Bergen County Drug Possession Lawyer
Suppression of illegally obtained evidence and other defense strategies in New Jersey drug cases
Conviction for possession of any narcotic or controlled substance can result in lengthy jail sentences, substantial fines, and a criminal record that can damage one’s reputation. Even possession of a small amount of a drug can result in criminal charges. Possession includes actual and constructive possession. Actual possession means that the drugs were physically on you or your clothing at the time the officer seized them. Constructive possession means that the circumstances around the drug seizure—such as finding drug paraphernalia nearby and the knowledge that you were under the influence of narcotics—imply you were in possession of illegal drugs.
Protecting the Rights of Bergen County Residents Accused of Drug Possession
At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., Many of our drug defense lawyers are former prosecutors or worked for law enforcement agencies before joining our firm. Our lawyers understand how frightening a drug charge can be. Our Bergen County criminal lawyers employ many different strategies that have proven successful in helping the accused. Many times, the prosecution will be forced to dismiss the criminal charges if the evidence is suppressed. Other times, we assert other defenses to help win your case. When possible and just, we also work to arrange plea bargains that reduce the drug charge sentencing or make agreements that provide that the accused attend a drug rehabilitation facility instead of being confined to jail.
Drug possession offenses
Drug crimes are categorized depending on how dangerous they are. The most serious and deadly drugs are categorized as Schedule I (1) drugs. The least dangerous drugs are Schedule V (5) drugs. Possession of Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs is considered a third-degree crime. Possession of a Schedule V drug is considered a fourth-degree crime, a less serious category than third degree crimes.
Fourth Degree Charges
Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana or more than five grams of hashish is a fourth-degree crime. Possession of lesser amounts of marijuana or hashish are disorderly person crimes – equivalent to misdemeanors, not felonies.
The amount, type and weight, of the drugs are factors in determining a convicted persons’ criminal sentence. Drug possession charges can also apply to prescription medications unless the accused can show he/she had a legitimate medical prescription for the drug.
Unlawful searches and seizures
The U.S Constitution’s Fourth Amendment provides that police cannot search anyone or seize them unless certain conditions are met. If those conditions are not met, then the accused has the right to demand that the evidence obtained at the time of the search/seizure be dismissed – that it cannot be used in the criminal cases. Additionally, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that any evidence obtained “through” the original illegal search or seizure also should not be used. In essence, if the original tree (search or seizure) was poisonous, then any subsequent fruit (new evidence) is also considered poisonous.
The right of the police to conduct a search depends on the circumstances around the search. Police are generally given more latitude to search a vehicle than they are someone’s home.
Our Bergen County narcotics possession attorneys file motions to suppress evidence that was illegally obtained. In many cases, we have successfully persuaded a judge that the evidence was tainted by police misconduct.
Evidence can be illegally obtained if:
- There was no reasonable suspicion to stop the accused
- The search required a warrant and there was no probable cause
- It was clear someone else was in possession of the narcotics
Each case is different. Our drug crime lawyers contest all the assumptions police made to justify the search.
Other drug possession defenses
Our Bergen County drug possession lawyers may also argue:
- That the facts do not support a finding of constructive possession
- The drug tests used to analyze the narcotics were improper
- That the accused was in legitimate possession of the drugs
In some cases, a co-defendant may help prove the defendant’s innocence. The arguments vary depending on the facts of each case
Make the call to a Bergen County drug possession attorneys today
The firm of Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. has been fighting for the rights of the accused since 1955. Our lawyers are skilled trial attorneys who understand the full range of legal defenses defendants have. We hold the police and the prosecution to their duty to comply with New Jersey law and the federal Constitution. Our Bergen County controlled substance lawyers assert every appropriate argument to show that there is a reasonable doubt about a client’s guilt. For a free consultation, please phone (908) 561-5577 or complete our contact form for an appointment.