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Constructive Possession of Drugs in a Criminal Case

Posted by attorney Kenneth Vercammen

Constructive Possession of Drugs in a Criminal Case

KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC

ATTORNEY AT LAW

2053 Woodbridge Ave.

Edison, NJ 08817

(Phone) 732-572-0500

(Fax) 732-572-0030 website:www.njlaws.com

Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents individuals charged with criminal and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey.

CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION OF DRUGS IN A CRIMINAL CASE

"For this offense the state must prove three material elements. First, it must be proved that the item is a controlled dangerous substance. Second, it must be proved that defendant either obtained or possessed the substance. Third it must be proved that defendant acted knowingly or intentionally." 33 N.J. Practice §521 p.475.

The state must prove that the defendant acted knowingly or intentionally. The state must prove that defendant knew the nature and character of the item, and it must prove that Jamess purpose in possessing the substance was to distribute it. 33 N.J. Practice §520 p.471 (1982).

Possession is the intentional control of an item accompanied by an awareness of its character. Constructive possession is when the defendant is aware of the substance and has an intention to exercise control over the substance. State v. Brown, 67 N.J. Super. 450, 455, 171 A. 2d 15, 18 (App. Div. 1961).

Joint possession is when people knowingly share control over the article. State v. Rajnai, 132 N.J. Super. 530, 536, 334 A. 2d 364, 367 (App. Div. 1975).

It is an offense to knowingly or intentionally obtain or possess a controlled dangerous substance. N.J.S.A. 24:21-20a. "The state must prove knowledge or intent on the part of the defendant. Knowledge means that the defendant was aware of the existence of the object and was aware of its character. Intent means it was the defendants purpose to obtain or possess the item while being aware of its character. State v. McMenamin, 133 N.J. Super. 521, 524, 337 A. 2d 630, 631 (App. Div. 1975); State v. Brown, 67 N.J. Super. 450, 455, 171 A. 2d 15, 18 (App. Div. 1961).

Mere presence in a premises with other persons where controlled dangerous substances are found is not sufficient to justify an inference that a particular defendant was in sole or joint possession of the substance. State v. Sapp, 71 N.J. 476, 477, 366 A. 2d 334, 335 (1976), overruled on other grounds by State v. Brown, 80 N.J. 587, 404 A. 2d 1111 (1979).

The state must prove that the defendant was aware of the character of the substance to prove that the defendant acted with knowledge. State v. Reed, 34 N.J. 554, 557, 170 A. 2d 419, 421 (1961); State v. Rajnai, 132 N.J. Super. 530, 536, 334 A. 2d 364, 367 (App. Div. 1975).

Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea

  1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)

  2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:

a. You will have a criminal record

b. You may go to Jail or Prison.

c. You will have to pay Fines and Court Costs.

  1. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.

  2. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.

  3. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.

  4. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.

  5. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.

  6. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3

  7. You could be put on Probation.

  8. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your drivers license for 6 months - 2years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.

  9. You may be required to do Community Service.

  10. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.

  11. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.

  12. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.

  13. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1

  14. You may lose your right to vote.

The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.

Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:

If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.

NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;

(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;

(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;

(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.

2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:

a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;

(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;

b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;

(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;

c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;

d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;

If facing any criminal charge, retain an experienced attorney immediately to determine you rights and obligations to the court. Current criminal charge researched by Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. 732-572-0500

www.njlaws.com

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