Loss of License for NJ Drug Possession Convictions
One of the lesser known repercussions of controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”) offenses is the loss of driving privileges. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a), Possession or Use of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, the municipal judge is permitted to impose a period of license suspension ranging from six (6) months up to two (2) years. Typically, the length of this court ordered suspension will depend on the severity and circumstances of the present offense, as well as the defendant’s criminal record. For those either employed or enrolled in school, maintaining one’s driving privileges are of supreme importance. Therefore, speaking with a licensed attorney about any possible license suspensions that a N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a) possession charge carries, as well as what penalties you may face for operating a motor vehicle in during a period of license suspension.
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.
NJ Possession of CDS Defense: Avoiding a License Suspension
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a) states, in pertinent part, that “it is unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog.” Any violation of this offense carries with it possible jail time, fines, penalties and the possibility of a license suspension. Of particular importance here is the license suspension. While the ability to suspend a license from six to twenty-four months is purely up to the discretion of the judge for N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a) Drug Possession offenses, defendant’s do in fact have “ammunition” to fight against this type of suspension. This defense comes in the form of case law, specifically, State of New Jersey v. Bendix. The Appellate Division of New Jersey held that N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16, which permitted judicial ability to suspend a drivers license just as with a N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a) violation, also permitted the court to decline to impose such a suspension where the defendant demonstrated “extreme hardship.”
Our firm has had tremendous success in arguing for a hardship application, pursuant to State of New Jersey v. Bendix, in order to avoid any loss of driving privileges in cases where a conviction is unavoidable. Many times, we are able to get the charges dismissed or even downgraded to avoid a license suspension and criminal record, as well. For a free consultation, call us 24/7 at 1 (877) 450-8301 and speak with an experienced defense attorney today.
What if I Drive While My License is Suspended for Possession or Use of a Controlled Dangerous Substance?
For those of you charged with driving while suspended, and said suspension was the result of a court order based on a possession or use of a CDS offense, the penalties are stiff. Specifically, the court will impose a $500 fine, an additional six (6) month license suspension. This means that in addition to completing your current suspension, the court may add another six (6) months to the back end of your suspension.
Whether you are facing charges for possession of marijuana or being under the influence of cocaine, it is imperative that you make a concerted effort to maintain your driver’s license. Unless you can have your charges downgraded or dismissed, you will face a potential license suspension upon conviction. Moreover, you will face heavy fines if you operate a motor vehicle during said suspension period. For immediate assistance with your criminal or traffic charges, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today and speak with an experience New Jersey attorney.