First of all, understand that because the peace officer found the baggie on you, it is presumed to be yours
. Unless one of your friends steps up and admits that it actually belonged to them, that presumption may stick.
You are charged with "disorderly
person" offense. Possession of 50 grams or less is a "Disorderly Person" offense punishable by a maximum sentence
of 6 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. Section 2C:5-10(a)(4) of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
. However, understand that this is THE MAXIMUM sentence one can get. Very rarely is this actually imposed, especially if this is your first offense.
"WHAT DO I NEED TO DO"
Someone in your situation either needs to (1) retain counsel or (2) ask the Court
for a public defender if you cannot afford one. However, the Court will expect you to have attempted to try to find an attorney you can afford, so, do collect the cards of whomever you speak with to be able to demonstrate to the Court that you have spoken with several attorneys. If you still simply cannot find one that you can afford, the Court may appoint a public defender.
May I recommend the NJ Bar referral program - here
. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP. many will work on payment plans.
CHOICE TO MAKE
Now, once this is done, you will have a choice:
1) make a plea deal; or
2) go to trial
If you make a plea deal, it will be off whatever the prosecutor and your attorney negotiate and you agree to. You also may be eligible for a deferred adjudication program called a conditional discharge. This is typically reserved for first time marijuana possession offenders, and it means that the charge is essentially dropped, with no conviction, in exchange for a probation period that is completed successfully.
Or, you can go to trial, but if you do, claiming "it was not mine even though it was on me" is unlikely to be a good defense, I am afraid.
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