When it comes to criminal charges, you should work with a serious legal professional on your defense strategy. The Law Office of Louis G. DeAngelis, LLC is a results-driven firm that will work one-on-one with clients to develop a personalized defense strategy that seeks as favorable a result as possible. Whether you have been charged with DWI or a drug-related offense, Attorney Louis G. DeAngelis can help.
Charged with Driving While Intoxicated?
New Jersey prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence or with a BAC of .08% or greater, where “under the influence” refers to a substantial deterioration of the mental faculties or physical capabilities. Be aware that a vehicle owner can also get a DWI conviction for permitting an intoxicated person to operate the owner’s vehicle. In such a case, though, there must be evidence of intent to drive but not actual movement of the vehicle.
The penalties for a first offense include up to 30 days in jail, $250-$400 in fines, 12-48 hours in the state’s Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) Program, and license revocation for 3 months. The penalties will increase for subsequent offenses and/or if the vehicle was carrying a passenger under 18 years of age, often called a “disorderly persons” offense.
New Jersey operates under implied consent laws, which enables a law enforcement officer to request drivers to submit to a BAC test. It is best to simply submit to a test, because unlawful refusal could lead to enhanced penalties:
- 7 months to 1 year license revocation;
- $300-$500 in fines;
- IID use for 6 months to 1 year for a first offense; and
- an annual insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for 3 years.
Note that New Jersey has statutory limitations in place for DWIs depending on whether the offense is a first, second, or third offense. If a DWI incident occurs more than 10 years after a former first offense, the incident will be penalized as a first offense, and a third offense where none of the prior offenses were within the last 10 years will be penalized as a second offense.
Accused of Intent to Sell?
In New Jersey, individuals can be charged with drug distribution merely for their intent to do so. Admissible evidence for having an intent to distribute drugs could be if a person possesses a digital scale, large amounts of baggies, lists of retail distributors, or other evidence.
Note that since the law does not specifically define what “intent” actually means, this can often be a good point that a defend attorney can argue in court. For example, the prosecution may attempt to prove that the amount of the drug in possession was too much for personal use and therefore intended to be sold.
Note that penalties are not diminished by the fact that it may be a person’s first offense; a first-time charge of selling drugs can still result in being sent to jail. However, a first-time offender may be eligible for a diversionary program (Pre-Trial Intervention or Conditional Discharge) to avoid conviction, depending on the level of charge and other circumstances.
The sentencing for intent to sell is the same as the sentencing for drug distribution, which takes into account the weight of any adulterants or dilutants. Heroin or cocaine are classified by the following:
- 5 oz. or more – first degree crime punishable by 10-20 years in prison
- 0.5 oz. to 5 oz. – second degree offense punishable by 5-10 years in prison
- Less than 0.5 oz. – third degree crime punishable by 3-5 years in prison
The classification for marijuana includes:
- 25 lbs. or more, 50 or more plants, or more than 5 lbs. of hashish/concentrate: first degree crime punishable by 10-20 years in prison and/or $300,000 in fines
- 5 lbs. to 25 lbs., 10-50 plants, or 1 lb. to 5 lbs. of hashish/concentrate – second degree offense punishable by 5-10 years in jail and/or $150,000 in fines
- 1 oz. to 5 lbs. or 5 g. to 1 lbs. of hashish/concentrate – third degree crime carrying 3-5 years in prison and/or $25,000 in fines
- Less than 1 oz. or less than 5 g. of hashish/concentrate – fourth degree crime punishable by 1.5 years in jail and/or $25,000 in fines
Be aware that an individual may face enhanced penalties for intent to sell within a school zone. If the marijuana distribution occurred within 1,000 feet of a school zone, the defendant could possible face an additional 3-5 years in prison and/or $150,000 in fines.
Consequences of Drug Distribution Offenses
When it comes to penalties in New Jersey, there is no distinction between actually selling drugs and possession with intent to distribute. Drug distribution offenses are classified according to the type of substance and amount allegedly distributed, including the weight of any adulterants or dilutants.
In addition to the above classifications, Schedule I or II narcotics are classified under the following penalties:
- 1 oz. or more – second degree offense punishable by 5-10 years in prison
- Less than 1 oz. – third degree crime punishable by 3-5 years in prison
Distribution of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) will warrant 5-10 years in prison (a second degree offense) for an amount less than 100 milligrams or where the amount is undetermined.
For distribution of methamphetamine, individuals could face the following:
- 5 oz. or more – first degree crime carrying 10-20 years in prison
- 0.5 oz. to 5 oz. – second degree offense carrying 5-10 years in prison
- Less than 0.5 oz. – third degree crime with 5-10 years in prison
Note that some convictions for selling drugs or possession with intent to sell drugs in the state are eligible for expungement if they are third or fourth degree indictable offenses. Individuals must wait 6 years, though, after the completion of any sentencing and payment of fines before applying.
Seek a Strong Defense. Call (201) 254-8484!
If you have been charged with a crime in Essex County, speak with an experienced attorney immediately to begin working on your defense. Whether the alleged offense is DWI- or drug-related, the Law Office of Louis G. DeAngelis, LLC can take on your case. Put a serious and results-driven attorney on your side.
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