The Morris County Superior Court is one of several counties in New Jersey with a Drug Court program. Drug Court is essentially a program where the State works with defense attorneys to help non-violent, addicted drug offenders by facilitating their road to recovery, as opposed to imposing a harsher sentence, such as fines and jail time. According to guidelines of the Drug Court Manual, a defendant may be eligible for drug court under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14 (Special Probation for prison-bound offenders) or N.J.S.A. 2C:45-1 (Ordinary Probation).

Drug Court requires that an offender be (1) employed and (2) under intense supervision, which includes random and frequent drug testing and court appearances. Additionally, a court will impose any counseling and drug treatment programs which they deem most beneficial. The amount of time that the probationary period lasts varies from case to case.

I recently represented a client in Morris County Superior Court who was charged with second degree marijuana possession for growing marijuana plants in his home. My client had a minor criminal history without any violent offenses which allowed him to apply the client to the Morris County Drug Court Program. Remember, on a second degree offense in New Jersey, my client was facing five (5) to ten (10) years in New Jersey State Prison and there is a presumption of imprisonment on second degree crimes. Based on the client’s addiction issues, his lack of violent history, and because his possession of marijuana was not done for profit, my client was accepted into Drug Court and avoided prison time. This result was extremely beneficial for the client and the State as it allowed an addicted drug offender to obtain help while avoiding the unnecessary incarceration of a non-violent offender.