijuana that cause it to be treated differently depending on a number of factors.

Possession of Schedule V drugs may result in penalties include fines of up to $15,000 along with up to 18 months in prison.

People are wrongly accused of drug possession every day. Even when someone did possess an illicit substance, mistakes may have been made by law enforcement that could bolster the defense’s case. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was in possession of drugs in order to secure a guilty verdict; this is not easy, and a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney will challenge the state’s efforts to take away someone’s freedom.

Consider Scheduling a Consultation Today

A drug possession charge is very stressful not only for the individual charged, but the family as well. Police often accuse someone of possession of drugs when the illicit substance is found in a home, car, or other area not on the physical person. Drugs found in areas where other people are often present may belong to someone else, but because the property belongs to the accused person, police automatically think that person is the guilty party. Some of the common defenses to drug possession mentioned above may be effective for having charges dismissed of securing a plea bargain. Those with questions or who want more information are invited to schedule a consultation with The Forrester Law Firm at 609-613-1513.

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