Teenager avoids lengthy incarceration & sentenced to probation after found possessing over 1/2 oz of Cocaine

Keith G. Oliver from my office just finished representing a nineteen year old male who was facing very serious drug charges, ones that would have changed his life forever. The defendant, who was once a prominent college athlete, was facing a maximum of thirty (30) years in a New Jersey State Prison if convicted on all charges. The defendant was indicted on two second degree indictable (felony) drug charges; Possession of a Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute and Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute, both in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.  In addition, he was indicted on two other third degree felonies; Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Heroin, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. Due to the possession with intent charges the defendant would also be facing a mandatory term of parole ineligibility based on whats known as the Brimage Guidelines. The defendant’s once promising future was quickly in jeopardy.

The alleged drugs were discovered during a search of the vehicle that the Defendant was operating. On the day in question, the defendant was pulled over for a routine traffic violation. When the defendant was unable to produce his valid out of state drivers license the arresting officers became suspicious. The defendant told the officers on scene that he was on his way back to college after visiting a friend in New York City. When the officers were unable to locate the defendant’s drivers license in their database they asked him to step outside the vehicle. Due to the defendants nervousness they decided to put the defendant through the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests to determine if he was under the influence. As a result of the standardized field sobriety tests, the defendant was arrested and booked on DWI charges. During an ensuing police interrogation the defendant signed a consent to search form. This form gave the officers the right to search the vehicle the defendant was operating. It was during the said search that the 1/2 ounce of cocaine and 1/2 ounce of heroin were found.

Once Mr. Oliver obtained discovery from the prosecutors office it became apparent that there were some potential search issues. Through countless discussions with the prosecutors office we were able to negotiate a plea deal which would allow for the defendant to avoid all incarceration and simply be placed on probation. The defendant gladly accepted the offer and he was placed on probation for a term of two years. This plea agreement allows for the defendant to move on with his life and continue his college education. Further, since the defendant plead guilty to a third degree possession charge (not a possession with intent)  and he was under the age of twenty-one (21) at the time of the plea, he is eligible to have his felony criminal record expunged within six months of completing his probationary sentence under the youthful drug offender aspect of N.J.S.A. 2C:52. This was a major factor in negotiating the said plea agreement. By the time the defendant completes college and begins the process of applying for a job his record will be expunged (erased).