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“Possession for Unlawful Purpose” Charges

July 25, 2016 | Posted In Criminal Law

Under New Jersey law, it is unlawful for any person to possess drug paraphernalia with the intent to introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance.

This may seem like a very simple statute, but in application, it can become very complex. Make sure to contact one of our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers immediately after your arrest for help with clarifying the situation and to ensure your rights are protected.

Unlawful substances under this statute can mean a wide variety of drugs, including prescription drugs and instruments used to ingest such drugs. However, issues often arise as to exactly who had possession of the drugs or paraphernalia at the time of arrest.  

Remember that it is important for you to never admit to ownership of drugs or drug paraphernalia and remember you do not have to volunteer any information to the police without an attorney present.  

What is the Penalty For an Unlawful Possession Conviction?

Depending on the circumstances, a conviction under the possession for unlawful purpose statute can have significant consequences. For example, if you have a lengthy criminal history or a drug possession history, penalties can increase. Possession of controlled dangerous substances or paraphernalia can subject an individual to a mandatory loss of his or her driver’s license (with some exceptions) for a period ranging from six months to two years. Furthermore, a prosecuting attorney, judge and jury would consider other factors, such as whether there was a violent act committed along with the possession charge.

What Should I Do if I am Being Arrested for Unlawful Possession?

The American Civil Liberties Union (the “ACLU”) provides these tips for interacting with police officers.

  • You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
  • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
  • You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
  • Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

Always remember to remain as calm and be as polite as possible. Police officers are humans and they have fears and concerns when making an arrest. The ACLU also reminds you that you should not interfere with or obstruct the police or give false statements and/or documents.

How Can an Attorney Help if I Have Been Arrested on an Unlawful Possession Charge?

The American Bar Association reminds us that when people are taken into custody, before they are questioned, they must be informed that anything they say may be held against them in a court of law, and that they have the right to remain silent. You have the right to consult with a lawyer before and during questioning.

One of the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, P.A. can help you protect your rights. If you have been arrested and charged with possession for unlawful purpose or any other crime, remember your rights, remain calm and contact us immediately.

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