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Illegal Use or Being Under The Influence of CDS

Linden NJ Under the Influence of CDS Attorney

The New Jersey Criminal Code makes it a violation to use or be under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”) without it being lawfully prescribed. Although a conviction to this offense is a disorderly persons offense as opposed to a felony, it nevertheless results in a record and potential penalties that are significant. If you have been charged with using heroin, marijuana, cocaine or another drug illegally, it is in your best interests to seek the assistance of an attorney in order to avoid the negative consequences of the law. Here at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our defense team includes seasoned defense lawyers, several of whom are former prosecutors, who have the know how to avert a finding of guilt for using or being under the influence of drugs/cds. Whether you were arrested in Linden, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Springfield, Mountainside or another town in Union County, we are completely familiar with the court system and what is involved in defending your case. For an immediate free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact our office in Union NJ now at 908-272-1700.

New Jersey Law: Illegal Use Or Being Under The Influence Of Drugs

The charge we are referring to in this section is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b). This law provides that:

b. Any person who uses or who is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, for a purpose other than the treatment of sickness or injury as lawfully prescribed or administered by a physician is a disorderly person.

Under 2C:35-10(b), there is no requirement that the prosecutor establish the specific form of CDS/drugs involved but simply that the accused was “under the influence”.  To fulfill this requirement, the state must demonstrate that defendant exhibited physical or psychological symptoms caused by ingestion by drugs. Examples of symptoms include track marks, residue, watery eyes, grogginess, inability to walk or talk, etc. The penalties for violating 2C:35-10(b) include up to six (6) months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and other court assessments. There is also a mandatory suspension of driving privileges for anyone from guilty of this charge. The license suspension is for a period of at least six (6) months and but to twenty-four (24) months.

Plea Bargaining An Illegal Use Case

In accordance with Court Rule 7:6-2, certain types of offenses cannot be reduced or dismissed unless the prosecutor stipulates on the record in open court that the possibility of a conviction is so remote that the interest of justice require that the charge be dismissed. Illegal use/being under the influence of CDS falls within this category. Accordingly, the prosecutor cannot dismiss this violation except where a bona fide legal issue raises reasonable doubt concerning guilt. There is also the possibility of avoiding prosecution through conditional discharge.

Affirmative Defense Of Authorized Use

The term “illegal” as contemplated in this law presumes that the use of the drug in question was unauthorized. If a defendant possesses a legally issued prescription for the CDS then his/her use is no longer illegal. Authorized use is therefore an affirmative defense to this charge.

Union NJ Under the Influence of Drugs Lawyer

While a charge of being under the influence of drugs is less serious than, for example, a third degree possession of CDS charge, it still represents a misdemeanor conviction that will result in a record. In addition, you stand a realistic chance of losing your license for 6-24 months by law. If you would like to take advantage of every opportunity to avoid these consequences, you should hire an experienced defense lawyer like those at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge in the defense of use and under the influence cases throughout Union County, including in Roselle, Union, Westfield, Cranford and New Providence. An attorney is available immediately at 908-272-1700 to assist you.