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.

Starting Your Career?
Clear Your Criminal History

Having a criminal arrest or charge on your record, especially when seeking employment, can limit opportunities for advancement in the future. Criminal charges are a matter of public record, which can appear on the internet and all platforms of social media. As a result, employers are easily able to access your criminal history, and therefore may prematurely reject your application. Even if your charges have been dismissed, the original arrest will still appear on background checks.  An expungement allows the Court to seal your prior criminal history, making it unavailable to employers and agencies that perform background checks through the State or Federal repository. The court rules in NJ mandate a waiting period before individuals become eligible for an expungement. Generally, if you are convicted of a eligible Indicatable Offense, the waiting period is ten (10) years. For a Disorderly Persons offense or a Petty Disorderly Persons Offense, the waiting period is five (5) years.

Fortunately, New Jersey offers an alternative option called an Early Pathway expungement. For crimes or eligible Indictable Offense, the waiting period can be reduced to five (5) years, and three (3) years for a Disorderly Persons offense or a Petty Disorderly Persons Offense.  Our offices have been extremely successful in obtaining these expungements for our clients. In order to file an Early Pathway expungement, it is required to show the Court why it is in their best interest to grant the expungement. Our offices compile a plethora of support to provide to the Court. This includes, but is not limited to, letters of recommendation, a detailed resume, current and previous work history, school transcripts, proof of community service and more. Early pathway expungements allow individuals the opportunity to have their record sealed within half the originally mandated waiting period.

Expungements are extremely beneficial for young adults to obtain as they begin to enter the work force, change careers, or continue onto higher education. New Jersey now allows for participants of Drug Court to have their complete records expungements after the successful completion of the program. Our law offices are fully equipped with the tools to complete all forms of expungements. The waiting process for an expungement to be approved and completed by the Courts and State Police typically ranges from three (3) to six (6) months. Contact our offices at (732) 249-9933 to check your eligibility and begin the expungement process.