Blog

New Developments in New Jersey’s Treatment of Marijuana Charges

Camden NJ Marijuana Law AttorneyDiscussions about the potential decriminalization of marijuana in New Jersey have been occurring since July, when New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced a statewide adjournment of all municipal marijuana charges, pending further guidance to prosecutors in the state. After several weeks of waiting, the Attorney General’s guidance has finally been issued.

Emphasizing that prosecutors do not have discretion to unilaterally implement a policy of not prosecuting any municipal marijuana cases, Attorney General Grewal encouraged prosecutors to exercise discretion when they find there is insufficient evidence to prosecute a marijuana charge or when they find the consequences would be too severe.

In his guidance, Grewal made it clear that prosecutors may not effectively decriminalize the use of marijuana in small amounts by refusing to prosecute any cases before the legislator has acted to decriminalize its use.

Whether the New Jersey legislator will actually change the law and legalize the recreational use of marijuana remains to be seen. Grewal explained that he would not suspend all marijuana cases until the legislator acts on this issue, emphasizing the importance of the rule of law, because no deadline for taking action has been set by the legislator.

How will prosecutors decide whether to dismiss a marijuana possession charge?

The Attorney General’s guidance to prosecutors on how to handle municipal charges involving marijuana in New Jersey provided several factors to should consider when evaluating a case including the defendant’s age, prior criminal history, circumstances surrounding the arrest, impact on employment opportunities, ability to join the military or obtain a professional license, potential impact on their immigration status and educational opportunities, negative impact on eligibility for housing subsidies or other financial assistance, and negative impact on family. While this guidance may be helpful, it will ultimately be up to the municipal prosecutor to decide how they weigh and apply these factors when choosing to pursue or dismiss a marijuana possession case.

What is the possible sentence for marijuana possession in New Jersey?

The guidance outlined above applies only to charges for possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana. If you are charged with this offense, the prosecutor will review your case and consider the factors outlined above. If they decide to pursue the charges against you and you are convicted of possessing under 50 grams of pot, a disorderly persons offense, you will face up to 6 months in prison and fines of up to $1,000.

Charges for possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana are not subject to the newly issued guidance or factors to be considered when exercising prosecutorial discretion on marijuana cases in municipal court. If you are convicted of possessing more than 50 grams of marijuana, you may be convicted of a fourth degree indictable offense, carrying potential penalties of up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Can I have a marijuana conviction removed from my record?

If you have been convicted of possession of marijuana in New Jersey, you must wait 5 years before you can apply for an expungement. However, if you participated in a diversionary program like Pre-trial Intervention or conditional discharge, you only need to wait 6 months to apply once your charges have been dismissed.

Marijuana Attorney in Camden, NJ

If you have recently been charged with possession of marijuana in New Jersey, experienced marijuana defense lawyer Leonard D. Biddison has what it takes to present your best defense. For over 25 years, Mr. Biddison has been successfully defending clients charged with marijuana offenses in Camden, Mount Holly, Evesham Township, Bordentown, Cherry Hill, and throughout Burlington and Camden County. Contact our office in Camden County today at 856-427-6888 for a free consultation about your marijuana case.

What it Means to be Indicted in NJ

Mount Holly Indictment Defense LawyersIn New Jersey, indictable offenses are similar to felonies in other states. An indictable criminal offense is a first degree, second degree, third degree, or fourth degree crime. All indictable crimes carry the potential of at least 18 months of imprisonment, with fourth degree crimes being the least and first degree crimes being the most severe. If you are charged with an indictable offense in New Jersey, you have a right to be indicted by a grand jury and a right to a trial by jury. The process of being indicted and what happens next can seem completely overwhelming. For more information about the indictment process in New Jersey, continue reading and feel free to contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers if you have additional questions.

Being Indicted in New Jersey

Indictable crime charges such as aggravated assault, heroin possession, intent to distribute marijuana, and unlawful possession of a weapon, are heard in the superior court of the county where you are charged. In other words, a felony charge in Camden County will be heard in the Camden County Superior Court. On the other hand, if you are charged with an indictable offense in Burlington County, your case will be adjudicated in the Burlington County Superior Court in Mount Holly, NJ.

The Indictment Process in NJ

After you are charged with an indictable offense, a pre-indictment conference will be scheduled. It is possible for the case to be resolved at this stage, without an indictment ever being obtained. Possible resolutions include waiving your right to a grand jury to participate in pre-trial intervention (PTI) or to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

If you do not waive your right to a grand jury indictment and the case is not otherwise resolved, then the evidence will be submitted to a grand jury, comprised of 23 citizens, to review the evidence and determine if there is probable cause to believe you committed the offense. Defendents and judges are not present at grand jury hearings, so it is only the prosecution presenting its evidence to the grand jury.

If a majority of the grand jury finds that there is probable cause to believe that you committed the offense, they will issue a “true bill” and you will be indicted, with your case continuing on to trial. If a majority of the grand jury finds the evidence insufficient to establish probable cause, they will issue a “no bill” and the charges against you will be dropped.

At a grand jury hearing, the defendant is not present and a judge is not present. This means that the burden of proof is fairly low, with no rebuttal or defense until the trial stage. In limited circumstances, you may be able to file a motion to dismiss the indictment, but the indictment will only be dismissed if you can show that there was an absence of any evidence to support the charges or that the prosecutor improperly influenced the grand jury.

What happens after I’m indicted in New Jersey?

After you are indicted, your case will be scheduled for trial. Remember that being indicted does not mean that you have been found guilty. It simply means that the grand jury found sufficient evidence to move forward with the prosecution of your case. The standard for being found guilty of a crime in New Jersey criminal court is much higher. The prosecution must convince the jury unanimously that you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if even one juror finds that there is some doubt to whether you committed the offense, you will be found innocent. An experienced criminal defense attorney can be invaluable throughout the legal process, from pre-indictment to indictment and trial. Often, choosing the right lawyer makes the difference between reasonable doubt and a guilty verdict.

Charged with an Indictable Crime? Call Criminal Defense Lawyer Leonard D. Biddison Serving Burlington, Gloucester, and Camden County, NJ

If you have been charged with an indictable offense in New Jersey, or if you have already been indicted, contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers The Law Offices of Leonard D. Biddison at 856-427-6888 to discuss your case. You are innocent until proven guilty and a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer can ensure you receive the best defense. You can reach us anytime for a free consultation with an attorney who can help.

New Jersey Law on Domestic Violence Simple Assault

NJ Domestic Violence Simple Assault LawyersSimple assault is a crime in New Jersey and in the context of a domestic relationship, an allegation of simple assault can have even more extensive consequences. Victims of domestic violence are protected under the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act, which imposes special requirements and procedures for handling and investigating allegations of domestic abuse. If you have been accused of committing domestic violence simple assault in New Jersey, you are facing potential jail time, fines, and a criminal record in connection with the criminal charges. You may also be facing a restraining order, as simple assault is considered a predicate act of domestic violence and thus, grounds for a restraining order under NJ Law. With so much on the line, it is essential to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer defending you during your upcoming legal proceedings. For more information regarding domestic assault, contact The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison to speak with an attorney who can provide you with a free consultation. You can reach our law office anytime at 856-427-6888 or contact us online.

Simple Assault & Domestic Violence in New Jersey

If your significant other or spouse accuses you of physically hurting them and the police have probable cause to believe that you purposely, knowingly, or recklessly caused them bodily harm, you can be charged with simple assault. You can also be charged with this offense if you negligently injured them with a deadly weapon or attempted to put them in fear of imminent serious injury through a physical threat. Typically, when charges of simple assault are filed in a domestic context, a temporary restraining order is also available to the victim. You will be arrested and held in jail for up to 48 hours prior to appearing before a judge. The prosecutor will also often file a motion for detention, meaning you will be held in jail until your case is decided. Prosecutors generally file motions for detention if they feel that the alleged victim could be in danger if you are released. It is not uncommon for the prosecutor to exercise an abundance of caution and file the motion to protect the alleged victim.

If the prosecutor files a motion for detention with the court, you will be entitled to a detention hearing. At the detention hearing, the judge can only order you to be detained pending trial if he or she believes that no condition or set of conditions would reasonably assure that, if released, you would not be a danger to others, you would not fail to appear in court, and you would not obstruct the criminal justice system. If the prosecutor does not file a motion for detention and allows you to be released, they will have to impose a condition of checking in with an officer at regularly scheduled times, if the alleged victim does not want contact with you.

When dealing with criminal charges for simple assault, you are exposed to serious penalties if you’re ultimately found guilty. Simple assault as a form of domestic violence is a disorderly persons offense. If convicted, you can face up to 6 months of imprisonment and up to $1,000 in fines. You may also be ordered to pay the victim restitution. If a temporary restraining order is issued, you will also need to appear in Family Court for a final restraining order hearing, after which the judge will decide is the temporary order should be made permanent. It is highly advisable to have an attorney defending you at this hearing because an FRO can change your life in a variety of ways, including seemingly unrelated matters like divorce and child custody.

Mount Holly Domestic Violence Simple Assault Attorney

It is very important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you against domestic violence simple assault allegations in New Jersey. The stakes are high and these charges could turn into a conviction, create a criminal record, and lead to a permanent protective order against you. If you have been accused of domestic abuse, contact our attorneys today at 856-427-6888 for a free review of your case. With several convenient South Jersey office locations, we serve clients in Mount Holly, Willingboro, Gloucester, Mount Laurel, Evesham Township, Bordentown, Camden, Cherry Hill, and surrounding areas.

Detention Hearings in Burlington County, NJ

Bail Hearing in Mount Holly, New Jersey?

Burlington County NJ Detention Bail Hearing LawyerIf you are arrested in Burlington County, NJ, you might be glad to learn that New Jersey has done away with the traditional bail system and replaced it with a more formulaic approach that assesses a person’s risk level for failing to appear in court, endangering public safety, or obstructing justice. Whether you will be held in detention until your trial depends on if the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office files a motion for detention in your case and the outcome of your detention hearing. It is very important to be represented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can argue for your release effectively at your detention hearing in Burlington County. If you or a loved one are scheduled to appear for a detention hearing in Burlington County, contact our Burlington County criminal defense lawyers for additional information and answers that apply to your specific case. You can call (856) 427-6888 or contact us online anytime for a free consultation.

Motions for Detention vs. Release in NJ

If you are arrested on a Friday night, you may appear before a judge through video conference on Saturday morning. This is called your first appearance. Before your first appearance, if the prosecutor plans to argue for your detention pending trial, they must file a motion for detention. Alternatively, they may recommend your release with or without conditions. If you are appearing before the judge on a Saturday morning and the prosecution files a motion for your detention, the judge will inform you that you will have a detention hearing during the week, within a few days of your first appearance.

If you are arrested on a Sunday night or during the week, you will most likely appear before a judge for your first appearance the following day and, if the prosecutor files a motion for detention in your case, you will most likely have a detention hearing the same day. It is possible for the prosecution to file a motion for detention after your first appearance. If this happens, your detention hearing must take place within 3 days after the motion is filed.

Your detention hearing will take place by video conference from the Burlington County Detention Center. You will be taken to a room with a TV screen and video conference equipment and appear before a municipal court judge or a Burlington County Superior Court judge.

What to Expect at a Detention Hearing

At a detention hearing in Burlington County, NJ, the prosecutor will argue that no condition or set of conditions could reasonably assure that you will not fail to appear at your court date, be a danger to public safety, or obstruct the criminal justice process.

For any crime other than murder or a crime that is punishable by a life sentence, there is a presumption against detention, so the prosecution has the burden to convince the court you should remain detained while you wait for your trial. However, if you are charged with murder or another crime that carries the potential of a life sentence, there is a presumption in favor of detention and it is your burden to convince the judge that you should not be detained.

Some of the charges that frequently result in a prosecutor filing a motion for detention include violent crimes such as aggravated assault, domestic violence assault, terroristic threats, carjacking, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, and armed burglary. It is then up to your attorney to undermine the prosecutor’s case that you should be held pending trial.

What Factors are Considered at a Detention Hearing?

The judge will consider your individual risk assessment when deciding whether you should be detained while waiting for your trial. Each defendant is given a Public Safety Assessment (PSA) score to determine their risk level for failure to appear, new criminal activity, and new violent criminal activity. The judge will also consider the recommendation made by the Decision Making Framework (DMF).

Specific factors that influence your PSA score and DMF recommendation include any other pending charges against you at the time of your arrest; prior convictions for violent crimes, indictable offenses, and disorderly persons offenses; whether your current charge is for a violent offense; your age at the time of your current arrest; prior sentences of 14 days or longer; and prior failure to appear at a pre-disposition court date.

Ultimately, if the judge decides that no condition or set of conditions will reasonably assure that you will not fail to appear in court, endanger public safety, or obstruct justice in some way, you will be detained until your trial.

Bail Hearing Lawyers in Burlington County, NJ

If you or someone you love is scheduled for an upcoming Detention Hearing in Burlington County, it is crucial that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney without further delay. To speak with an experienced Burlington County criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison about how you can position yourself for the best outcome, contact our Collingswood office at (856) 427-6888. Our law firm provides skilled defense representation throughout Burlington County, including Mount Holly, Pemberton, Willingboro, Evesham Township, Lumberton, Bordentown, Cinnaminson, and Mount Laurel.

DUI Heroin Charges in Bordentown, NJ

Charged with Driving under the Influence of Heroin in Bordentown NJ

Bordentown DUI Heroin LawyerBordentown, New Jersey is a leading source of DUI charges in Burlington County. As a result, people are charged on a regular basis with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and forced to face prosecution in the Bordentown Municipal Court. Since the rise in heroin use in New Jersey and across the United States, DUI charges involving heroin are becoming more and more prevalent. In Bordentown, motor vehicle stops and traffic accidents lead to numerous heroin DUI offenses against residents and people just traveling through.

In a recent incident, a Bordentown man, who was driving while high on heroin, crashed his vehicle after going airborne and drove his vehicle over two front lawns. He nearly hit another motorist, but officials say no one was injured. When the police and fire department arrived at the scene, the man was passed out behind the wheel. He was subsequently charged with possession of heroin and driving under the influence (DUI). Under New Jersey law, it is illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs, like heroin. Heroin is an extremely dangerous drug and it can seriously impair your reaction time and ability to drive safely.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs in New Jersey and it is your first offense, you may face confinement for a period of at least 12 hours but no more than 48 hours after your arrest, fines between $300 to $500, and possible imprisonment of up to 30 days. You will also face driver’s license suspension for between 7 months and 1 year if convicted of drug DUI in New Jersey.

Bordentown Drug DUI Prosecutions

Unlike sobriety tests designed to determine if a driver is driving under the influence of alcohol, a police officer cannot administer a breathalyzer to see if someone if driving under the influence of drugs. Instead, New Jersey uses Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), professionals who are trained to identify indications of drug use. These experts follow a 12-step protocol, which is used to determine whether an individual is impaired. If an individual is suspected of being under the influence of heroin while driving, the DRE will look at the suspect’s behavior and appearance, their pupil size under three different lighting conditions, the results of four different psychological tests, indications of injection marks, and several other relevant factors.

While the assessment of a DRE can be helpful to the prosecution’s case, it is not required in order to prove driving under the influence in court. The prosecution can also rely on the testimony of a police officer, toxicology reports, field sobriety test results, and any other evidence.

DUI Heroin Lawyer in Bordentown, New Jersey

If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Bordentown or elsewhere in Burlington County after using heroin or any other drug, it is crucial to be represented by an experienced DUI Defense Attorney. If the prosecution is submitting an analysis from a DRE, your lawyer can try to refute the findings of the report and provide alternative explanations for certain factors such as your behavior or pupil size to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

Depending on the facts of your case, a skilled DUI lawyer may be able to argue for the exclusion of certain evidence if it was improperly obtained. Leonard D. Biddison is a highly experienced New Jersey DWI Defense Lawyer who has successfully handled countless DUI cases involving heroin and other drugs in the Burlington County area. With over 25 years’ experience, Mr. Biddison will closely review the facts in your case to find any and all potential defenses that may be available to you. For additional information, call our law office today at 856-427-6888 for a free consultation. Mr. Biddison will be happy to review your case and aggressively defend you against these charges.

Testimonials

"Phenominal, brilliant attorney!"

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat."

David P.

Request a Free Consultation

If you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal or DUI offense in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, finding the answers you need to make informed decisions is critical. Complete our contact form to request your free consultation or contact our offices in New Jersey at (856) 427-6888, Philadelphia at (215) 235-5240, or Delaware County at (610) 853-9494.


We are available 24/7 Nights and Weekends to Provide Free Consultations | Hablamos Español

Office Locations

Collingswood
Office

900 Haddon Avenue, Suite 234

Collingswood, NJ 08108

(856) 427-6888Directions

Philadelphia
Office

230 S Broad Suite #1501

Philadelphia, PA 19102

(215) 235-5240Directions

Upper Darby
Office

8234 W Chester Pike

Upper Darby, PA 19082

(610) 853-9494Directions