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How the Prosecution Builds a Case to Obtain a Conviction for a Marijuana Offense

Please note: In the 2020 election, New Jersey residents voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. The law is still developing, so if you are facing any kind of marijuana charges please call our office at 908-643-6801 or reach out online to discuss how this may affect your case.

In order to obtain a conviction for a marijuana offense, the prosecution has to prove certain elements. Elements are like building blocks and all of them are required for a guilty verdict. The prosecution must prove each element of its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and if the defense counsel can introduce enough doubt to knock even one of the elements below the reasonable doubt threshold, the charges must be dismissed. My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, a marijuana defense lawyer with extensive experience fighting marijuana cases. My prior experience as a former prosecutor has given me a high winning success rate for my marijuana clients. I know what the prosecution needs to obtain a conviction, and I know how to make sure that doesn’t happen.

If you have been charged with possession or distribution of marijuana do not hesitate to call an experienced and knowledgeable attorney for your
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Elements of the Case

There are three elements that the prosecution must prove in order to obtain a conviction for marijuana distribution. In addition to the elements below, the prosecution must also prove the amount of marijuana in order to show that the degree of crime charged is justified.

  • The defendant intended to possess marijuana:
    The prosecution must first prove that the defendant had the state-of-mind to commit the crime. First, the defendant must have been aware that the substance he possessed was marijuana. Second, the prosecution must show that the defendant possessed the drug with the intention of distributing it. If the defense counsel can show EITHER that the defendant did not know the substance in his possession was marijuana or that he did not have intent to distribute it, the charges must be dismissed.
  • The defendant did possess marijuana:
    The prosecution must show that the marijuana was actually in the defendant’s possession. Possession can be actual or constructive. Constructive possession occurs when the defendant doesn’t have the marijuana on his person, but he knows about it, has the intent to possess it, and exercises some type of control over it. An example of control might be if the marijuana is in a box and the defendant has a key to that box. Thus, even though the drug is not actually on his person, it is in his possession.
  • The defendant possessed the marijuana with the intent to distribute it:
    Finally it must be shown that the defendant had the drug for the purpose of distributing it. All the defense counsel must do to knock out this element is to introduce evidence that casts a doubt on the defendant’s purpose. Once it is unclear what the defendant intended to use the drug for, the prosecution has not proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt and the charges must be dismissed.

Affirmative Defenses

In addition to knocking out the above elements, there are many complex defenses that your attorney may assert on your behalf in order to defeat the prosecution’s case. When asserting affirmative defenses, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. This means that the defense counsel has to prove the truth of the defense beyond a reasonable doubt. As a former prosecutor, I have experience proving elements beyond a reasonable doubt, and I have been successfully asserting defenses against marijuana charges for over 35 years.

A Rigorous Defense

I am dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals accused of marijuana offenses in Union County and throughout New Jersey. I will carefully scrutinize the evidence, and check the actions of law enforcement officials to put on a rigorous defense on your behalf. I have an extremely high success rate trying marijuana offenses for my clients, and I have confidence that whatever the facts of your case, I can make a big impact on the consequences you face.

If you have questions about your charge, please contact me at 908-643-6801 . I will provide you with a free initial consultation and answer any questions you may have about your case, I am here to help you.

For more information on Marijuana laws in New Jersey, visit my other marijuana pages:

The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo law firm defends individuals accused of marijuana offenses throughout New Jersey, Middlesex County, Essex County, including all the towns of Union County, Elizabeth, Westfield, Cranford, Garwood, Mountainside, Linden, Rahway, Clark, Roselle, Roselle Park, Springfield, Kenilworth, Union, Rahway and Scotch Plains.