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Evesham Police Arrest Philadelphia Man for Heroin Possession

Heroin Possession Defense Lawyer in Evesham NJWith a rise in heroin related deaths around the nation, including New Jersey, possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia used with heroin, like hypodermic needles, is treated very seriously and offenders face significant penalties if convicted of these crimes in New Jersey. In Burlington County, NJ, heroin charges are issued on a regular basis to individuals accused of heroin possession and intent to distribute heroin.

If you have been arrested for heroin possession in the Burlington, NJ area, contact experienced New Jersey Drug Defense Attorney Leonard D. Biddison at (856) 427-6888 to discuss defending against these serious drug charges.

One example of an incident which led to multiple criminal charges occurred In Evesham Township, New Jersey recently. A Philadelphia man was arrested and charged with possession of burglary tools, as well as possession of drugs (CDS), and drug paraphernalia. Police responded to a report of the man allegedly wandering around the parking lot of Whole Foods and when they stopped him, they found pry bars, screwdrivers, a hammer, heroin, marijuana and hypodermic needles.

Under New Jersey law, possession of any amount of heroin is a third degree indictable offense, which carries potential imprisonment of 3 to 5 years, fines of up to $35,000, license suspension for 2 to 6 years, and community service. If you are found guilty of possession of heroin on school or park grounds, you may face a minimum of 3 years of imprisonment and a fine of $150,000.

If the police have probable cause to believe that you were distributing the drugs rather than simply possessing them for personal use, you may face second or first degree charges. Intent to distribute can be proven by the submission of evidence of a large volume of drugs or possession of materials used to package and measure drugs.

Whereas materials used to measure and package drugs may be evidence of intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia—tools used to consume the drugs—usually indicates personal drug use (though it does not necessarily point to a lack of intent to distribute the drugs). Under New Jersey law, you can be convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia if you possess drug-related items like hypodermic needles, syringes, bongs, marijuana pipes, rolling papers, and cutting agents, to name a few. It is a disorderly persons offense that can carry a potential prison sentence of up to 6 months, a fine of $1,000, and suspension of your driver’s license for 2 years.

Defending Against Heroin Charges in New Jersey

Depending on the facts of your case, you may have one or more defenses available to you. Typically, in order to find drugs or drug paraphernalia in your possession, the police must conduct a search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you have a right against unreasonable search and seizure in any place where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In order to search an area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, the police must have your consent or a warrant issued by a judge, with a few exceptions. If police did not have your consent or a warrant and none of the exceptions to the warrant requirement applied, the evidence that the police have against you may be inadmissible in court, which would make it very difficult, if not impossible, to prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

Heroin Lawyers in Evesham, New Jersey

In addition to arguments used to petition for the exclusion of evidence against you, you may have additional defenses available. If you are facing charges of heroin possession or drug paraphernalia in Evesham Township, Moorestown, Mount Holly, Willingboro, Bordentown, or elsewhere in Burlington County, New Jersey, contact experienced drug defense lawyer Leonard D. Biddison today for a free consultation. He will answer all of your questions and discuss ways to fight your heroin charges and potentially have your case dismissed.

Burlington NJ Traffic Stop Leads to DUI and Cocaine Charges

Burlington DWI ChargesOn Thursday, a 19-year-old driver in Burlington, NJ was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) and felony possession of cocaine. When the driver was stopped by police, they allegedly smelled alcohol on this breath. He registered a blood-alcohol content level of 0.11. The police reportedly found open containers of alcoholic beverages in his motor vehicle, as well as cocaine. He was taken to Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly, NJ for processing.

This incident illustrates how a single motor vehicle stop can lead to multiple criminal charges. In order to pull over a vehicle, police must have reasonable suspicion of a violation of the law. Reasonable suspicion requires suspicion of a violation based on specific facts that the officer can articulate. If a driver is speeding, swerving, breaking a traffic law, or doing anything that could indicate they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the police can pull them over and the driver is required by law to stop.

Typically, in order to protect an individual’s 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, police must have a warrant to conduct a search of your personal property. A few exceptions apply including, but not limited to, evidence in plain view and a search of a motor vehicle with probable cause.

Under the “plain view” doctrine, the police may seize evidence of a crime or contraband that they are able to observe in plain view from a place they are lawfully located.

The motor vehicle exception to a search warrant allows police to search a vehicle for evidence of a crime or contraband if they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and a search is likely to produce evidence of that crime. Note that probable cause is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion.

Once the police make a traffic stop based on reasonable suspicion, they may observe specific facts that create probable cause to search the motor vehicle. In a situation similar to the case involving the 19-year-old man in Burlington County, NJ, described above, if a police officer smells alcohol on the breath of a driver, they will likely administer a breathalyzer test. New Jersey has an implied consent law, which requires drivers to submit to breathalyzer tests or face serious penalties.

A variety of factors, including failing a breathalyzer test, having the smell of alcohol on your breath, your behavior, and your speech, could establish probable cause for the officer to place you under arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Under the plain view doctrine, open bottles of alcohol in your vehicle that can be viewed by the officer from outside of the vehicle can be seized without probable cause to search the vehicle and you can be charged with having open bottles of alcohol in your motor vehicle.

Those bottles can also create probable cause for the officer to search the vehicle for additional evidence that you are driving under the influence and/or driving with open bottles of alcohol. In addition, if you are placed under arrest for DUI, the police may search your vehicle for evidence related to your arrest without a warrant under the search incident to a lawful arrest exception. Note that under this exception the police are only allowed to search for evidence related to the charges you are being arrested for. For example, absent additional probable cause, the police could not search your vehicle for drugs if you are being arrested for driving with a suspended license.

During a lawful search of a vehicle, if the officer finds drugs—like the cocaine found in the case of last week’s Burlington County driver—you can also be charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).

While an officer would not have the right to pull you over and search your vehicle for drugs without having reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place, you can see from this example how one lawful traffic stop can potentially lead to multiple charges.

Facing DWI Charges in Burlington, NJ?

If you are facing charges that arose from a traffic stop in Burlington County, New Jersey, contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers to review your case and determine what defenses may be available to you. The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison is thoroughly equipped to defend your innocence, so call 856-427-6888 or send us a message today to arrange a free consultation.

Medford Pharmacist Sentenced for Distributing and Dispensing Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drug Defense Attorney Burlington, New JerseyDuring a period of time that has become known as America’s opioid epidemic, “pill mills”—where doctors or pharmacists loosely hand out drugs—have become a worthy target for law enforcement and prosecutors. In fact, drug charges against medical professionals have become very common in Burlington County and throughout New Jersey.

While the criminal justice system aims to rehabilitate drug use violators with special initiatives like New Jersey’s drug court program, there is little sympathy extended to individuals who take advantage of and facilitate the chemical dependency of others for their own financial gain.

Such is the case with Doug Goldfield—a 60 year-old pharmacist from Medford Lakes, who was sentenced last Tuesday to 27 months in prison, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to illegally distribute and dispense oxycodone and other drugs, as well as oxycodone distribution. While Goldfield might not fit the stereotype of a drug dealer, prosecutors alleged that the pharmacy knew their customers were obtaining the drugs for resale or non-medical use, customers were traveling to the pharmacy from far way, they did not keep oxycodone in a locked area, and they even allowed customers to refill 30-day supplies of pills multiple times per week.

Goldfield pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally distribute and dispense oxycodone and other drugs and illegally distributing oxycodone. The crime of illegally distributing oxycodone probably sounds self-explanatory, but what is involved in the crime of conspiracy?

Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs in New Jersey

Under New Jersey criminal law, a person is guilty of conspiracy with at least one other person if “with the purpose of promoting or facilitating its commission” they: (1) agrees with another person or persons to engage in conduct that constitutes a crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime; or (2) agrees to aid another person or persons in the planning or commission of such crime or of an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime.” NJ Rev Stat § 2C:5-2 (2013).

Like any crime, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed either the first or second condition of the crime of conspiracy, with the required intent, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Typically, the crime of conspiracy in New Jersey requires some type of overt act on the part of the defendant. However, one exception to this is a “crime of the first or second degree, or distribution or possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog.” NJ Rev Stat § 2C:5-2 (d) (2013). Essentially, this exception makes proving the crime of conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone easier than proving conspiracy in non-drug related crimes.

Defenses for Conspiracy Drug Distribution

There is one affirmative defense available in a charge of conspiracy—renunciation of purpose. An affirmative defense is invoked by a defendant when they admit to having committed a particular crime but claim they should nonetheless be found not guilty due to a recognized, mitigating defense. One example of an affirmative defense is self-defense. A person can admit that they assaulted another person but argue that they should not be found guilty because they were simply acting in self-defense.

In the case of conspiracy, the affirmative defense of renunciation of purpose is available when the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence (a lower standard than that required of the prosecutor—”beyond a reasonable doubt”) that after they conspired to commit the crime, they told law enforcement about the plan and “thwarted the commission of any act in furtherance of the conspiracy.” In other words, by telling a law enforcement officer about an intended criminal act, the defendant can avoid being found guilty of conspiracy to commit it.

Prescription Drug Defense Attorneys in Burlington, NJ

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug offense involving prescription drugs or other controlled dangerous substance (CDS), do not delay in seeking legal help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison zealously protect the rights of individuals charged with intent to distribute and dispensing drugs in Medford, Mount Holly, and throughout Burlington County, NJ. Call (856) 427-6888 for a free consultation about your case or contact us online today.

Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Working on New Drug Treatment Program

Drug Court Attorneys Burlington County NJThe Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office is currently developing a new program to help people who are addicted to drugs receive treatment, as opposed to facing drug charges for marijuana, heroin, cocaine, opioids like Oxycontin, and another controlled dangerous substances (CDS).

The program, entitled “Straight to Treatment,” is designed to offer people who are addicted to drugs a chance to receive treatment without being afraid they will be arrested. Under the program, a person can go to a participating police station, turn in any drugs in their possession, and receive assistance in finding a drug treatment program. Scott Coffina, the Burlington County Prosecutor, began working on the concept for the program because he felt the need to fight the drug epidemic on several fronts, including access to drug treatment programs.

At this time, there is not a launch date for the program because it is still in the planning stage, but officials hope the program will begin later this year. Evesham Township is the first town to approve participation by their police department in the program once it begins.

One of the challenges that programs like these often encounter is the availability of drug treatment providers. The ideal situation is to have the person enter a treatment program the day they come into the police station seeking help. However, this can be a difficult challenge when no treatment providers are willing or able to accept a new patient. The program designers are working on a way to ensure that people will be able to enter a program when they decide to seek assistance voluntarily. Right now, Oaks Integrated Care in Mount Holly, NJ, has entered an agreement with the township to help provide referral services and screening services for those who want to enter the program.

Drug Court Program in Burlington County, NJ

Although the aforementioned program has yet to be implemented, Burlington County currently offers several other diversionary programs for individuals who have already been arrested and charged with drug offenses. Drug Court is a prime example of a program available to non-violent offenders in Marlton, Mount Holly, Cinnaminson, Moorestown, and throughout Burlington County.

New Jersey’s Drug Courts aim to help offenders who are addicted to drugs or alcohol overcome their addiction while resolving their criminal charges. The program began in 1996 with the Essex County Superior Court and the Camden County Superior Court. By 2000, the Conference of Criminal Presiding Judges called for a comprehensive statewide proposal stating that drug courts should be adopted as a “best practice.” Drug courts offered a groundbreaking alternative to the original approach of dealing with the drug epidemic.

Today, drug courts offer offenders a way to change their lives while they are resolving a criminal charge. Each of the 21 counties in New Jersey has a drug court. Nonviolent offenders who are accepted into the program follow an intensive substance abuse treatment program as part of their probation sentence.

Probation officers and substance abuse experts closely monitor their progress to ensure they are complying with the program’s requirements, in addition to their probation requirements. Most drug treatment plans last between one and two years. Participants are expected to attend treatment sessions, meet with probation officers, and undergo random drug screenings. Since the inception of drug courts, thousands of individuals charged with drug crimes or drug-related crimes have found help with their addiction through New Jersey’s Drug Courts.

Arrested for Drugs in South Jersey? Our Experienced NJ Drug Defense Attorneys are Here to Assist You

If you have been charged with drug possession, distribution, or intent to distribute CDS in South Jersey, you should find out about all of your available options before deciding how to resolve your case. To learn more about your charges, the penalties you face, and potential ways to have your charges dismissed, contact the experienced drug defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison today. You can reach us by phone at (856) 427-6888 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.

Source: “Prosecutor’s Straight to Treatment program takes next step in planning process.” Kelly Kultys. Burlington County Times. 20 March 2018.

Delanco Township Man Charged with Marijuana Distribution after Home Search

Delanco Township NJ Marijuana Distribution ChargesSelling marijuana, although very common in New Jersey, can lead to serious criminal charges for marijuana distribution and possession of weed with intent to distribute. For example, a man in Delanco Township, New Jersey was recently charged with marijuana distribution after police executed a search warrant at his residence. If you have been arrested for selling marijuana in the Burlington County area, our lawyers use over 20 years’ experience handling these cases to beat drug charges on a regular basis. Call 856-427-6888 now for a free consultation about your specific case and continue reading to learn more about drug distribution law in New Jersey.

There are several things to keep in mind when dealing with a drug distribution charge. The first is that you need not make any money to be charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, New Jersey’s drug distribution statute. A person only needs to dispense a controlled dangerous substance like marijuana, or transfer it to another person to be considered “distributing.”

In this case, 21-year-old Delanco resident Robert Lamar was arrested for marijuana distribution and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. These drug crimes are governed by the same statute, meaning they are subject to the same grading and sentencing guidelines. For example, possession of between 1 ounce and 5 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute is considered the same offense as actual distribution of the same amount of marijuana. Both are third degree crimes punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

You may be wondering, how do police know if I intended to distribute the drug in my possession? Often, law enforcement officials will charge you with drug distribution based on a larger amount of the substance, as well as drug packaging materials and significant sums of cash. In this case, officers searched Lamar’s home on the 400 block of Delview Lane in Delanco Township, where they reportedly found marijuana, drug distribution packaging materials, and cash. They seized all of these items, as well as a vehicle located at the home.

Police searched Lamar’s home after an investigation into the illegal marijuana selling in Delanco reportedly led to him. He was arrested and charged with marijuana distribution, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, and distribution of drug paraphernalia. The amount of marijuana retrieved from Lamar’s residence remains undisclosed, but it will weigh heavily on the potential consequences if he is ultimately convicted.

Distribution of marijuana, like any drug in New Jersey, varies in terms of degrees. In other words, you can be charged with anything from a fourth degree to a first degree crime for selling marijuana and the penalties to which you are exposed will depend on the degree of the charges. The amount of the drug (the measured weight) or in the case of marijuana, also the number of plants, are used to determine the degree of crime. Regardless, all charges for marijuana distribution are indictable offenses. So, if you are charged with intent to distribute marijuana in Burlington County, your case will be heard in the Burlington County Superior Court in Mount Holly, NJ.

Charged with Marijuana Distribution in Delanco Township, NJ?

At The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison, our skilled criminal defense lawyers have successfully resolved countless marijuana cases for clients in Delanco, Evesham Township, Delran, Mount Laurel, Camden, Gloucester, and throughout South Jersey. If you would like to speak with an attorney about your marijuana charges, contact our office in Collingswood at 856-427-6888 or send us an email anytime. We are happy to answer your questions and consultations are always provided free of charge.

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