Keith G. Oliver from my office an individual was was charged with amongst other things, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, a crime of the second degree. If convicted of this offense alone the defendant would be facing up to ten years in a New Jersey State Prison. The defendant was parked in a parking spot at a rest stop along the New Jersey Turnpike. This is a well known area for drug transactions to take place, the New Jersey State Troopers are well aware of this too. Undercover officers noticed what appeared to them to be suspicious activity by the defendant so they approached the defendants car. When the officers approached the defendant was in actually in the middle of breaking up an oxycotton pill. Officers immediately pulled the defendant out of the car and placed the defendant under arrest. The officers then asked the defendant if he had anything else illegal in the car, at this point the defendant feeling that he had no other options told the officers that he had a large amount of marijuana in the trunk. As a result of this admission, the officers had the defendant sign a consent to search form and then searched the car. They uncovered 5 pounds of marijuana, digital scales, several prescription drug pills and about $8,000 in cash.
To be charged with a second degree possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute the marijuana seized must be between five (5) to twenty-five (25) pounds. Since the defendant was caught with what the officers claimed was 5lbs exactly we requested that the prosecutors officers produce a certified laboratory report from the New Jersey State Police. Once Mr. Oliver received the lab reports back are hunch was correct. The lab reports showed that the defendant was possessing just under 5lbs of marijuana at the time of the stop. Therefore, the second degree charges could not stand and they must be amended to a third degree felony. This is very significant because traditionally a defendant who is charged with a second degree felony is ineligible for the Pre Trial Intervention Program (“PTI”). PTI is a diversionary program in New Jersey where if the defendant completes the program as instructed by the Judge without violating any of the terms imposed, the defendant will walk away from these otherwise life changing charges without a criminal record.
Geared with this knew information we had the defendant apply to the PTI program, even though possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute is traditionally ineligible for the program as well. Based on the amount of drugs possessed, the defendants prior criminal record, the suspect search and the compelling reasons submitted by my office on behalf of the defendant, the defendant was admitted into the PTI program. The Defendant who was facing up to ten years in a New Jersey State prison is now afforded the opportunity to walk away from these otherwise life changing felony charges without a criminal record. In addition, the defendant can apply for an expungement of his criminal record six months after her completes the PTI program. Therefore there will be no trace of this incident on his record.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced criminal defense firm that has a long track record of success. If you or someone you know is charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute in towns like Hackensack, Fort Lee, Elmwood Park, Garfield, Lodi, Teaneck, Palisades Interstate Park or elsewhere in Bergen County we can help. If you have any further questions please contact any one of our Bergen County Offices for a free initial consultation with any one of our eight experienced criminal defense trial attorneys.