Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia In New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, you can be arrested and charged with a drug offense, even if you have no controlled substances in your possession. New Jersey renders it unlawful for you to use, or even possess, certain items if those items are used to:
“plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog or toxic chemical…”
In practice, this law can be used to criminalize the possession of ordinary items — scales, baggies, or spoons — as well as items typically used primarily to facilitate drug use, such as rolling papers, bongs, certain types of pipes, and syringes.
New Jersey Indictable Offenses Attorney
In all of New Jersey, possession of drug paraphernalia is a disorderly person’s offense, the equivalent of a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions. You can face:
- Incarceration for A period of up to six months
- Lose your driver’s license for as long as 2 years
- Substantial fines and financial penalties of up to approximately $1700
If you are also charged with possession, distribution, or other drug offenses, possession of drug paraphernalia can enhance your sentence. Under New Jersey law, a prosecutor may not plea bargain a drug paraphernalia charge.
Under the right circumstances, you may qualify for entry into the Conditional Discharge program for the drug paraphernalia charge. The requirements of the Conditional Discharge are that you be placed either on formal (reporting) or informal (non-reporting) probation for between six months and one year, remain drug-free and submit to drug screens, and pay approximately $850 in fees and costs.
To be eligible, you must not have any prior drug conviction anywhere in the United States, and you must have no prior conditional discharges or participation in any other pretrial diversionary programs, such as a Conditional Dismissal or Pretrial Intervention. You do not have to plead guilty to the charge in order to be accepted into the program.
If you successfully complete the Conditional Discharge, the charge against you will be dismissed. Six months after the dismissal, you can apply for an expungement of the charge, arrest record, and police report from your criminal history so that they can’t be seen.