Essex County, in particular, the City of Newark, possesses the highest volume of heroin trafficking in the state. Since the common method for delivering this drug into the body is via a syringe/needle, it follows that there is an abundance of charges involving this form of drug paraphernalia as well. While this offense is a misdemeanor, what people often fail to realize is that there is a mandatory driver’s license suspension, not to mention a resulting record and fines, if you are convicted of possessing a hypodermic needle under N.J.S.A. 2C:36-6. Its also sad that so many end up convicted of this charge when there is an overwhelming probability that, if they choose to hire our Newark firm, they would have avoided a record and/or license suspension. Do let yourself end up on the short end of this situation and, at a very minimum, call our attorneys for a free consultation at 973-710-1520.
Possession With Intent To Use A Hypodermic Syringe or Needle
N.J.S.A. 2C:36-6 makes it illegal to possess a syringe/needle without a valid prescription where it is the intention of the accused to use it to ingest a controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”). It is important to keep in mind that possession alone does not result in a drug paraphernalia violation as there must also be an intention to use the syringe/needle for CDS. The exact language of the statute is as follows:
2C:36-6. a. Except as authorized by subsection b., c. or other law, it shall be unlawful for a person to have under his control or possess with intent to use a hypodermic syringe, hypodermic needle or any other instrument adapted for the use of a controlled dangerous substance or a controlled substance analog as defined in chapter 35 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes or to sell, furnish or give to any person such syringe, needle or instrument. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.
A violation of 2C:36-6 for possessing a syringe/needle is a disorderly persons offense. An individual may be placed on probation or even incarcerated for up to six (6) months. There is also a fine and mandatory court assessments that apply. Another significant consequence of a conviction is a driver’s license suspension of anywhere from six (6) months to two (2) years.
Affirmative Defense To This Charge
N.J.S.A. 2C:36-6.3 sets forth an affirmative defense to possession of a syringe or needle. In order for the defense to apply, the instruments must have purchased from a licensed pharmacy, which is permissible for 10 or less without a prescription.
Conditional Discharge Availability
For first time drug offenders, a diversionary program known as Conditional Discharge is available. Under this program, an individual may avoid prosecution for possession of a needle or syringe if they agree to a period of probation within they remain drug and arrest free.
Plea Bargaining In Paraphernalia Cases
Court Rule 7:6-2 makes it illegal for prosecutors and courts to allow plea bargaining in certain types of cases. All drug and paraphernalia charges fall within this prohibition. You therefore cannot plea bargain a possession or use of syringe or needle charge.
Newark NJ Hypodermic Needle/Syringe Possession Attorneys
While Newark has the highest number of heroin related arrests in the state and Essex County, there are certainly many other towns with this issue and it isn’t just urban ones like East Orange, Irvington, and Orange. Almost every day, juveniles and adults are arrested for possession of needles/syringes in more affluent municipalities too, including West Orange, Montclair, Millburn and Bloomfield. Irrespective of where in the county where you were arrested, we are ready to assist you. Call us at 973-710-1520.