Drug Offenses

There are very strict penalties for controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in New Jersey. Being convicted of a drug-related crime can result in a criminal record, jail time, loss of driver's license (even when no vehicle was involved), and fines. Such crimes include possession of CDS (drugs), paraphernalia, distribution, or being under the influence of CDS, such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, or any legal medications where no valid prescriptions have been issued.

Retaining an Attorney for Drug Offense Representation

Our first step is to enter a Not Guilty Plea in writing.  We’ll request all available discovery (evidence that the State may have against you) and request a postponement of your Court date until the evidence is received and reviewed. The State must provide all evidence that will be introduced at the trial, if a timely request is made.  The State is obligated to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to receive a guilty verdict. A Judge will not allow the State to Prosecute you unless all relevant evidence is provided to your attorney for review and evaluation.

Defense for Drug Offense Charges

Based on the evidence they have, we’ll determine if we think the State can prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We’ll investigate all claims to ensure there was sufficient reason (probable cause) for the police to stop you or search you or your property in the first place. We’ll review all available information to make sure that your Constitutional rights were not violated throughout the arrest process and that the police followed proper procedure through every step of the process.  If your 4th Amendment right to avoid an unreasonable search and seizure was violated, or your Miranda rights were not properly adhered to, we’ll most likely move to file a suppression motion with the Court requesting the Judge to exclude evidence found against you.  If successful, the State often will not be able to proceed against you on these charges.  Even failing a suppression ruling, we may be able to overcome reasonable doubt on the basis of a failure to follow proper procedures and respect the protection afforded to you by the Constitution.

We’ll request a certified laboratory report and/or toxicology from the State of New Jersey.  We’re looking for a report on the drug testing analysis, that it was performed in a State Lab and what substances were tested for and what were found.  There are times when lab reports cannot be supplied due to small quantities, chain of custody issues, or other reason.  If the State cannot supply a lab report in a timely manner, or if the report comes back negative, we will request a dismissal of all charges.


In cases where you were charged alongside another individual or a group of people, we recommend that each case is carefully viewed separately.   Depending on where any drugs were found, and what statements have been given to the police, there are defenses that can be raised that would allow some people charged to have their cases dismissed, while others charged at the same time and place are found guilty.

Convictions and Pleas

In cases where we find the State acted properly and there is enough evidence to convict, you are still entitled to review all evidence, and make sure that the State can prove their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Your rights entitle you to review all this information – the Prosecutor and the Judge will accept a reasonable delay to ensure that we have reviewed everything.  Once we’ve reviewed all the evidence and we haven’t found any leverage in severance, 4th amendment or Miranda rights, then we should begin to negotiate a plea bargain.

Plea Bargain
The goal in a plea bargain deal is to find a way to minimize potentially life-altering consequences.  The Prosecutor has a lot of experience in making these deals, and denying them.  We have a lot of experience in offering deals, based on admissible evidence, that will be accepted.  This is not an opportunity to enter into a haggling session by offering an unrealistic deal.  Upsetting or annoying the Prosecutor may easily end up with losing all opportunity for a Plea Bargain.

The State is under no obligation to enter into a Plea deal, and may request a Judge to impose a maximum sentence upon conviction. Possible sentences for all drug charges can include jail time, loss of driving licenses, criminal records, fines, probation and/or community service.

With proper representation, first time offenders can often have their case dismissed on the condition of drug testing and avoiding further arrests for a certain length of time. If this is not your first offense, we would look to avoid jail time, seek downgrades, dismissals of secondary charges, reduce fines, and if appropriate, present a hardship application to save your driver’s license.  If they feel they have enough evidence for a conviction, the State will want to pursue the case, but they will be open to discuss reasonable penalties.