NJ.com reports this week that a NJ State Police lab technician named Kamalkant Shah may have faked or failed to test marijuana and other CDS (Controlled Dangerous Substances) such as heroin and cocaine in as many as 7800 recent cases.
This is big news, because many of these cases may now be able to be re-opened and the charges possibly dismissed (and any fines paid refunded), as well as having criminal records wiped clean.
Sadly, the news will mostly only affect cases in which the defendant was represented by an attorney. That’s because when represented by a competent NJ drug defense attorney on a charge of NJSA 2C:35 10(a)(4)(marijuana under 50 grams) or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)
Yet far too many people plead guilty and makes the State’s job easy. Unless you demand the alleged drugs be tested by the State crime lab, the State will not do so. You are then pleading guilty to a charge that the State has not (and may not have been able) to prove, had you had a skilled NJ Drug Defense attorney handle your case.
You see, the State of NJ bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the substances/drugs you are caught with are indeed what the police say they are. However, the State is only required to provide the lab test results if they are demanded in a formal written request for discovery, which must be served upon the Municipal Court Prosecutor early in your court case.
I have many clients call me and inquire about hiring me for their charges of NJSA 2C:35 10(a)(4)(marijuana under 50 grams) or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)
The answer to that question depends on whether you want a chance to beat the charges (and potentially save thousands in fines, avoid having a criminal record, plus the hassle of probation, random drug testing for 6 to 12 months, possible driver’s license suspension, and being put in jail).
A skilled and experienced NJ defense attorney can do a lot for your case, including:
1. Determine whether the police had probable cause to search your person or vehicle,
2. Demand all alleged drugs be tested at the State Police Crime Lab,
3. Examine all documents which establish the chain of custody of the drug evidence,
4. Obtain and review all mobile video (i.e, the video recording of your traffic stop from the police car’s mobile camera system).
5. File and argue a Motion to Suppress Evidence to attempt to have the drug evidence ruled inadmissible due to procedural defects in the way the evidence was obtained, handled, and tested.
6. Speak to the Municipal Prosecutor prior to trial and attempt to negotiate a plea to a lower charge and have some charges dropped altogether in exchange for the plea to the lesser charge.
7. Get you in and out of Court much quicker, as attorney cases are handled first in Municipal Court, which is often very busy and crowded. I have had cases where the Client only had to spend 15 to 30 minutes in Court to have their case resolved, vs. many hours for persons not represented by an attorney.
I have 11 years of experience handling these cases in Municipal Courts all over the State of New Jersey, and a phone consultation about your case is always free of charge. Put my experience and dedication to work for YOUR case today!
The best part of all of this is that hiring an attorney is not as expensive as you think, especially when you consider that an attorney may be able to have some of your charges dropped altogether, saving you substantial money on fines. So give me a call today at 908-782-5313 (even on nights or weekends) to discuss your drug possession, DWI, or serious traffic offense case. If I don’t pick up, leave your message and I’ll return you call usually within an hour or so.