New Marijuana Legislation Would Expunge Past Convictions In NJ

New Marijuana Legislation Would “Permit The Expungement Of Certain Marijuana Charges” And Give Thousands Across New Jersey a 2nd Chance

 

With anti-marijuana Governor Chris Christie’s departure quickly approaching, advocates in the state are getting ready for full legalization

Chris Christie is leaving office in January. And with him gone, legalization advocates seem confident that New Jersey can enact a law that paves the way for a legal market. That would take New Jersey from punishing the use and sale of pot with jail, to treating weed like alcohol: a drug people over 21 can enjoy, produced and sold in a tightly regulated, taxed marketplace. It would be a game changer in a state where police arrest more people for pot than any other crime; where a single joint can land you in jail and lead to a permanent criminal record.

New Jersey State Senator Nicholas P. Scutari – who introduced a bill that would regulate the growth, sale and use of pot – says legalization in the state is long past due. “The drug laws in this country prohibiting the use and possession of marijuana have failed,” Scutari said. “It’s time to end the detrimental effect these archaic laws are having on our residents and our state… This bill will create a strictly regulated system that permits adults to purchase limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. It will bring marijuana out of the underground market where it can be controlled, regulated and taxed, just as alcohol has been for decades.”

The new bill would allow for the expungement of past marijuana charges and convictions, giving hope and a 2nd chance to many otherwise law-abiding citizens across the state. “The criminal justice system sees each marijuana arrest as just a box to tick on a checklist, but behind those statistics are individual human beings whose lives will be far more difficult in almost every respect,” said retired New Jersey State Police officer Nick Bucci. “As a prosecutor for more than 16 years, I have seen what the war on marijuana looks like up close: wasted resources and wasted potential,” said JH Barr, municipal prosecutor of Clark, and former president and current secretary of the New Jersey State Municipal Prosecutors Association. “Every time someone in my town court gets arrested and taken into custody for marijuana possession, I see a lost opportunity to confront real public safety threats because law enforcement is occupied with punishing people needlessly.” A marijuana possession arrest “can leave a lifelong impact,” according to a NJUMR press release, “foreclosing opportunities for student loans, barring people from public housing, and even affecting custody of children.”

Scutari’s proposal is one of multiple such pieces of “legalization bills” recently floated to the New Jersey Legislature. With Chris Christie’s departure certain, legalization efforts have increasingly become bi-partisan. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris, Somerset) recently sponsored a bill that would “provide for records expungement” for certain past marijuana offenses and make it possible for New Jersey retailers to sell cannabis products similar to tobacco products, including at local convenience stores.

The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey “is not a matter of ‘if’ but rather a matter of ‘when,’” said Dianna Houenou, ACLU-NJ policy counsel. “It won’t be long after the inauguration of the new governor before we see the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey.” With the passage of such legislation and the proper legal guidance, people across New Jersey who are living with the burden and stigma of a drug conviction on their record will be able to permanently remove it and move on with their lives, once and for all.

New Jersey Bail Reform

On January 1, 2017, New Jersey’s criminal justice system began implementing one of its most significant changes in years. We transitioned from a system that relied predominantly on monetary bail to one that gives a much greater focus to a two-part test: 1. Will the defendant show up for trial if they are released? 2. Is the defendant likely to commit another crime while awaiting trial? Under the new risk-based system, those who present a substantial risk of danger or flight will be detained pending trial. Those who don’t present these risks will be released on judicially imposed conditions.

Criminal justice reform is a heavily debated topic. A virtually endless array of factors is considered to measure the rights of the accused against the safety and security of our communities. Yet, still, this system is not perfect, as evidenced recently in several highly-publicized instances. It is, however, a good start. The old bail system was particularly inequitable to poor defendants who were unable to post bail, even after being charged with relatively minor offenses. As a result, these defendants often lost their jobs, along with their access to medication and mental healthcare treatment, all while being cut off from their family, for months and even years, without a trial. This has put a great deal of pressure on the defendant to plead guilty, even when they are innocent, because the amount of time they would spend in jail awaiting trial would actually be longer than the potential sentence with a guilty plea. This is patently unjust.

Domestic Violence in New Jersey

Allegations of domestic violence in New Jersey are governed primarily by The Prevention of Domestiv Violence Act of 1991, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17. The Act allows criminal, family and municipal courts wide discretion to impose certain relief and restrictions including the following:

Possible Reliefs for Victim:

• Granting exclusive possession of residence.
• Granting temporary custody of children.
• Emergent support to victim, dependent(s).
• Ongoing support to victim, dependent(s) (Final Restraining Order only).
• Punitive damages (Final Restraining Order only).
• Punitive damages to third parties (Final Restraining Order only).
• Medical coverage to victim, dependent(s).
• Rent or mortgage payments.
• Placing limitation on visitation and assessing risk to children posed by the defendant.
• Compensatory damage.
• Law enforcement accompaniment by either party to shared residence to supervise removal of personal belongings.

Prohibitions against Defendant:

• Prohibition from returning to scene of violence.
• Prohibition from future acts of domestic violence.
• Prohibition from locations where victim (and others) are employed or reside.
• Prohibition from any oral, written, personal or other form of contact with victim and others.
• Prohibition from making or causing anyone else to make harassing communications to victim and others.
• Prohibition from stalking, following or threatening to harm, to stalk or to follow victim and others.
• Payment of emergent monetary relief to victim and dependents.
• Defendant may be made subject to intake monitoring of conditions and restraints.
• Defendant may be ordered to psychiatric or other evaluations or treatment.
• Prohibition against possession of weapons including application to purchase firearm, permit to carry firearm and firearm purchaser identification card.

Ultimately, an allegation of domestic violence can result in the filing of criminal charges, the filing of a petition for a domestic violence restraining order, or both. A conviction for a domestic violence offense can carry severe consequences, including time in prison, and the issuance of a restraining order which can result in limits on your freedom of movement and rights as a parent and property owner. Therefore, if you are accused of domestic violence, you should speak with an attorney right away. An experienced attorney will provide valuable guidance throughout the pendency of your case while protecting your fundamental rights.

CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF ROBERT F. BLACK, JR., TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Knowing Your Miranda Rights and When They Apply

Knowing Your Miranda Rights and When They Apply

By: Devon Jones

What are my Miranda Rights?

• The Fifth Amendment protects a person against being compelled to testify against themselves in a criminal case. The U.S. Supreme Court relied on this, along with the Sixth Amendment’s right to an attorney, in its landmark Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, decision. As a result, the following warnings and accompanying rights were set forth:

1. You have the right to remain silent;
2. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law;
3. You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during the interrogation;
4. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you;
5. You can invoke your right to be silent before or during an interrogation, and if you do so, the interrogation must stop.

When do Miranda Rights apply?

• Before a police officer is required to read or issue Miranda rights, a suspect must first be in police custody or under interrogation. It’s important to understand these requirements when interacting with police because if you aren’t formally in police custody, and you aren’t being interrogated, the police are not required to read you a Miranda warning. As a result, the police can use anything you say against you as evidence of wrongdoing.

What if the police fail to advise me of my Miranda Rights?

• When police officers question a suspect in custody without first issuing the Miranda warning, any statement or confession made is presumed to be involuntary and cannot be used against the suspect in any criminal case brought before the court. In addition, a skilled attorney will work to have any evidence discovered as a result of that statement or confession suppressed, meaning it will be inadmissible at any subsequent trial.

What should I do if the police attempt to interrogate me?

• Remain calm and always be polite. Do not argue with the police officers and never, ever resist. Provide them with your name and identification but nothing more. Unambiguously exercise your right to remain silent. Simply let the officers know will not be answering any of their questions without your lawyer present.

CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF ROBERT F. BLACK, JR., TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Robert F. Black, Jr.

CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF ROBERT F. BLACK, JR. N.J. Criminal Defense Attorney, Monmouth County Lawyer

New Jersey Prison Requirements

N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6. Sentence of imprisonment for crime; ordinary terms; mandatory terms
a. Except as otherwise provided, a person who has been convicted of a crime may be sentenced to imprisonment, as follows:

(1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;

(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;

(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;

(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.

b. As part of a sentence for any crime, where the court is clearly convinced that the aggravating factors substantially outweigh the mitigating factors, as set forth in subsections a. and b. of 2C:44-1, or the court finds that the aggravating factor set forth in paragraph (5) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 applies, the court may fix a minimum term not to exceed one-half of the term set pursuant to subsection a., or one-half of the term set pursuant to a maximum period of incarceration for a crime set forth in any statute other than this code, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole; provided that no defendant shall be eligible for parole at a date earlier than otherwise provided by the law governing parole.

c. A person who has been convicted under subsection b. or d. of N.J.S.2C:39-3, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-4, subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.1998, c. 26 (C.2C:39-4.1), subsection a., b., c., or f. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, subsection a. or paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection b. of section 6 of P.L.1979, c. 179 (C.2C:39-7), or subsection a., b., e. or g. of N.J.S.2C:39-9, or of a crime under any of the following sections: 2C:11-3, 2C:11-4, 2C:12-1b., 2C:13-1, 2C:14-2a., 2C:14-3a., 2C:15-1, 2C:18-2, 2C:29-5, who, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, used or was in possession of a firearm as defined in 2C:39-1f., shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or 42 months, whichever is greater, or 18 months in the case of a fourth degree crime, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

The minimum terms established by this section shall not prevent the court from imposing presumptive terms of imprisonment pursuant to 2C:44-1f. (1) except in cases of crimes of the fourth degree.
A person who has been convicted of an offense enumerated by this subsection and who used or possessed a firearm during its commission, attempted commission or flight therefrom and who has been previously convicted of an offense involving the use or possession of a firearm as defined in 2C:44-3d., shall be sentenced by the court to an extended term as authorized by 2C:43-7c., notwithstanding that extended terms are ordinarily discretionary with the court.

d. (1) The court shall not impose a mandatory sentence pursuant to subsection c. of this section, 2C:43-7c. or 2C:44-3d., unless the ground therefor has been established at a hearing. At the hearing, which may occur at the time of sentencing, the prosecutor shall establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the weapon used or possessed was a firearm. In making its finding, the court shall take judicial notice of any evidence, testimony or information adduced at the trial, plea hearing, or other court proceedings and shall also consider the presentence report and any other relevant information.
(2) The court shall not impose a mandatory sentence pursuant to subsection c. of this section for a violation of paragraph (2) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:39-5; a violation of paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S. 2C:39-5, if that rifle or shotgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person; or a violation of paragraph (1) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:39-5.

e. A person convicted of a third or subsequent offense involving State taxes under N.J.S.2C:20-9, N.J.S.2C:21-15, any other provision of this code, or under any of the provisions of Title 54 of the Revised Statutes, or Title 54A of the New Jersey Statutes, as amended and supplemented, shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. This shall not preclude an application for and imposition of an extended term of imprisonment under N.J.S.2C:44-3 if the provisions of that section are applicable to the offender.

f. A person convicted of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute any dangerous substance or controlled substance analog under N.J.S.2C:35-5, of maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility under N.J.S.2C:35-4, of employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme under N.J.S.2C:35-6, leader of a narcotics trafficking network under N.J.S.2C:35-3, or of distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute on or near school property or buses under section 1 of P.L.1987, c. 101 (C.2C:35-7), who has been previously convicted of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog, shall upon application of the prosecuting attorney be sentenced by the court to an extended term as authorized by subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:43-7, notwithstanding that extended terms are ordinarily discretionary with the court. The term of imprisonment shall, except as may be provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12, include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or three years, whichever is greater, not less than seven years if the person is convicted of a violation of N.J.S.2C:35-6, or 18 months in the case of a fourth degree crime, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
The court shall not impose an extended term pursuant to this subsection unless the ground therefor has been established at a hearing. At the hearing, which may occur at the time of sentencing, the prosecutor shall establish the ground therefor by a preponderance of the evidence. In making its finding, the court shall take judicial notice of any evidence, testimony or information adduced at the trial, plea hearing, or other court proceedings and shall also consider the presentence report and any other relevant information.
For the purpose of this subsection, a previous conviction exists where the actor has at any time been convicted under chapter 35 of this title or Title 24 of the Revised Statutes or under any similar statute of the United States, this State, or any other state for an offense that is substantially equivalent to N.J.S.2C:35-3, N.J.S.2C:35-4, N.J.S.2C:35-5, N.J.S.2C:35-6 or section 1 of P.L.1987, c. 101 (C.2C:35-7).

g. Any person who has been convicted under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-4 or of a crime under any of the following sections: N.J.S.2C:11-3, N.J.S.2C:11-4, N.J.S.2C:12-1b., N.J.S.2C:13-1, N.J.S.2C:14-2a., N.J.S.2C:14-3a., N.J.S.2C:15-1, N.J.S.2C:18-2, N.J.S.2C:29-5, N.J.S.2C:35-5 who, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, used or was in possession of a machine gun or assault firearm shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at 10 years for a crime of the first or second degree, five years for a crime of the third degree, or 18 months in the case of a fourth degree crime, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
The minimum terms established by this section shall not prevent the court from imposing presumptive terms of imprisonment pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 for crimes of the first degree.
A person who has been convicted of an offense enumerated in this subsection and who used or possessed a machine gun or assault firearm during its commission, attempted commission or flight therefrom and who has been previously convicted of an offense involving the use or possession of any firearm as defined in subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:44-3, shall be sentenced by the court to an extended term as authorized by subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:43-7, notwithstanding that extended terms are ordinarily discretionary with the court.

h. The court shall not impose a mandatory sentence pursuant to subsection g. of this section, subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:43-7 or N.J.S.2C:44-3, unless the ground therefor has been established at a hearing. At the hearing, which may occur at the time of sentencing, the prosecutor shall establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the weapon used or possessed was a machine gun or assault firearm. In making its finding, the court shall take judicial notice of any evidence, testimony or information adduced at the trial, plea hearing, or other court proceedings and shall also consider the presentence report and any other relevant information.

i. A person who has been convicted under paragraph (6) of subsection b. of 2C:12-1 of causing bodily injury while eluding shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at, or between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed by the court. The minimum term established by this subsection shall not prevent the court from imposing a presumptive term of imprisonment pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection f. of 2C:44-1.

 

Robert F. Black, Jr. Named “10 Best” in New Jersey

0004 (2)Attorney Black Named “10 Best” In New Jersey

The American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys™ has recognized the exceptional performance of Robert F. Black, Jr. as one of the “10 Best” DWI Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in New Jersey for 2015.

Mr. Black proudly accepts this honor as it exemplifies his ongoing commitment to skillfully advocate on behalf of each and every one of his clients.

Click below for a copy of AIDUIA’s full press release.

Black_Press Release_DUI

A Brief Overview of the Revised Expungement Procedures in New Jersey

Quick Tips: New Expungement Changes in New Jersey

By: Devon Jones

Tip #1. How long is the waiting period for indictable offenses?

Prior to the expungement changes in New Jersey, an individual with a prior indictable (i.e. felony) conviction had to wait ten years before becoming qualified for an expungement. Under the new law, the ten year waiting period may be reduced to five years if (1) the petitioner has paid his or her fines; (2) the petitioner has not subsequently been convicted of a crime or disorderly persons offense; (3) the Court finds that granting the expungement is in the public interest. In investigating the third factor, the Court will consider the nature of the offense and the applicant’s character and conduct post-conviction.

Tip #2. Can a petitioner be disqualified from having an indictable conviction expunged if fines are not paid?

Previously, a petitioner was banded from having an indictable conviction expunged if court-imposed fines had not been paid. Fortunately, if ten years or more have passed since an indictable conviction and fines have not been paid, a petitioner can still have his record expunged if (1) the Court finds that the petitioner noticeably complied with a court ordered payment plan; or (2) the petitioner could not pay his or her fines because of “compelling circumstances.” In determining whether “compelling circumstances” exist, the Court will consider the petitioner’s age, the amount of the fine, and other relevant circumstances.

Tip #3. How long is the waiting period for juvenile ex-offenders?

Previously, a juvenile needed to wait five years from the time their sentence that was issued by the judge was finished in order to have their juvenile record removed. Under the new law, the waiting period begins from the time the juvenile was adjudicated, rather than when the sentence was completed. Ultimately, this new law has the best interest of the juvenile in mind.

Tip #4. Is it true that third and fourth degree drug possession and drug distribution offenses may be expunged?

Under the old expungement statute, third and fourth degree drug possession or drug distribution charges could only be expunged in matters where the illegal substance was marijuana or hashish. Now, a conviction for third or fourth degree possession or distribution of any controlled dangerous substance can be removed if the court finds an expungement is consistent with the public interest. Similar to other indictable offenses, the Court will consider the nature of the offense and the applicant’s character and conduct since the conviction.

Tip #5. Are any new crimes barred from expungement?

The new statute bars the following crimes from being expunged: (1) causing/permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act; (2) selling/manufacturing child pornography; (3) knowingly promoting the prostitution of the actor’s child; (4) terrorism; and (5) possessing or producing chemical, biological, nuclear, radioactive weapons.

 

CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF ROBERT F. BLACK, JR., TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Attorney Black Named “Top 40 Under 40” for Second Straight Year

0004 (2)For the second straight year, Robert F. Black, Jr. has been named to The National Trial Lawyers “Top 40 under 40”. The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is a professional organization composed of the top trial lawyers from each state who are younger than the age of 40.

Membership into The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is by invitation only and is extended exclusively to those trial lawyers practicing civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law. Invitees must exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer under the age of 40. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

Mr. Black has proudly accepted this honor and is committed to continue to vigorously represent his client’s interests.

Probation and Your Responsibilities

Quick Tips: Probation and Your Responsibilities

By: Devon Jones

Tip #1: What is probation and its intended purpose?
Probation, unlike parole is often granted by a judge and can be negotiated by an experienced attorney. Probation is generally granted for individuals with a minimal criminal background and those who commit less-severe crimes. While on probation the defendant is bound to a specific set of rules and regulations outlined by the judge that they are required to follow if they want to avoid violating the terms of their probation and get sentenced to serve time in jail/prison. The ultimate goal of probation is to reintegrate the defendant into society as law-abiding citizens.

Tip #2: What are some of the common conditions that can be attached to an individual’s probation order?
•Curfews, not being able to leave a home after a certain time at night
•Random urinalysis for drug testing or alcohol screening
•Regular meetings with probation officer
•No criminal activity or criminal association while on probation
•Drug/alcohol treatment
•Electronic monitoring
•Payment of fines and court costs
•Community service

Tip #3: How does an individual avoid violating probation?
The first and maybe the most important step in successfully completing your probation is cooperating with your probation officer as they are the ones involved with reporting on your progress and how thoroughly you follow the terms of your probation. It would be to your benefit to fully understand the rules and regulations required by your probation sentence and make the best effort to abide by them. In the state of New Jersey a copy of these rules and regulations is provided for the defendant to ensure that they are made aware of requirements that they must meet as a part of their probation sentence. The defendant is also required to sign a joint statement with their probation officer ensuring that he or she knows of the requirements of their probation and stating the officer’s observance of the probation and its requirements.

Tip #4: What are some of your responsibilities while on probation?
In New Jersey, 2C:45-1 outlines the conditions of probation. According to the New Jersey Statute, as part of a probation sentence defendants may be subjected to a variety of different rules that if broken will result in probation violation and mandatory time served in jail/prison. Some of the requirement include but are not limited to, the defendant being required to support his/her dependents/family, find employment, go to medical or psychiatric treatment and stay in such facilities if required and maintain a course of education or vocational training. In addition, most defendants must remain within the jurisdiction of the court and notify their probation officer of any changes in address or employment.
Tip #5: What if I am charged with a probation violation?
Defendants who are on probation have often found themselves facing charges for violating the terms of their probation. Violations might include the use and or possession of drugs, alcohol and other related substances or a failed drug or alcohol test. An attorney experienced in probation violations can help you make the right decisions when it comes to making a plea or avoiding some of the harsher penalties that you might incur. Ultimately, having an attorney on your side for legal representation can help you to successfully reduce the some of the strict punishments that can affect your rights and freedoms.

CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF ROBERT F. BLACK, JR., TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Source: O’Davis, James. “What Will Happen If I Violate My Probation.” N.p 12, Aug 2015 Web. 31, Aug 2012.

Quick Tips: Investigated for Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana

Post Authored by Devon Jones

Quick Tips: Investigated for Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana

Tip #1: What is considered a simple possession of Marijuana?

In New Jersey, simple possession of marijuana is defined by the amount of grams. 50 grams or less is considered a disorderly persons offense, which is minor in comparison to the indictable crime of possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana. According to the New Jersey Statute, possession of 50 grams of marijuana or less carries maximum penalties of up to 6 months in a correctional facility and $1,000 in fines, but as outlined in a previous blog post, first time offenders are eligible for a conditional discharge.

Tip #2: Does possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana help me avoid being arrested?

The answer is no. Even if an individual does not have marijuana, but is in possession of drug paraphernalia they can be charged with a disorderly persons offense.

Tip #3: What are common factors in which charges of possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana have resulted?

Below is the list of New Jersey’s examples of less than 50 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia:
• Joint or roach in an ashtray and/or in plain view anywhere in a motor vehicle
• Small plastic baggy containing remnants of marijuana
• Marijuana seeds
• Rolling papers, bongs, pipes, chillums, one-hitters, scales and jars.
Ultimately, the item does not need to be used to smoke marijuana to constitute paraphernalia, it can be used to transport marijuana as well.

Tip #4: What charges may I face if I have possession of drugs in a motor vehicle?

Hypothetically speaking, If a driver is pulled over and rightfully searched for drugs and found with a dime bag of marijuana and rolling papers, the driver will charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and possession of drugs in a car which would be three separate charges.

Tip #5: What can I expect if I am found with more than 50 grams of marijuana?

If you are found with more than 50 grams of marijuana, it is noted that the charges increase and so do the penalties. According to the New Jersey Criminal Code, 50 grams of marijuana or more becomes a 4th degree crime, which is more serious than a disorderly persons offense. One should know that a 4th degree crime is indictable and must be brought to criminal court to be tried. If convicted, one may face up to 18 months in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.