Passaic County NJ Marijuana Lawyer

       Conviction for the possession, purchase, or use of any illegal drug carries life long consequences.  Marijuana is considered to be a Schedule I drug by the Federal Government, meaning it is grouped in the same category as hard drugs like HeroinCocaine and Methamphetamine.

Although New Jersey has reduced penalties, called disorderly persons offenses, for the simple possession of marijuana, there remains the certainty of a Criminal Record and the possibility of Jail, Fines, and a Driver’s License Suspension if convicted.  Because of this, you should consider consulting with a Passaic County NJ Marijuana Possession Lawyer immediately.

What are the Penalties?

The penalties a Passaic County New Jersey Marijuana Possession charge depend upon how much pot was actually under your control.  If you possessed under 50 grams, the charge will be a Disorderly Persons Offense. If you were caught with over 50 grams, the charge will be a 4th degree crime.   For the full statute see here:

Possession of less than 50 grams of Marijuana:

  • Up to six months in Jail;
  • $1,000 Fine;
  • 6-24 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

Possession of greater than 50 grams of Marijuana:

  • Up to 18 Months  in Prison;
  • $25,000 Fine;
  • Criminal Record;
  • 6-24 Month Driver's License Suspension.

*In addition the above, if you were charged for marijuana possession within a school zone, you may also be required to perform a minimum of 100 hours of community service.

Can I Fight my Possession Charge?

There are many avenues of defense.  Generally, these rely on defects in how the police obtained the evidence.  The police need probable cause to suspect you of possession and to search your person or vehicle.  They need a warrant to search your home.  If they had neither of these, you may be able to have the evidence thrown out of court and your case dismissed.

It is important to know your rights at all stages of a search, seizure and arrest.  With nearly 40 years experience as a Judge, Prosecutor, and Defense Counsel, the Attorneys of Avery & Avery know all the tricks and tactics police use to illegally obtain evidence.  As NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers, we have mastered the identification of flaws in the States case, and will work with you to either avoid a criminal conviction, or have the case thrown out completely.  

An experienced Passaic County NJ Marijuana Lawyer can fight for your right to either have evidence supressed and the states case dropped, or can find an appropriate resolution and dismissal of charges through plea agreements with the prosecutor or through the Conditional Discharge (CD) and Pre Trial Intervention (PTI) programs.  For a free consultation, please call us at, 201-943-2445, or reach out to us via our contact page.  


Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Due to the nature of drugs, most need some sort of tool to help get them into your system.  Because of this, nearly all defendants are caught with and charged for the possession of drug paraphernalia.  Marijuana paraphernalia usually consists of rolling papers, dutch masters, grinders, pipes, vaporizers, and even lighters.  

NJ Drug Paraphernalia charges are a Disorderly Persons Offense and can carry, in addition to the marijuana possession charge, an additional 6 Month Jail Sentence$1,000 Fine, and 2 Year Driver’s License Suspension.

Paraphernalia is usually used by the prosecution to prove knowledge and intent to ingest the accompanying marijuana.  Because of this, the charges must be likewise defended against, either via trial, plea agreement, or diversionary programs such as uch as Conditional Discharge and Pre Trial Intervention (PTI).

Frequently Asked Questions:

What happens if I was charged for Driving under the Influence (DUI) of Marijuana?

A NJ Drug / Marijuana DUI is the same as a regular drunk driving charge.  The penalties will be the same, except that there is no provision for low level offenders.  This means, that in addition to the penalties for the possession of weed, you can face additional fines and driver’s license suspensions.  See here for a more detailed description of New Jersey's DUI laws as related to Drugs.

Can I be charged with both the possession and possession with intent to distribute?

As the name of the offense indicates, it is the intent to distribute that really matters.  As long as the Prosecutor can demonstrate that you intended to and had the ability to sell, manufacture, or distribute the pot, weed, marijuana, etc, you can be found guilty and you should strongly consider contacting a lawyer.

Does the amount of drugs possessed matter?

The amount of weed in possession will matter for sentencing purposes.  As described above, there are two levels of offenses, one involving 50 grams or less, and the other for more than 50 grams of weed.  If the amount of pot possessed was greater than 50 grams, the charge will be a 4th degree crime, with punishment up to 18 months in prison, and up to a $25,000 fine, along with up to a 2 year driver’s license suspension and a criminal record.  If you were charged with possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana, it is considered a disorderly persons offense, with punishment of up to 6 months in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, along with up to a 2 year driver’s license suspension.

If the quantity was sufficiently large, the Passaic County police will often also charge the defendant with Possession with Intent to Distribute, which carries much more serious consequences.

No matter the charge, a NJ possession of marijuana charge can have dire consequences, and you should defend yourself with the top Passaic County New Jersey Marijuana Possession Lawyers.  For a free consultation, please call 201-943-2445.

What if I had more than one drug, will I be charged for both?

If you have been caught with more than one drug at a time, say Marijuana and Cocaine, you should only be charged with one offense for possession of drugs.  If however, you have drugs in separate places which were additionally found, you may be charged multiple times.  This means if your hotel room was found to have heroin, and you were found elsewhere with marijuana, you may be charged twice.

What if it wasn't real weed?  

In NJ, if you are expressely or impliedly selling Marijuana, even if the supposed weed is fake, and contains no banned substances, you can still be found guilty under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-11.  These situations are just as dangerous to your future as possessing the real thing, and you should consult an experienced Passaic County NJ Marijuana Attorney immediately.

If they have caught me and there are no defenses, what can I do?

In some situations the police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  In situations like these we have often been successful in downgrading the offense to one with far fewer penalties and no jail time.  Another approach is to enter a client into a diversionary program such as Pre Trial Intervention (PTI)  or Conditional Discharge (CD).  These programs provide the benefit of no jail time and no criminal conviction.  We have been successful with combinations of the two as well when dealing with high level offenders.

What do I tell the police? 

We give the same answer to all clients regarding all criminal charges, say nothing!  Until you talk to your NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Is working with the police to have my charges dismissed a possibility?

Sometimes the best approach to avoid prosecution is for a client to "turn State's evidence".  This is an opportunity which occasionally can be worked out with the Prosecutor and police in order to have our clients charges dropped.  

How will my possession charge affect my immigration status?

This is not a simple question.  Depending on what your status is, and what your charges are, there can be vast consequences including deportation from the United States.  Generally a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, is extremely dangerous to your immigration status and may result in deportation, inadmissibility, or ineligibility for citizenship.  If it is a second offense possession charge the possible immigration consequences also become far greater.

It was a cop who bought it from me, is that a defense?  

No this is not a defense.  This is a classic sting operation.  The myth that undercover police officers must identify themselves is simply that, a myth, and has no bearing on the case.

I have been caught on this before, are there any additional penalties?

There are no statutory extra penalties, however you will still face additional hardships.  Generally a judge will impose much harsher penalties on a second offender than a first.  If you have already used a diversionary program such as Pre Trial Intervention (PTI) or Conditional Discharge or Expungement, you may not be able to take advantage of these programs again. Additionally, if you are not a citizen, a second offense drug charge will significantly hinder your status.  With all these factors in mind, a second offense drug possession will require an Experienced NJ Criminal Defense Attorney.  With over 40 years experience you can feel safe in the hands of Avery & Avery, call today for a free consultation.

I didn't have the weed on me when I was busted, is that a defense? 

It depends on whether you, in legal terms, "constructively" possessed the contraband.  If it was in your house, or in arms reach within your car, it generally constitutes constructive possession as far as the Courts are concerned.  It is the job of an experienced lawyer to cast doubt on that in in court.  

I was in a school zone when arrested, how does that affect the case?

Convction for marijuana possession in a Passaic County school zone will have the addition of a minimum of 100 hours community service as a punishment.

However, if the charge also involves drug distribution and the offense took place in a school zone, you may face an additional charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.  For the full statute click this link.  Generally, if found guilty of this additional charge you may face up to an additional 5 years in prison.  Even if you are originally charged for a small distribution of pot, marijuana, weed, etc, you still can face significant prision time, and it becomes even more urgent you contact an experienced NJ Criminal Defense Attorney, such as those of Avery & Avery.

They found marijuana in the car, what happens?

These cases are just like any other weed possession case.  The penalties remain the same, as does the possible 2 year suspension of your NJ drivers license.  Posession of pot in a motor vehicle opens many avenues of possible defense however.  There are many possible defects in the way the police handled the case that could result in the suppression of evidence against you.  To determine if this is a possibility, please contact one of our lawyers at 201-943-2445.

What happens when it wasn't mine?

This is a situation that generally occurs in a car.  Usually the police will charge every occupant of the vehicle and it is then up to them to prove in court it wasn't theirs or to compel their friends to cop to it.

I've also been charged with the possession of drug paraphernalia, what can I do?

There are several factors the courts will consider when deciding whether or not an object truly constitutes drug paraphernalia, these are:

     1. The existance or lack of residue in the object;

     2. Evidence of prior use of the object;

     3. Instructions for the use of the object;

     4. And whether there are any legitimate uses for the item.

     5. Any statements of those in possession of the supposed paraphernalia.

Drug paraphernalia charges in NJ almost always accompany possession or distribution charges.  This serves as additional proof of knowledge by the defendant making the States case easier.  With additional penalties, such as 6 months in jail for possession of paraphernalia, it is important to contact a NJ Drug Defense Attorney immediately.  For a free consultation call one of our lawyers at 201-943-2445.

What about drug court?

NJ Drug Court works similarly to other diversionary programs, and provides a means for certain offenders to avoid some consequences of a criminal conviction.  Drug Court is not a trivial matter and has many drawbacks; these include things such as regular court appearances, random drug screens, community service, job training, in and out patient drug detox and rehabiliation, mandatory AA meetings, etc.

How will a NJ Marijuana Possession charge affect my professional license?

Professional licenses take a long time to get and can be taken away instantly if you have a drug conviction on your record.  All professional licenses are different, while some may be more forgiving, others such as those in the public safety, engineering, law, and medical professions, such as nursing and MD licenses are at great risk if convicted for drug charges.  

If you have a nursing degree, medical degree, law degree, or any profession license, you are at extra risk and should contact a Marijuana Possession Defense Attorney immediately to discuss your options.

Passaic County Superior Court Information:

This Court is responsible for hearing all indictable criminal cases in Hudson County.  These are offenses which are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree crimes.  All lesser offenses will be heard in the local municipal courts.

The Criminal Part of the Passaic County Superior Court is located in the Administration Building at 77 Hamilton Street, Paterson, New Jersey 07505.  They are open from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.

Judge: There are numerous Judges assigned to the criminal division, please check your summons to determine which Judge you will be before.

Criminal Division Manager: Edward Wingren III

Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office Information:

The Prosecutors office is responsible for charging and conducting proceedings against all defendants cited for crimes in Passaic County.  Most Passaic County NJ DUI cases are heard in the Municipal Courts rather than the Superior Court, however.  If you were charged for DUI, please refer to the municipality the ticket was cited in and your matter will be heard in that court.  They are located on the 7th floor of the Administration building, 30 King Road, Totowa, New Jersey 07512.

Phone: 973-881-4800

Fax: 973-225-0155

Hudson County Prosecutor: Camelia M. Valdes, Esq.

First Assistant Prosecutor: Neil J. Cleary, Esq.


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