Based on your record, if you are convicted at the county you will definitely receive probation at a minumum. You can avoid a license suspension by making a "hardship" application to the judge, showing that you need your license for work, school, etc. and that mass transportation is not available. Thus, if the case stays at the county you need the charge dismissed on an illegal search or you need the co-defendant to take responsibility for the drugs. Same thing if it is remanded to municipal court. However, even if you are convicted in municipal court there is a slight chance you could be sentenced to only a fine and no probation. Depends on the judge and the prosecutor.
Your question raises many issues. WIth two priors, if you are convicted in Superior Court, you are definitely going to get probation. If you are remanded to municipal court, you may be able to avoid probation, but that's a big maybe. More importantly, if you were the passenger, the search of your person may not have been lawful and you may have a viable motion to suppress the drugs they found on you. The police do not have the right to just search your person. You should definitely hire a lawyer to review this issue and other possible defenses.
Your case must be evaluated by an attorney. Among other issues I would need to review discovery in order to check out whether the stop and search was valid.
Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.
You need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. We have several NJ avvo lawyers on this site that may respond on the specifics of your question relating to jail vs. probation and your driver license. One issue is the search of a passenger exceeding a "Terry vs. Ohio" pat-down search. An experienced criminal defense attorney will explore that issue. A summary of the 1967 Supreme Court opinion follows in the next comment. Get counsel.
I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..
There is an outside chance of avoiding probation but unlikely if you are convicted of the the 3rd degree charge. If there is a question about the stop and search a motion to suppress may highlight the weakness to the prosecutor and result in a favorable plea bargain or even a dismissal if the evidence is suppressed. If you are accused if possessing MJ, a trial may be your best option as nj juries rarely convict on possession of marijuana. Good luck
An attorney needs to evaluate the search and seizure issues here. If the charges can be proven you are in a bind. The case may well be downgraded if it is small amount. But with priors probation is a real possibility, Keeping your license is very possible. But in some towns in Union County, Cranford and Rahway for example, it is tougher to get a hardship ruling. If the case stays in the county and A.P. Jill O'Malley permits you can get a DP in the Superior Court but Judge Triarsi will put you on probation more than likely but not every time. Your license there would be safe in most cases. Call with more information.
A motion to suppress the evidence would be the next logical step. You need a good defense attorney to defend the case and avoid another conviction. Otherwise, it would be almost impossible to avoid at least probation as a result. Give my office a call.
This answer does not constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or constitute attorney advertising.