As a New Jersey resident, have you been issued a summons for possession of marijuana, or weed, in a motor vehicle? Or worse, been charged with drug DUI, or DWI, involving marijuana? With the likely increase in the legal use of medical marijuana in New Jersey and other states, it is conceivable that use of this drug may become more prevalent. Meanwhile, there is obviously a steady illegal trade in marijuana ongoing now throughout the Garden State. As a drug, the use of marijuana can affect a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.
If marijuana is found in your car, the police will usually issue a summons for possession in a motor vehicle. As experienced DWI and marijuana DUI defense attorneys, we at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are fully prepared to defend you or a loved one in court. We know drunk driving and DUI law inside and out, which is why you can turn to us when faced with a driving under the influence or possession charge.
Under New Jersey law, persons are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while knowingly in possession of marijuana. You should know that this law (N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1) is directed at the driver of a vehicle and does not apply to the other occupants. In order to prove a violation, the state must establish several facts:
— Operation of a motor vehicle by the accused
— Presence of marijuana on the person of the operator or in the vehicle
— Knowledge by the driver that he or she was in possession of the marijuana
Considering this, a driver has a good argument against conviction under the statute if he is not within wingspan of physically controlling the marijuana. An example of this is where the marijuana is on the person of a passenger.
How bad can a conviction be? If you are found guilty of possession of marijuana, as the operator of a vehicle, the most significant penalty is a mandatory two-year suspension of your driver’s license. Unlike a drunk driving-related license suspension, the suspension for possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle means a complete and total exclusion from driving. Period. There are no special provisions under the law for a work license or a conditional driver’s license. This is nothing short of an absolute suspension, which can seriously affect your life and your livelihood. Furthermore, there are fines, assessments and motor vehicle surcharges also attached to a conviction involving marijuana possession in a motor vehicle.
For these reasons, if you have been charged with violating N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1, it is simply unwise to plead guilty to this offense. It is important to know that our attorneys have a very high success rate in helping clients avoid a conviction for this offense. Every lawyer at our firm has many years experience of defending drug charges and traffic offenses, including tickets for possessing marijuana in a car. We are available to assist you 24/7 at 1-877-450-8301. Call us for a free initial consultation today.