An attorney from my office, Keith G. Oliver just finished represented an individual who was charged with numerous felony drug charges including N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, Manufacturing Marijuana, a crime of the second degree. If convicted of this offense alone the defendant can be sentenced up to ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison and fined up to $150,000. The underline facts of the case are straightforward, the defendant was caught growing marijuana in his home. Local law enforcement armed with a search warrant appeared at the defendants home. A subsequent search of the defendants home revealed eighteen (18) marijuana plants. The arresting officers decided to only charge the defendant and not his wife, believing that his wife had no prior knowledge of the defendants actions.
Upon receiving the discovery, Mr. Oliver quickly realized that the said search warrant was based on a lot of circumstantial and unreliable information. Before a Judge can issue a valid search warrant, law enforcement must produce enough “probable cause” to show that more likely then not a criminal offense is being committed on the premiss in question. As stated earlier, the probable cause used to issue the search warrant in this case was very circumstantial. This gave our office the ammunition we needed to successfully defend this case.
Based on this information Mr. Oliver had the defendant apply for what is known as Pre Trial Intervention Program (“PTI”). PTI is a diversionary program in New Jersey where if the defendant completes the program without violating any of the terms imposed by the Judge then the pending felony criminal charges will be dismissed. Traditionally, the PTI program is not available for anyone charged with either first or second degree indictable offense. However, with that being said, the defendant is allowed to apply for the program and if defense counsel can put forth what is known as compelling reasons on why the defendant should be given the opportunity to participate in the program even though severity of the charges, then the defendant may be accepted.
In the case at hand, Mr. Oliver was able to produce enough compelling reasons on why the defendant despite his second degree felony drug manufacturing charges should be entitled the benefit of the PTI program. The defendant was place on PTI and now has the opportunity to walk away from these otherwise life changing charges without a criminal record and without serving one day in jail. In addition, six months after completing the PTI program the defendant may file for an expungement which would completely erase all records associated with this incident.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has over 100 years of combined experience on staff. We have the experience and skill set to successfully protect your interests. If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey please contact any one of our Bergen County Offices for a free initial consultation with anyone of our eight criminal defense attorneys on staff.