I frequently represent clients charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in courts throughout Morris County such as Mendham, Chatham, Randolph, and Roxbury. Typically, a drug paraphernalia charge is accompanied by a possession of marijuana charge (under 50 grams). For example, a motor vehicle stop leads to the seizure of a pipe along with marijuana or rolling papers along with marijuana. These scenarios lead to two charges (both disorderly persons offenses): possession of marijuana under 50 grams in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10(4) and possession of drug paraphernalia in violation of N.J.S. 2C:36-2.
N.J.S. 2C:36-2 provides in pertinent part:
§ 2C:36-2. Use or possession with intent to use, disorderly persons offense
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.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey which will be handled in the Municipal Court in the municipality in which the alleged crime was committed. Disorderly persons offenses include up to six (6) months in the county jail, up to a $1,000.00 fine, and a permanent criminal charge on your record (which may be expunged after five (5) years depending on your other criminal history). This charge also requires a six (6) month suspension of your New Jersey driver’s license. If your license is not from New Jersey, New Jersey can only suspend your driving privileges in the State of New Jersey. However, your home state may also suspend your license once they are notified of the suspension in New Jersey. A hardship application can be made to avoid the license suspension if good cause can be shown. If you have never been convicted of a drug charge in New Jersey or any other state, you are eligible for the conditional discharge program in New Jersey. This program allows you to avoid a criminal charge on your record if you successfully complete the probationary period.