A Recent Change in Strategy Used to Fight Drug Possession Cases

Laboratory reports are an essential element in drug related Court matters. In order for the State to prove their case, the State must have the drugs seized tested in a laboratory and provide those results to the defense. The laboratory results identify if the substance tested is in fact a CDS (controlled dangerous substance). Recently New Jersey laboratories where CDS is tested, are overwhelmed and understaffed, and the system has become backlogged. As a result, many individuals Court dates have been adjourned by the Courts for several months after the initial arrest, due to the delay in the State obtaining the required lab results. Being that the backlog has had a significant effect on Municipal and Superior Courts; the Office of the Attorney General has announced that the New Jersey State Police are taking steps in order to tackle this issue. The State Police Office of Forensic Science is aiming to hire many more laboratory scientists. These technicians will be required to undergo rigorous training in order to accurately perform their duties. The hiring process is expected to take place this month and into early 2018. Doing so should improve the efficiency rate in which the State Police provides the defense with the laboratory results of tested substances.

The State has the responsibility to provide legal counsel with complete discovery for each matter when requested. Our law offices always requests accident or investigative reports, police department reports, blood or chemical test results (if applicable) and any other reports made out by arresting authorities or any other authority concerning our client. Additionally, we request any copies of video or audio confiscated at the time of arrest or in-station. In regards to drug related matters, the burden is on the State to provide laboratory results to the defense. If the State does not produce the laboratory results, there is a weakness in their case. If they do provide lab results, our law offices always object to the results we receive because there may be errors in the lab results. Under N.J.S.A 2C:35-19, a defendant who provides an objection to admission of a marijuana lab certificate can compel live testimony of a human being, such as the analyst or a surrogate for the analyst. The State has the burden to have their laboratory technicians provide testimony regarding their testing procedures. If the technician does not appear for testimony, the defense attorney can request that the case be dismissed.

Our law offices are equipped with the knowledge and resources to handle drug related matters effectively given the backlog in the system. Our office will repeatedly go to Court and challenge the State if they do not provide laboratory reports. Sometimes the Court will then dismiss the matter against our client. In other cases, the prosecutor will offer our client a more favorable result, as we demonstrate to the prosecutor that their case has many weaknesses. Our law office will take the necessary steps to argue for a case to be dismissed for our clients. If you find yourself charged with a drug-related crime, call our offices at (732) 249-9933 to set up a complimentary consultation today.