Drug crimes: the court does not take them lightly in the state of New Jersey. Possession of certain drugs can have serious consequences if police catch you, charges are ultimately filed against you and a conviction is achieved by prosecuting attorneys.
In order to achieve conviction in a possession case, prosecuting attorneys have to prove to the court that certain elements exist in your case. What are these elements?
Elements to prove
In a drug possession case, there are only two elements that have to exist for prosecuting attorneys to obtain a conviction. These elements are:
- The accused had knowledge of drug possession
- The accused had knowledge that the drug was illegal
Now, any person found in close proximity of an illegal substance may face a possession charge. For example, say you were with a friend in his car and he had an illegal substance in the glove box that you did not know about. During a routine traffic stop, police discovered the drugs and you both were arrested and charged with possession. You may be able to seek a case dismissal because you were not aware the drugs were there and did not know what they were.
2 types of possession
When it comes to possession charges, there are two basic types: simple and intent to distribute. The filing of a simple possession charge may come if an officer finds a person with or near a small amount of a drug -- just enough for personal use. An intent-to-distribute charge would likely follow an arrest where police find a large amount of a drug -- enough to sell to others. The latter is the more serious crime.
Is jail the answer?
While the state may not take drug possession lightly, this does not mean that lawmakers believe jail time is the answer in every case. You may be able to avoid serious consequences by having your case moved to a drug diversion program -- a court-run rehabilitation program. Your attorney can provide the details on this if it is something for which you may qualify.
Fighting a possession charge may seem like an impossible task, but it may not be. Every case is different. With legal assistance, you can take the steps necessary to protect yourself and fight the charge as you seek the best outcome possible.