As a parent of a minor child, you should be aware that there are criminal penalties attached to a marijuana possession conviction for juveniles in New Jersey. Without a qualified juvenile attorney who is trained in these specific areas of law, your child could be looking at serious fines, jail time and loss of a driver’s license. Consider for a moment how difficult it would be for your young son or daughter to obtain a part-time job or a college recommendation with this charge against him or her. If you reside in Ocean or Monmouth County, there are lawyers experienced with defending marijuana charges ready to help you. As a responsible parent, call Villani & DeLuca to speak with an attorney regarding the nature of the charge and what can be done to assist you and your child.
Minors Possessing Marijuana
Depending on how much marijuana the juvenile is carrying, the charges vary in NJ. According to NJ.S.A. 2c:35-10(4), if your son or daughter has 50 grams of marijuana or less and is not attempting to sell the drug, they can be found guilty of a disorderly persons offense. This charge comes with penalties that could result in your son or daughter spending up to six months in a juvenile detention center. That’s six months of Point Pleasant and Asbury Park beach parties they are missing. They could be missing six months of school at Brick Memorial or Toms River Regional High School. Don’t allow your minor to lose six month of his or her teenage years.
That’s the low level scenario. The charges only get more serious. If your son or daughter is caught with more than 50 grams, under N. J.S.A. 2C:35-10(3) they will be charged with a fourth degree crime. If your son is standing on the corner in Red Bank holding a friend’s bag and the bag is found to have more than 50 grams of marijuana in it, then your child will be charged with this offense. For this crime, the penalty could be one year in a detention center and a fine of $25,000.00. The parent of the adolescent is responsible for paying the fine.
There are other options the court can use instead of time in a detention center. Your child may be released to you for supervision or may be placed in a rehabilitation center somewhere in New Jersey. The center may not be in Belmar or Long Branch, so in addition to following the visitation schedule, you could be looking at a drive from Brick or Red Bank to wherever the center is located. What parent needs that added to their daily list of things to do?
Finally, a court could require community service, outpatient rehab programs or vocational education programs as part of the consequences for the youth’s action. These penalties all lead to more work, both for you and your child. However, a good lawyer may be able to use N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-43 to get the complaint against your minor child dismissed.
Do You Have a Juvenile Dealing Marijuana?
If your child has been charged with what is known as possession with intent to distribute, which is N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b), then your son or daughter has just opened up a whole new can of worms for you to deal with. Depending on where he or she is caught in this transaction and how much the sold marijuana weighs, the charges can vary. In all cases, these charges are severe.
If your minor has less than one ounce to sell, then they can face up to one year in a detention center. This is the maximum penalty for this crime in the fourth degree. If they have an ounce to five pounds on them when they are selling, the charge is a crime in the third degree. Now, they are looking at two years in the center and you are looking at a fine of $25,000. Two years is a long time to be away from downtown Red Bank or the Asbury Park boardwalk.
As the amount progresses, so do the charges. Five to twenty five pounds is a second degree crime. That’s three years and additional fines. If your underage son or daughter is caught with more than twenty five pounds of marijuana, then they will be charged with the maximum level, which is a first degree offense. You will be paying up to $300,000 in fines and your child will be shipped off to a detention center for up to four years. They can forget about sunbathing at Point Pleasant Beach or riding the waves in Belmar for a long time.
Was Your Minor Selling or in Possession of Marijuana in a School Zone?
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, this charge is quite a serious offense. Having marijuana on school grounds or even within 1,000 feet of any property, structure or building used for any school purposes carries a severe sentence. It does not matter if your child claims that he or she did not know they were near Long Branch High School or Ocean County College. They are still hit with one of the charges above, depending on weight, and they will be required to perform 100 hours of community service as well.
Is Your Child Aware of the Presence of Marijuana?
Many minors are unaware of the NJ statute N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. This allows the state to charge a minor child with possession of marijuana if he or she is aware of the presence of marijuana and is planning to either use it or sell it. If your adolescent is at a party in Toms River and knows there is marijuana at the party, he or she can be charged if that marijuana is discovered. If the state can show that there was intention to smoke or sell, then your child has committed a crime.
Possession of Marijuana Equipment
Don’t walk down the streets of Red Bank or Asbury Park with a pipe or bong. Don’t be caught in Brick with rolling papers or a bowl. Even if these items contain no marijuana residue and have been purchased for “decorative” purposes, your juvenile can be charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2 with drug paraphernalia possession. In order to be found guilty of this charge, the minor must be shown to have had intent to use the object in question as marijuana equipment. The punishment is six months in a detention center, but this charge can be difficult to prove. If this happens to your child, contact Villani & DeLuca right away for legal advice.
Villani & DeLuca Can Help Protect Your Child’s Rights
New Jersey is seeing a crackdown on marijuana offenses, especially for underage children right now. The shore communities of Ocean and Monmouth County do not want to see drugs or drug-related paraphernalia on their streets or in their communities and are quick to report these suspected offenses. Do not let your child face these harsh consequences alone. If you live in Ocean County or Monmouth County, call Villani & DeLuca to discuss your child’s options and protect his or her future from being harmed by a drug charge.