Possession and Distribution of Drug Paraphernalia Under New Jersey’s Drug Statute
It is a crime of the fourth degree to distribute, possess with intent to distribute or advertise for sale drug paraphernalia. N.J.S.A. 2C:36-3. The penalty for a crime of this nature is a maximum jail term of 18 months and a fine of $10,000. If you deliver and or sell drug paraphernalia to someone under 18 years of age, you have committed a third degree offense, which requires a maximum jail term of 5 years and a fine of up to $15,000. N.J.S.A. 2C:36-5. It is a disorderly persons offense if you merely possess drug paraphernalia and in that case the maximum term of imprisonment is 6 months and the maximum fine is $1,000. N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2.
The term “drug paraphernalia” is broadly defined under the New Jersey’s drug statute. The term includes any equipment, product or material that can allow someone to plant, cultivate, harvest, manufacture, produce, prepare, process, package, ingest, inhale, or introduce into the body a prohibited drug like heroin, cocaine or marijuana. New Jersey’s drug statute specifically lists over 10 separate items that can be considered drug paraphernalia including blenders, bowls. balloons, envelops, hypodermic needles, and all types of smoking devices.
Some of the facts that can be used to determine whether an item is “drug paraphernalia” is (1) statements by the owner; (2) the proximity of the paraphernalia to an illegal drug; (3) the existence of residue in or on the paraphernalia; (4) writing instructions relating to the use of the paraphernalia; (5) advertisement that indicate the paraphernalia’s intended use; (6) the likelihood of using the object for a legitimate purpose; and, (7) expert witness testimony.
In order to prove that an individual distributed or intended to distribute drug paraphernalia the government must show that: (1) the object was drug paraphernalia; (2) that the individual distributed the object or intended to; (3) that the object was going to be used for some illicit purpose in violation of the New Jersey’s drug statute; and, (4) that the individual knew that it was going to be used for that illicit purpose.
The facts needed to prove that guilt where an individual is charged with mere possession of drug paraphernalia are: (1) that the object was drug paraphernalia; and, (2) that the individual used or possessed the object for an illicit purpose in violation of the drug statute.
The government and the courts are seriously committed to a strict enforcement of this section of the drug statute to the extent that a municipal ordinance conceived to allow a municipal social service organization to disseminate clean hypodermic needles to drug addicts was determined invalid because it violated the drug statute and that was so even though the drug statute seemed to authorize a government agency to distribute hypodermic syringes or needles.
To protect your interest, you need to hire a criminal lawyer who has the best experiences with drug related cases. Frank T. Luciano, Esq., has been defending individuals in drug related cases for over 40 years. He has defended hundreds and hundreds of people charged with drug crimes. He is also a lifetime member of National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Law’s (NORML) Legal Committee and a longtime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. To better appreciate his unyielding commitment to his client and his never ending quest to obtain the best possible result in your drug case, visit the Testimonial Section of this website.