Charged With Possessing A Pipe, Grinders, Scales & Other Paraphernalia

A common disorderly persons offense is possession of drug paraphernalia. This charge is set forth at N.J.S. 2C:36-2  and also applies to use of drug paraphernalia. When someone is arrested for possessing or using drug paraphernalia, there case is typical heard in municipal court although it can also be heard at the Superior Court as a companion charge to an indictable criminal offense. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug paraphernalia related offense in Bloomfield, Newark, Montclair or other town in Essex County, our law firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, is well suited to handle your case. We feature a team of former prosecutors and other experienced defense lawyers and we are ready to assist you in a free consultation now. Give us a call at 973-710-1520.

What Does The NJ Drug Paraphernalia Law Say?

As previously stated, N.J.S. 2C:36-2. is the law that prohibits use or possession of drug paraphernalia in New Jersey. This statute provides that:
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.

In order to prove this charge, the prosecutor must establish three (3) elements: (1) that the item in question was “drug paraphernalia”; (2) the defendant used or possessed the object; and (3) the intended use of the item was to commit a violation of the controlled dangerous substance laws.

What Is “Drug Paraphernalia” Under N.J.S. 2C:36-2?

The term drug paraphernalia basically includes anything capable of being used in conjunction with a controlled dangerous substance. While the law refers to eleven (11) categories of objects and thirteen (13) specific examples of items that fall within the statute, 2C:36-2 actually encompasses many more forms of drug paraphernalia. Whether an item is paraphernalia turns on numerous factors including statements/admissions by those in possession or control of the item, proximity of the object to controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”), whether there is any residue or other evidence that the item was used for ingestion of CDS, and any other direct or circumstantial evidence demonstrating  intent to use the item in conjunction with CDS.

Can Plea Bargaining Be Used to Dismiss a Paraphernalia Charge?

Unfortunately, possession or use of drug paraphernalia is considered a CDS related offense. As a result, prosecutors are prohibited from engaging in plea bargaining to dismiss a drug paraphernalia offense.

Is It Possible To Expunge A Drug Paraphernalia Conviction?

A violation of the paraphernalia law is a disorderly persons offense. Based on this grading, there is a five (5) year waiting period before an application for expungement may be timely filed. As a result, the minimum period that a 2C:36-2 violation will be on an individual’s record if they are convicted is five (5) years.

Does The Conditional Discharge Program Apply To Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?

New Jersey has a diversion program known as Conditional Discharge. In accordance with this program, an individual is given the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction provided they adhere to certain probationary conditions. The standard conditions are that the candidate remain violation free for a period of one (1) year, as well as drug free. Random drug testing, typically a one time test, is administered during the conditional discharge period to insure that the candidate is not using drugs. If the conditional discharge  period is successfully completed, the original drug paraphernalia charge is dismissed.

Our highly experienced criminal attorneys are successful in avoiding conviction to a drug paraphernalia offense in a large majority of cases. We would be more than happy to discuss the best way we envision you enjoying similar success.