Marijuana Possession

Beating Blunt, Vape & Bong Charges

NJ Marijuana Possession - Overview

Marijuana possession is one of the most common charges in New Jersey. Thousands of people (mostly motorists) are charged with marijuana possession. I don’t have the statistic but it feels like 90% of all marijuana possession cases that we handle stem from a traffic stop.

We represent clients all over Northern New Jersey & it doesn’t matter whether our clients are from Bergen, Essex, Hudson, or Passaic County. When our clients meet with us, they share the same experience. They get stopped for a traffic violation & after the police officer smells marijuana, they get charged.

If they arrest you for a small, personal use quantity, you will be facing a disoderly persons offense. These cases are resolved in the nearby Municipal court where you got arrested. We will discuss the penalties you face, legal defenses, and probation options.

Let’s get into it.

Marijuana Possession Laws & Penalties

Description
Type of Offense
Exposure to Incarceration
Max. Fine
Possession
50 g or less
Disorderly Person
6 months
$ 1,000
More than 50 g
Felony
1.5 years
$ 25,000
Within 1000 feet of a school adds 100 hours of community service, as well as an additional fine.
Distribution
Less than 1 oz
Felony
1.5 years
$ 25,000
1 oz – less than 5 lbs
Felony
3* – 5 years
$ 25,000
5 – less than 25 lbs
Felony
5* – 10 years
$ 150,000
25 lbs or more
Felony
10* – 20 years
$ 300,000
Within 1000 feet of a school or school bus
Felony
3* – 5 years
$ 150,000
Includes possession with the intent to distribute
To minors or pregnant women carries a double term of imprisonment and fine.
* Mandatory minimum sentence
Growing or Cultivating
1 oz – less than 5 lbs (less than 10 plants)
Felony
3* – 5 years
$ 25,000
5 – less than 25 lbs (10 – less than 50 plants)
Felony
5* – 10 years
$ 150,000
More than 25 lbs (50 plants or more)
Felony
10* – 20 years
$ 300,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence
Hashish
Possession of 5 g or less
Disorderly Person
6 months
$ 1,000
Possession of more than 5 g
Felony
6 months
$ 25,000
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of less than 5 g
Felony
18 months
$ 10,000
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of 5 g – less than 1 lb
Felony
3* – 5 years
$ 25,000
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of 1 lb – less than 5 lbs
Felony
5* – 10 years
$ 150,000
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of 5 lbs or more
Felony
10* – 20 years
$ 300,000
Within 1000 feet of a school or school bus
Felony
3* – 5 years
$ 150,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence
Paraphernalia
Possession or use of paraphernalia
Disorderly Person
6 months
$ 1,000
Sale of paraphernalia
Felony
18 months
$ 10,000
Important Tips
Failure to turn over marijuana to a police officer is a misdemeanor. Being under the influence of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Potential punishment is listed below in Penalty Details.
If under 17 year, driving privileges shall be suspended for 6 months – 2 years

Mandatory Minimum Sentences

If you are convicted of an indictable offense with a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge has no choice in how he/she sentences you.

Your sentence will start at the “mandatory minimum” and go up from there.

For example, if you are charged with distributing 5 lbs of marijuana or more, your sentence will start at 10 years.
The judge cannot sentence you to less time.

You will not be eligible for parole during the “mandatory minimum” period of incarceration.

Marijuana Possession & Paraphernalia Laws: 2C:36-2

What is Paraphernalia?

Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana.

If you are in possession of a grinder, bong, pipe, or baggie (used to carry marijuana) you will be charged with paraphernalia.

Paraphernalia Penalties

Paraphernalia Possession is a disorderly persons offense.
You face a fine of up to $1,000, six months in jail, or both.

Manufacturing or selling paraphernalia is a fourth-degree felony in New Jersey.
You face a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in prison.

Now that we shared the law, let’s discuss how it works in the real world. As criminal lawyers, we can tell you that anything can be considered or treated as paraphernalia. You can always expect to get these charges when you are facing marijuana possession charges. For example, if the marijuana is a gutted cigar blunt, then the cigar will be the basis for the paraphernalia charge. If the marijuana is in a pipe or bong, you will also get charged with paraphernalia. Our clients in Hackensack, Jersey City, Newark, and Paterson can tell you that this is how it is. Paraphernalia is also a disorderly persons offense & these charges will be resolved in Municipal court.

CDS in a Motor Vehicle

We devoted an entire blog to this subject Operating a Motor Vehicle with CDS but will discuss it briefly here. New Jersey has a traffic violation that we refer to as CDS in a motor vehicle. CDS stands for Controlled Dangerous Substance and yes, marijuana is considered CDS. However, it is not a criminal offense. It is a traffic violation. 

This is a serious charge because if you are convicted of cds in a motor vehicle, you will lose your license for two years.

Your other marijuana possession charge is separate and apart. If you are convicted or marijuana possession you may lose your driving privileges for a period of six months to two years.

Marijuana Possession & Probation

If you’re facing misdemeanor marijuana possession charges and want to keep your record clean & avoid jail, then you would need admission into NJ’s conditional discharge program. Once you successfully complete the program, your charges will get dismissed. However, the program is not easy & there will be drug testing. Also, not everyone is eligible.

If you are charged with felony marijuana possession charges, you may be eligible for NJ’s Pretrial Intervention program. Again, the program is not easy & you will be subject to many conditions. However, if you successfully complete the program, your criminal charges will get dismissed.

Legal defenses to Marijuana Possession charges

Marijuana possession charges can get dismissed without using a diversionary program. All drug charges have to be challenged on Constitutional grounds. This means that you have to challenge the legality of the search. How did the police find the drugs? Did they find the drugs pursuant to a valid search warrant? Did the police violate your 4th Amendment rights in obtaining the evidence?

All of these questions are answered in two helpful articles: Dismissing Criminal Charges & How To Dismiss Drug Charges.

Our advice

If you’re facing marijuana possession charges, meet with us and tell us all about it. How did you get arrested? Where did you get arrested? Did the police search you, your car, or your home? This stuff fascinates us so schedule a free consultation. We want to hear your story.

More often than not, if you have marijuana possession charges, you probably have other charges too. Don’t just take the first plea offer that comes your way. And don’t just use PTI or the conditional discharge program because you want the whole experience to be done & over with. Let’s fight first! We want to study the facts of your case & see if we can help you avoid going on probation. Remember, probation is long & you will be drug tested. It is also expensive & often involves community service. Don’t you want to see if your rights were violated? If they were, we might be able to get your entire case dismissed. We’ve helped a lot of clients & they’re happy that they chose us.

Meet with us to discuss your case. We love what we do & we love helping people. Let us help you!

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

What our clients say about us

Peyrouton Law
5.0
Based on 105 reviews
Edie Nolan
Edie Nolan
21:52 18 Apr 20
The office of Peyrouton Law Helped my family so much, I can't put it into words how much. The day we walked into the office we explained our situation to Alan and his associates and they took on our situation like we were family.
Edward Estupinan
Edward Estupinan
18:04 09 Mar 20
The Peyrouton Law firm is the place to go to if you need great representation. Extremely knowledgeable, honest and prompt. Alan and Kevin got our family through a very difficult and emotional matter quickly and with ease. The office was highly professional, responsive and compassionate. They kept us informed and advised us wisely throughout the entire process. I highly recommend this firm. Karen & Ed E.
traviscp longendyke
traviscp longendyke
15:41 04 Feb 20
Hey, this is Travis. Hope all is well with you guys. I just wanted to reach out and truly thank you guys for everything you did for me and my family and also believing in me at a point when I barely believed in myself. I am off the "conditional probation", and everything is over with. We have our three little beautiful girls (which The youngest just turned one a few days ago), we both have amazing jobs where we are very blessed to be making what we are making for our family, and we are in the process and about to go into contract with buying our first home (a BEAUTIFUL 400,000 dollar home).... Lizzy and myself just wanted to truly thank you guys for believing in me and doing everything you could so I can be in this amazing spot in life that my family is in. I owe a lot of this to you guys and I hope you know what you do does not go unappreciated and you guys are making a huge impact and you guys are a huge help on certain people's lives. This above was a text message that I just sent to Alan and Kevin. For anyone who is looking for AMAZING people to represent you, that will literally do anything and everything they can for you to receive the best outcome, then these are the people you want, I PROMISE you that. They literally made miracles happen on my multiple cases. Alan from day one made me promise him that I would do everything I could to better my life. I did that and in return I received the most amazing lawyers who went above and beyond for me and my family. I couldn’t of created a better pair of lawyers to represent me. If anyone is looking for great results on your case please give Alan and Kevin a shot and I promise you (because I owe a lot of my success right now to these men) that you will not be disappointed and they will do everything they can for you.
Jose Nose
Jose Nose
22:17 03 Feb 20
Alan and Kevin helped me avoid prison on huge drug charges. Then, they beat my DUI case. They’re the perfect combination of aggressive and humble lawyers. Fees are very reasonable and they really cared about me. I totally recommend. My lawyers for life.
Geraldino Fils
Geraldino Fils
00:32 01 Feb 20
Omar Newell
Omar Newell
18:07 23 Jan 20
MY LAWYERS FOR LIFE!!!!!Alan and Kevin are the Best!!!!!!Most genuine lawyers I’ve ever met...they were very detailed and kept me informed about the process every step of the way... These guys have a genuine passion for law and will work endlessly to ensure a favorable outcome... they treat you like family which is what everyone needs when faced with a situation...
Erico Pilates
Erico Pilates
03:18 16 Jan 20
Thank you Dr Peyrouton for your professional advice on my closing issue and for helping me with my litigation case. I am super grateful for a speedy successful outcome on this process.
njfirearms
njfirearms
05:03 01 Jan 20
Alan and his team have worked magic on cases and are the easiest to work with of the attorney's I know. I am impressed by how they get things done and their success with cases large and small. Always the first call I make when either I or my clients need counsel.
yuksel
yuksel
19:59 19 Dec 19
I was arrested for a 3rd-degree felony case. I spent 5 hours searching for a good NJ criminal defense lawyer online. Every lawyer I called was in a rush and demanded a lot of money. I didn't like how many of these lawyers talked to me either.When I discovered Peyrouton Law, I checked their reviews. Every review was perfect and I was skeptical. Nobody can be so perfect.I talked to Alan on the phone and made a free appointment to come in and see him.Alan and Kevin explained everything to me very clearly. They answered all of my questions patiently. I never felt rushed.Because of my special circumstances, they took my case for an extremely reasonable flat fee. Honestly, they treated me like a brother.Within a few weeks, they were able to get my felony case downgraded to a misdemeanor.Long story short, I ended up paying a small fine for a municipal ordinance.As a client, I only had to go to court only three times.Even though my case is over, I will continue to keep in contact with Alan and Kevin.I consider them excellent people and they've become trusted friends.If any of my friends or family members ever need a lawyer, I will just grab them by the hand and take them to see Alan and Kevin.You know, when I got arrested, I was humiliated, lost my vacation time, and lost a lot of sleep but the best part of this whole thing is that I made two great friends for life...
Brian Galbraith
Brian Galbraith
23:43 12 Dec 19
Alan and Kevin were the first attorneys I've ever needed for any criminal matter in my life. I was speaking with other potential attorneys for my hire and they were all very nasty and and in a hurry. upon hiring Allen he appointed Kevin Brown to my case. Kevin always listened to everything I had to say, took every detail into account and given that I work for a government agency he saved my career from going into the gutter. I had a felony dropped down to a disorderly persons offense and drop down finally to a municipal ordinance charge which leaves me with no criminal record. I could not thank either of you enough and I don't think that the retainer fee was even enough. Alan and Kevin both saved me and I am forever grateful. if you want good results and honest advice with a touch of hospitality and great customer service hire them now, get their business card and keep it in your wallet just in case. Five stars well-deserved.
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A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.

Reasonable Articulable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.

When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.

A mere “hunch” is not enough.

In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses. Prison terms start at a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with a 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. These cases can get “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.