Little Falls NJ Marijuana Possession Attorneys
Criminal Defense Lawyers in Morris County NJ
Travis Tormey and the Tormey Law Firm recently defended a client who had been charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in Little Falls, NJ. Our client is a student at Montclair State University and has never been convicted of a crime in New Jersey, so he has no prior record. He originally grew up in New Orleans and moved to NJ in order to attend college.
The client’s parents hired the Tormey Law Firm to represent their son in this case because they understood the seriousness of the criminal charges and the severity of the potential penalties. The client faced two disorderly persons offenses (similar to misdemeanors), which exposed him to the following penalties: a $1,000 fine, up to six months in the county jail, and a permanent criminal charge on his record. This last point is important because a criminal record would make it difficult for the client to obtain student loans and could even result in him being unable continue attending college.
After we got the initial discovery package, which included police reports and videos, we continued to wait for the lab report on the alleged drugs. In New Jersey, the State must send the seized substance, whether it’s marijuana, heroin, or cocaine, to the NJ State Police lab for testing. This is done so that prosecutors can prove that the defendant did, in fact, possess the illegal drugs at the time of their arrest. In this case, the prosecution needed to prove that the client actually possessed marijuana. Additionally, prosecutors needed to show that a pipe found on our client was used for drugs, not tobacco.
The New Jersey State Police lab has gotten a lot of negative media attention in recent months, particularly after it was revealed that a lab tech had been signing off on positive lab results without actually testing any of the alleged drug substances. The lab tech was later fired and the NJ criminal justice system has been dealing with a number of cases on appeal ever since.
In this case, the State could not produce a lab report for six months. Since our client had a right to a speedy trial, the judge signed an order after five months that required the lab reports to be produced within 30 days or risk being excluded from trial. After the 30 days went by and the lab reports were still not provided to Mr. Tormey, the drug crime charges against our client were dismissed.
This was an extremely positive outcome for the client and a major victory for the Tormey Law Firm.