The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from illegal searches and seizures. This is why probable cause must be established before a police officer can conduct a warrantless search.
Probable cause is a standard that is established when a reasonable person would believe, based on objective facts, that a crime has been committed or is in the process of being committed. For instance, if a driver is swerving into adjacent lanes or driving on the wrong side of the road, an officer would have probable cause to believe that the driver was intoxicated and could, therefore, stop that vehicle.
Since medical marijuana became legal in 2010, there has been a lot of debate about whether the smell of marijuana on a person gives an officer probable cause to conduct a warrantless search. After all, courts in New Jersey require objective facts to be shown that prove the officer did in fact have probable cause to conduct a warrantless search.
Although the smell of marijuana is highly subjective evidence that a person is illegally in possession of the substance, a New Jersey appellate court ruled in 2015 that the smell of marijuana is still sufficient grounds for a warrantless search.
If you were charged with a drug crime in New Jersey, it is critical that you take immediate steps to fight your charges. It goes without saying that the penalties of a conviction can have far-reaching effects, but depending on the facts of your arrest, there may be a defense that leads to a reduced sentence, reduced charges, or the dismissal of your case.
As your Elizabeth criminal defense attorney, I will investigate your arrest to find any procedural errors made by police that could work in your favor. I will tirelessly fight for the best possible outcome for your case. Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a consultation at the Law Office of Eric M. Mark.
What Are the Penalties for Illegal Possession of Marijuana in New Jersey?
Although medical marijuana is legal in New Jersey, you could still face stiff penalties if you are arrested for illegally possessing the substance. The specific penalties you face will depend on the amount of marijuana found in your possession.
If you were found in possession of 50 grams or less, you will be charged with a disorderly person’s offense. The maximum jail time for a conviction would be six months, and the maximum fine would be $1,000. If you were found in possession of more than 50 grams, the maximum jail sentence increases to 18 months, and the maximum fine hikes to $25,000.
You will face an additional fee and 100 hours of community service if you were found in possession of any amount of marijuana on a school property, or within 1,000 feet of a school property or a school bus, if you are not sentenced to imprisonment.
If you are facing charges for a drug crime in New Jersey, contact my office to discuss your defense options. Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a free initial consultation with a drug lawyer in Elizabeth.