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Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Charges

Drug laws in New Jersey have changed in recent years. As such, you may have some questions. Please read the frequently asked questions and answers below, then contact Michael J. Beatrice, P.C., Attorney at Law, to discuss your own concerns in a free initial consultation.

Because marijuana is now legal, are there any restrictions I need to know about?

Yes, there are. Just like with alcohol, you need to be at least 21 years old to use marijuana. Also, you are restricted to using it only on private property. Finally, possession is limited to six ounces or less for personal use.

Buying and selling marijuana is also prohibited except through state-approved and licensed dispensaries. You could still potentially face criminal charges for dealing without a license or buying from an unlicensed dealer.

Can I be charged with a DUI for driving after consuming marijuana?

Yes, you can. Drunk driving and drugged driving are both illegal. Problematically, there isn’t yet a reliable and easy-to-administer test for impairment from THC (the ingredient in marijuana that causes the high). Alcohol intoxication is quickly determined through a breathalyzer test, which is effective because alcohol metabolizes relatively quickly and predictably.

THC, on the other hand, can stay in the body for many days after the high wears off. Therefore, the presence of THC in the body doesn’t prove that a driver was impaired. But prosecutors may try to convict with what evidence they can gather. Needless to say, if you’ve been charged with marijuana-impaired driving, you need to seek help from an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney.

What does drug paraphernalia mean?

Making, processing, selling or using drugs often requires equipment, and equipment commonly associated with drugs is known as drug paraphernalia. Possession of these items is illegal in New Jersey. Unfortunately, the items that constitute paraphernalia are not clearly defined, so you could potentially face charges of possession of rolling papers even if you were using them for tobacco and not for marijuana. Innocuous items like kitchen baggies and a digital food scale can be classified as paraphernalia. Although paraphernalia charges are less severe than other drug charges, they still carry penalties. As such, please seek the help of a good attorney.

Can I get in legal trouble for possessing or using prescription drugs?

Yes, you can. Prosecutors are particularly concerned with mood-altering drugs that have the potential for abuse such as opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety meds). Prescription drugs are known as controlled dangerous substances (CDS), and it is illegal to possess them without a valid prescription.

You can also be charged with DUI if you are caught driving under the influence of a CDS.

Get Your Own Questions Answered By An Experienced Attorney

Michael J. Beatrice, P.C., Attorney at Law, offers free initial consultations to prospective criminal defense clients in Mahwah, New Jersey, and surrounding areas. To schedule yours, call the office at 201-897-3570 or reach out via email.