Growing Marijuana Plants is Distribution of Drugs:
Growing your own weed in New Jersey illegal and could send you to prison. Although possession of week is allowed up to 6 ounces the plant is not. Their is no simple possession of a marijuana plant. The penalties are as follows and goes by the number of plants:
Up to 10 Plants: Third-degree crime:
- Jail time: 3 to 5 Years
- Fine: up to $25,000.00
- Probation as determined by the Court
10 or more Plaints up to 50 Plaints: 2nd Degree Crime:
- Jail time: 5 to 10 year
- Fine: Up to $150,000.00
- Probation as determined by the Court
50 or more Plants: 1st Degree Crime:
- Jail time: Up to 20 Years
- Fine: Up to $300,000.00
Possession For Personal Use up to 6 ounces is Legal in NJ. a But if you try to sell (distribute) even less than one ounce in NJ you Face up to 18 Months in Jail* and More Time if you had More:
- Intent to sell/distribute less than 1 ounce of marijuana: a fourth degree crime, including penalties of up to 18 months in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000
- Intent to sell 1 ounce to 5 pounds of marijuana: a third degree crime, which may be punished by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
- Distributing between 5 pounds and 25 pounds of marijuana: a second degree crime and carries up to 10 year prison sentence and a maximum $150,000 fine
- Over 25 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute: a first degree crime punishable by up to 20 years in NJ State Prison and a fine of $300,000
- Related Offense: Intent to Distribute Marijuana in a School Zone: this is a separate offense and is more serious than simple possession of marijuana in a school zone. You will be charged with a third degree crime, punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum term that must be served before becoming eligible for parole and a fine of up to $150,000.
*For the intent to distribute or sell less than one ounce, the defendant will not be arrested for a first offense. Instead, police are supposed to issue a warning to the offender. However if you have had a prior warning or prior conviction the individual is supposed to be charged with the fourth degree crime for marijuana distribution.
What Does NJ Consider The Distribution of Drugs:
Except as authorized by (statute), it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or purposely... to possess or have under his control with intent to... distribute a controlled dangerous substance, this definition of drugs includes plants:
The various kinds of substances are defined in another part of our NJ Law such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana etc. However no matter the illegal substance, the elements which the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to establish guilt of the defendant on this charge generally are as follows:
- The substance obtained is in fact an illegal drug or substance analog.
- The defendant possessed, or had under (his/her) control, said drugs or analog.
- The defendant, when (he/she) possessed or had under (his/her) control S in evidence, had the intent to distribute said drugs.
- That the defendant acted knowingly or purposefully in possessing or having under(his/her) control with intent to distribute said drugs.
In regard to the first element, a "controlled substance analog" is a substance which (1) has a chemical structure substantially similar to that of a controlled dangerous substance and (2) was specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to that of a controlled substance. Thus if you did not have the actual drug the prosecution will try to establish this element that the substance has a substantially similar chemical structure to the controlled dangerous substance and that it was specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to the controlled dangerous substance .
In regard that the defendant had the intent to distribute drugs, "distribute" means the transfer, actual, constructive or attempted, transfer from one person to another of a controlled dangerous substance (or controlled substance analog). It is not necessary that the drugs be transferred in exchange for payment or promise of payment of money or anything of value.
"Intent" means a purpose to do something, a resolution to do a particular act or accomplish a certain thing. Intent is a state of mind, and it is very rare that intent is proven by witnesses who can testify that an accused said (he/she) had a certain intent when (he/she) engaged in a particular act. The intention may be gathered from a person's acts, conduct, from all the person said and did at the particular time and place, and from all of the surrounding circumstances. (Example intent can be proven by actions such as being caught in your car with 25 grams of marijuana in 25 individual 1 gram baggies with a scale also being found in the car)
The Court will consider the quantity, purity, and packaging together with all the other evidence in the case to aid in the determination of the element of intent to distribute.
In regard to the fourth element, the State must prove, that the defendant acted knowingly or purposefully in having under (his/her) control or possessing drugs with intent to distribute.
A person acts knowingly with respect to the nature of (his/her) conduct or the attendant circumstances if (he/she) is aware that (his/her) conduct is of that nature, or that such circumstances exist, or (he/she) is aware of a high probability of their existence. A person acts knowingly with respect to a result of (his/her) conduct if he is aware that it is practically certain that (his/her) conduct will cause such a result. "Knowing," "with knowledge" or equivalent terms have the same meaning.
A person acts purposely with respect to the nature of (his/her) conduct or a result thereof if it is (his/her) conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result. A person acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances if (he/she) is aware of the existence of such circumstances of (he/she) believes or hopes that they exist. "With purpose," "designed," "with design" or equivalent terms have the same meaning.
The terms "knowingly" and "purposefully," like intent, refer to conditions of the mind that cannot be seen. It is not necessary for the State to prove the existence of such mental states by direct evidence such as a statement by the defendant that (he/she) had particular knowledge or a particular purpose. Knowledge and purpose as separate propositions of proof do not usually exist. Thus this must ordinarily be proven from circumstantial evidence; that is, by reference to the defendant's conduct, words or acts and all the surrounding circumstances.
2C:35-5 grades this offense for sentencing purposes by the type, quantity and purity of the CDS involved. In certain cases, the defendant is guilty of an offense regardless of the quantity and purity of the CDS distributed. Please call our office at 1-800-974-4487 to set up a free consultation so that we can determine whether you have been appropriately charged with the correct violation and offense. We have found that many times a defendant is improperly charged with the wrong offense or grade and faces penalties higher than need be.
How A Distribution Drug Charge Is Proven In New Jersey
For the State of New Jersey to prove someone distributed drugs, the prosecutor will have to provide expert testimony. Generally the testimony of a police officer or detective, will be used to prove that the person charged did intend to distribute the alleged drugs. The expert testimony is a necessary element of the charge as the average juror may not understand the significance of drug packaging, cutting agents, baggies, stash sites and the roles that each one of these plays in a drug distribution case in NJ. This is the best area in which a defense lawyer can attack the states case in regards to the alleged distribution charge because of a 2016 case State vs. Simms 224 NJ 393. This case held that an expert should not be permitted to testify on any ultimate issue and that this issue is to be decided by the trier of fact. Thus, the testimony must be for the purpose of informing the jury facts that are beyond the knowledge of the average person (juror)
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