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Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle

Springfield NJ Drug Offense Defense Lawyers

Whether the illegal drug found in your car was marijuana, cocaine, heroin or some other form of controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”), police have the ability to file both a criminal possession charge and a motor vehicle violation under N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1. While the latter is a traffic ticket/summons, it carries extremely potent penalties if you are found guilty, including a mandatory two (2) year license suspension. Thankfully, our former prosecutors and highly seasoned defense lawyers are successfully in the majority of possession of CDS in a motor vehicle cases in avoiding a conviction and the associated revocation of driving privileges. These results are achieved for a number of reasons, including the fact that our attorneys have been handling offenses of this nature for over 100 years between us. To speak to an attorney about a drug possession charge in Springfield, Hillside, Westfield, Elizabeth, Roselle Park or another municipality in Union County, call 908-272-1700. A lawyer is available for free consultation 24/7.

Understanding The Possession in a Motor Vehicle Law

The first thing you should know is that N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 is a motor vehicle violation and applies to all varieties of drugs, not just possession of marijuana. The criminal charge, which is almost always issued as a companion to this traffic violation, is possession under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. In terms of N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1, the exact language of the statute is as follows:

N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1. Operating motor vehicle with controlled dangerous substance or prescription legend drug in possession or in motor vehicle

No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any highway while knowingly having in his possession or in the motor vehicle any controlled dangerous substance as classified in Schedules I, II, III, IV and V of the “New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act,” P.L.1970, c. 226 (C. 24:21-1 et seq.) or any prescription legend drug, unless the person has obtained the substance or drug from, or on a valid written prescription of, a duly licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other medical practitioner licensed to write prescriptions intended for the treatment or prevention of disease in man or animals or unless the person possesses a controlled dangerous substance pursuant to a lawful order of a practitioner or lawfully possesses a Schedule V substance.

A person who violates this section shall be fined not less than $50.00 and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle for a period of two years from the date of his conviction.

If you read this statute closely, you may have picked up on the fact that there are essentially five (5) elements that must proven in order to convict someone for violating this law. The prosecutor must prove that the accused: (1) was the operator of a motor vehicle; (2) on a highway; (3) knowingly possessed; (4) controlled dangerous substance (i.e. drug) illegally; and (5) the drugs were on the person of the accused or within the vehicle being operated. In addition to these elements, you probably also took significant note of the suspension period that results from a conviction; the mandatory license revocation is far worse than that which applies to first offense for dwi. This should signal to you that this charge isn’t anything to play around with and requires representation from an experienced attorney like those at our firm.

Penalties for Possession of Drugs in a Motor Vehicle

There is a fine, court assessments, as well as a drivers license suspension, that must be imposed in the event of conviction under 39:4-49.1.  As previously stated, the revocation of driving privileges is for a period of two (2) years. This is an absolute revocation as NJ has no provision for conditional or work licenses when someone is suspended pursuant to this law. The fine is discretionary on the part of the court but, in no case, can it be less than $50.

Roselle NJ Marijuana Possession Attorney

As you probably have noted, a conviction for violating N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 carries exceptionally stiff consequences. But you do not have to suffer through such an outcome as our law firm is successful in avoiding conviction to this charge in the majority of cases. So if you are facing a possession of cds in a motor vehicle charge in Roselle, Clark, Cranford, Rahway, Union or another town in Union County, chances are very good that our attorneys can really help you. Contact our Union NJ Office 24/7 for a free consultation at 908-272-1700.