Similar in nature to the typical drunken driving arrest, being charged with marijuana-related drug DUI or possession of weed in one’s vehicle can begin in much the same manner as a DWI traffic stop. Here in the Garden State, a state police trooper or local municipal patrolman cannot stop a vehicle simply on a hunch that the driver is drunk or otherwise impaired due to alcohol or other substances, such as cocaine or cannabis.
As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense attorneys, my firm is experienced in representing motorists who have been arrested or charged with driving under the influence of beer, wine, hard liquor, prescription medication, or illicit drugs. These arrests, as they pertain to traffic enforcement, usually begin with the officer observing some kind of motor vehicle infraction or other kind of traffic offense.
It doesn’t take much to get pulled over these days; a broken or burned-out headlamp, taillight can garner the same attention as making an improper turn or rolling through a stop sign. Whatever the initial traffic offense, once the patrolman has stopped a motorist, any evidence of alcohol consumption, drug use or drug possession can trigger an arrest.
Of course, marijuana is one of the most commonly encountered drugs in traffic enforcement here in New Jersey. In our experience, arrests related to marijuana use or possession are relatively commonplace, which is hardly surprising given that some estimates place marijuana production and sales at $30 billion or more annually.
As a former municipal prosecutor who once worked for the state convicting motorists and other individuals of DWI and DUI offenses, I have seen hundreds of these kinds of cases over the years. People accused of drug DUI routinely appear before municipal and county court judges to fight cannabis-related charges.
Depending on the nature of the charges — possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, a school-zone offense, etc. — it’s always a wise idea to consult a qualified legal expert to better understand one’s situation going forward.
When it comes to marijuana-related offenses, the variety of charges can range widely. As marijuana defense attorneys, we understand the law as it applies to this illegal drug, also known as a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).
Elements in many of the marijuana cases we handle include the following: Possession and paraphernalia; manufacturing, sale and/or distribution; school zone offenses; charges pertaining to marijuana use, possession or sale in a public park or public housing; operation of a grow house or other marijuana processing facility; possession of weed in a car, truck or other vehicle; and numerous others.
When it comes to marijuana charges as a result of traffic enforcement, we understand that every marijuana-related case is “fact-sensitive” requiring a thorough and well thought-out defense. In preparation, we usually ask a potential client the following questions to determine the course of action regarding a proper and effective marijuana defense:
— Did the officer have “probable cause” to stop your vehicle?
— Was the patrolman’s search of you, your home or your car properly executed?
— Does the state have sufficient evidence to prove possession or control of the marijuana?
— In the case of a distribution charge, does the state have sufficient evidence to support the allegation?
— Did the police follow proper “chain of custody” and testing procedures for the marijuana in question?