All Title 35 and 36 charges carry the possibility of a license suspension, whether or not the predicate offense takes place in a motor vehicle. If you are charged with possession or use of drug paraphernalia in a motor vehicle, then you are at a substantial risk of losing your license for a significant period of time. Use, or Possession with Intent to Use Drug Paraphernalia under N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2, carries its own criminal penalties, such as jail, probation and/or fines. Dealing with a license suspension on top of these other penalties can make it difficult to maintain employment, and loss of employment could lead to failure to pay your fines. Furthermore, that failure to pay fines could then result in an extended period of license suspension. This type of situation could severely impact your ability to maintain your current lifestyle, and tends to snowball into a lifelong NJ MVC hassle.
Note: When a Drug/CDS charge stems from a traffic stop, drivers are usually also given a ticket for Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle, which carries a two year mandatory suspension. Click here to learn more about this charge.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2 reads as follows: “It shall be unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia 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 violation of the provisions of chapter 35 of this title. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.” Drug paraphernalia charges are of the type that are not available for plea negotiation. This means that absent suppression of statements or evidence sufficient to weaken the prosecutor’s case, the municipal prosecutor will not offer you a downgraded offense. It is therefore imperative that a defendant seek appropriate legal advice to ensure they prepare the best defense possible and avoid a possible driver’s license suspension.
Typical Examples of Drug Paraphernalia Charges in NJ
The types of drug paraphernalia include, but are not limited to:
- Capsules or pills
- Scales and grinders
- Pipes or bongs
- Rolling papers
- Precursor chemicals or cutting agents
- Cut straws
- Blades or “bullets”
- Prescription pads
Conditional Discharge and Drug Paraphernalia Charges
If you have not been convicted of any drug-related offenses in the past and have not previously utilized a diversionary program in the court system of New Jersey or any other state, then you will be eligible for a Conditional Discharge. However, while such a program can help you avoid conviction, the judge can still impose a period of license suspension. Unless you can succeed on a hardship hearing (under State of New Jersey v. Bendix), or are able to beat the charge some other way, you may lose your license for time period between six (6) months and one (1) year.
You can avoid a license suspension through a successful Bendix motion, by having your charges amended to a local city/township ordinance, or having the charges dismissed altogether. For assistance with your drug or traffic charges, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. We can help you keep your license, or in the alternative handle any driving while suspended charges you received due to a drug paraphernalia conviction.