Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances in NJ
In New Jersey, Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances is probably the most common charge seen in New Jersey Superior and Municipal courts across the State. Possession of CDS is codified at N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a).
“Possess” as used signifies an intentional control and dominion of a proscribed narcotic drug accompanied by knowledge of its character; actual physical manual control of the proscribed drug is not required if the intention to exercise dominion and control over it is manifested in circumstances where it is reasonable to infer that the capacity to do so exists and possession need not be exclusive but may be jointly exercised by two or more persons. State v. Sapp, 144 N.J.Super. 455, 366 A.2d 335 (A.D.1975), reversed on other grounds 71 N.J. 476, 366 A.2d 334.
The Bianchi Law Group is made up of former trial prosecutors and other “of counsel” attorneys who have handled the investigations and prosecutions of most crimes in New Jersey and will defend you for all federal and state crimes in New Jersey including Possession of CDS.
Former Possession of CDS Prosecutors
Founding Partner and Former Morris County Prosecutor, Robert A. Bianchi, has returned to private practice after running the operations of the entire Morris County Prosecutor’s Office having served as the Morris County Prosecutor for 5 and 1/2 years (2007-2013). Mr. Bianchi was appointed as the Morris County Prosecutor by the Governor of the State of New Jersey and unanimously confirmed by the New Jersey Senate in 2007. While serving as the Morris County Prosecutor, Mr. Bianchi ran the entire office’s operations, inclusive of all of its attorneys, detectives, and support staff with a budget of approximately 11 million dollars. His innovative programs and approach have led to numerous awards from State, Local, Municipal, business, and private entities. Robert Bianchi served on the Executive Board of the County Prosecutors’ Association and was one of the few prosecutors in many years to actually argue cases, motions, and sentences in court, and actually tried a murder case himself, which is extremely rare for a sitting county prosecutor.
As Morris County Prosecutor, Robert Bianchi personally supervised the Narcotics unit which conducted wiretap investigations and undercover police operations. Additionally, Mr. Bianchi was a major contributor to the cooperating witness and confidential informant reform in New Jersey.
Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court
Partners Robert A. Bianchi and David J. Bruno are also both certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as Criminal Trial Attorneys.
In New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court has a certification committee which classifies certain New Jersey Lawyers as Certified Trial Attorneys. The process requires the prospective attorneys to satisfy strict criteria including extensive jury trials, a primary focus in criminal law, an application submission, a peer review process, a character and background check and to pass a written examination. Only 250 of over 98,000 lawyers (less than 1%) are designated as certified criminal trial attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. This should be an important factor in finding a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to represent you. Many New Jersey Lawyers describe themselves as trial attorneys but most do not have the New Jersey Court’s distinction as Certified Criminal Trial Attorney.
Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances Penalties in New Jersey
The penalties for Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances depend on the type of drug at issue and may even depend on the place where possession took place.
Here is a list of the substances prohibited in New Jersey along with the degree and any statutory penalties which deviate to the standard fines found in N.J.S. 43-3:
- 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 N.J.S.2C:43-3, 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 N.J.S.2C:43-3, 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 N.J.S.2C:43-3, 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.
Crimes in the third-degree range can be punishable from 3 years to 5 years in the New Jersey State prison. Crimes in the fourth-degree range can be punishable up to 18 months in New Jersey State prison. Disorderly Persons offenses can be punishable up to 90 days in the County jail.
The Sentencing Judge may also order fines and restitution as prescribed by 2C:43-3 for all convictions for Possession of CDS in New Jersey.
Community Service for Possession of a CDS within 1000 Feet of School Property
Any person who commits possession of a controlled dangerous substance 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.
DEDR- Mandatory Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction penalties
Pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:35-15, the Sentencing Judge must order the defendant to pay the following mandatory drug enforcement and demand reduction penalties for any Chapter 35 (Controlled Dangerous Substances) and Chapter 36 (Drug Paraphernalia) convictions:
- $3,000.00 in the case of a crime of the first degree;
- $2,000.00 in the case of a crime of the second degree;
- $1,000.00 in the case of a crime of the third degree;
- $750.00 in the case of a crime of the fourth degree;
- $500.00 in the case of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense.
Additionally, any person who possesses, distributes, dispenses or has under his control with intent to distribute or dispense 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, gammabutyrolactone, gamma hydroxybutyrate or flunitrazepam, or a controlled substance analog of any of these substances, shall, notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, be subject to a drug enforcement and demand reduction penalty of twice the amount otherwise applicable to the offense. [2C:35-5.11. Fines imposed for possession or distribution of certain drugs].
NJ Driver’s License Suspension
A person convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for a violation of any offense defined in this chapter 35 (Controlled Dangerous Substances) or chapter 36 (Drug Paraphernalia) shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period to be fixed by the court at not less than six months or more than two years which shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed unless the court finds compelling circumstances warranting an exception.
Trial Ready New Jersey Criminal Lawyers
Like in all of our cases handled at the Bianchi Law Group, our experienced staff of trial attorneys and “of counsel” attorneys are there to make sure the Government can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If our attorneys cannot resolve the case with a dismissal or a fair and just plea bargain, our lawyers at The Bianchi Law Group will not hesitate to select a jury and take the case to trial. That is what we do and what distinguishes us from other attorneys. We are former prosecutors, trial-tested, and certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as certified criminal trial attorneys… We will not hesitate to go to trial.