Arrested for Drugs in my Car in Essex County, NJ
Drug charges in New Jersey are often the result of a search of a vehicle. An officer may have pulled you over for something simple and then searched your car and found drugs or drug paraphernalia. In some cases, the search itself may not have been conducted in a way that conforms to New Jersey law, which means the evidence may be deemed inadmissible and thrown out of court. But, how do you know if that is that case for your situation? What are your rights when a police search of your car results in drug possession charges for marijuana, heroin, Xanax, Ecstasy, cocaine, or another controlled dangerous substance? If you’ve been arrested for drugs, our Essex County criminal defense lawyers are here to provide the information you need now.
Searched my Vehicle for Drugs in Newark, New Jersey
You may have heard that the police need a warrant to search your vehicle. While that is generally true, there are several exceptions to this rule. One big exception is when you consent to a search. It can be very intimidating for an officer to request to search your vehicle, but even though it may not feel like it, you do not have to consent to the search. When you consent, you waive many of your rights regarding the items in your vehicle, including if there are drugs in your car.
The second circumstance that involves a warrantless search is a situation in which the police have “probable cause.” Under this scenario, the police do not have to have your permission to search the vehicle, but they do have to have a reason that they want to search you. That reason must be more than just a hunch. The police must have a belief that you have committed a crime, are currently committing a crime, or you have evidence of a crime in your vehicle. Without a rational reason for this belief, a search cannot be conducted.
How can I get Drug Charges Dismissed in Montclair?
If an officer does not have your permission or probable cause to search your car, then any results of the search, including possession of illegal substances, is evidence that can be suppressed at a hearing or at trial. An experienced criminal defense lawyer at our firm can investigate the “discovery,” or evidence, in your case to find constitutional violations that may be used for a motion to suppress. As you can imagine, if the drugs found in your car cannot be used against you in court, it can be very difficult for a prosecutor to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We have helped numerous clients get drug possession and intent to distribute charges dismissed after officers arrested them at a traffic stop in Caldwell, Nutley, Newark, Millburn, Short Hills, Verona, and other towns in Essex County.
Charged with Drugs in my Car in Little Falls, What am I Facing?
The most common drug charge that arises from a vehicle search is drug possession, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. Under New Jersey law, having any amount of an illegal substance in your vehicle is a crime. The penalties can be steep, including suspension of your license for up to two years and even jail time for the possession of CDS charges that are unrelated to having the drug in your vehicle.
You can also be charged with possession with an intent to distribute if you have above of a certain amount of an illegal drug in your vehicle. The amounts are different for each type of controlled substance and the penalties vary for each amount as well. For example, if you have less than half of an ounce of heroin, you may be sentenced to prison time for up to five years and could be fined up to $35,000. If you have more than five ounces, prison time can be up to 10 years, and you may have a fine of up to $500,000. Marijuana, on the other hand, has penalties that are not as harsh, unless you are found with a significant quantity of the substance. Disorderly persons marijuana charges are punishable by 6 months in jail, but you face prison time of up to 20 years if you have more than 25 pounds of weed in your vehicle at the time of your arrest.
Need a Lawyer for a Drug Case in Verona NJ
Having an illegal substance in your car can cause an array of problems. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges in the Essex County area, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to help you avoid or minimize the serious repercussions of a conviction. Don’t wait—call the Newark NJ Criminal Lawyers at our firm today at 201-654-3464 for more information and aggressive defense representation. Consultations are free, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.