Reports in the media appear to suggest that the New Jersey Attorney General will announce that the way in which marijuana prosecutions are handled in municipal court will soon change.
Marijuana cases that have previously been handled in municipal court were not permitted to be downgraded based upon prosecutorial discretion. In other words, regardless of the compelling individual circumstances of an individual charged with a marijuana offense, the marijuana charges could not be downgraded. The two options for the individual were to fight the charges based upon a legal defense or enter a program known as the conditional discharge program. The conditional discharge program is a program that puts an individual on probation for 1 year and requires drug testing. It also requires more than $500.00 in fines. The conditional discharge program did permit marijuana charges to be dismissed if the program was successfully completed. This program was only available to first time offenders which means that anyone who had previously been convicted of a marijuana offense or other drug offense was not be eligible for the program.
It appears that a new directive will allow prosecutors to downgrade and dismiss marijuana charges based upon the individual circumstances of the offense and the individual who was charged with the marijuana possession. This could mean that the conditional discharge program, or a successfully raised legal defense may no longer be the only way in which a marijuana case may be dismissed. The new directive may permit a prosecutor to look at the individual and the circumstances surrounding the arrest and decide to dismiss the matter in the interest of justice.
If you or someone you know would like to speak to one of our attorneys about a marijuana arrest, contact our law firm day or night. Our attorneys represent individuals who are charged with marijuana possession throughout New Jersey. We offer a free initial consultation.