Charged With Possessing Marijuana, Heroin or Another Drug in a Motor Vehicle
If an individual illegally possesses a controlled dangerous substance or a prescription drug while operating a motor vehicle, they may be charged with violating N.J.S. 39:4-49.1. This offense can have significant ramifications as the penalties include a two (2) year license suspension. It must be kept in mind that this is a motor vehicle charge that is a separate offense from a criminal drug possession violation under N.J.S. 2C:35-10. In most cases, an individual issued both charges when they are the operator of a car, truck or other vehicle in which illegal drugs are uncovered by police. If you have been charged with possession of drugs in a motor vehicle, our Essex County Criminal Attorneys possess the knowledge and skill to eliminate and/or minimize your exposure. An attorney on our team can provide you with your best option(s) for a favorable outcome and initial consultations are free of charge. Give us a call any time of day at 973-710-1520.
Proving A Charge of CDS in a Motor Vehicle
As previously stated, the offense we are speaking of here is set forth at N.J.S. 39:4-49.1. This statute provides, in pertinent part, that:
No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any highway while knowingly having in his possession or in the motor vehicle any controlled dangerous substance as classified in Schedules I, II, III, IV and V of the “New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act,” P.L.1970, c. 226 C. 24:21-1 et seq.) or any prescription legend drug, unless the person has obtained the substance or drug from, or on a valid written prescription of, a duly licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other medical practitioner licensed to write prescriptions intended for the treatment or prevention of disease in man or animals or unless the person possesses a controlled dangerous substance pursuant to a lawful order of a practitioner or lawfully possesses a Schedule V substance.
A person who violates this section shall be fined not less than $50.00 and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle for a period of two years from the date of his conviction.
You will note from the language of this law that the discovery of drugs in a vehicle alone is insufficient to convict someone under N.J.S. 39:4-49.1. The individual must be the operator of the car/truck and knowingly possess a drug that is illegal to possess and/or lacks a valid prescription. Possession of marijuana is probably the most frequently encountered drug under 39:4-49.1 although individuals are also arrested for possessing heroin or other hard drugs as well. But even where all of the necessary elements for proving this charge exist, there is the possibility for resolving this offense in accordance with a conditional discharge of the related criminal possession charge. The situation can, however, get dicey inasmuch as there is no obligation on the part of the prosecutor to dismiss and/or merge a 39:4-49.1 so that the mandatory two (2) year license suspension is avoided. An application of this nature is best left for an experienced criminal attorney like those at our firm given the considerable stakes (i.e. inability to drive for two years).
Penalties For Knowingly Operating A Vehicle With Drugs
Oddly, even though the consequences of this violation are dramatic, there are no motor vehicle points that are assessed as a result of a conviction. However, there is a mandatory license suspension of two (2) years that must be imposed and there is not possibility for avoiding this punishment in the even of conviction under N.J.S. 39:4-49.1. The court has no authority to withhold the suspension or any portion thereof if an individual once there is a finding of guilty under this law. A fine of at least fifty (50) dollars must also be imposed by that is obviously inconsequential in comparison to the license revocation that applies.
Hire An Experienced Lawyer For Your Possession In a Motor Vehicle Offense
Its bad enough to be facing a drug possession charge let alone a traffic summons that carries a two (2) year loss of license on top of it. Our attorneys are successful in a large percentage of these cases, however, in avoiding a conviction and we would be more than happy to discuss the best option for you to have similar success. Call us for immediate assistance at 973-710-1520.