Margate Drug Possession Defense Lawyer

Table of Contents

    Drug possession charges can put you in jail, cost you thousands of dollars, and leave you with reduced prospects for jobs, loans, education, and more.  Fighting drug possession charges often takes an experienced lawyer, and we can be the ones to fight for you.

    Our attorneys can help you challenge warrants and searches, question issues of possession, and fight the charges you face.  With our help, you may be able to get jail time reduced or avoided entirely – or potentially even get a “not guilty” verdict.

    Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 616-4956 for a free case assessment with our drug possession defense attorneys.

    Elements of Drug Possession Charges in Margate, NJ

    Drug possession charges usually come in two types: “simple possession,” which penalizes possession of drugs for your own use, and “possession with the intent to distribute” or PWID, which penalizes possession of drugs for the purpose of giving or selling them to others.  The elements are essentially the same between the two, except that PWID has a different intent element.  Our drug possession defense attorneys can parse through the charges against you and seek to have charges dismissed if any of the necessary elements are missing from your case.


    Both crimes have the element of possession, in that the police and prosecutors need to show that you knowingly possessed the items.  If you were unaware that there were drugs in your backpack or if someone dropped a baggie in your car, that should not be a crime because you never even knew you had them.

    Possession can be proved in two ways: through “actual possession” or “constructive possession.”

    With actual possession, the police find the drugs on your person.  That means in your pocket, in the bag on your shoulder, down your pants, or otherwise “on you.”

    Constructive possession is when you have drugs but not physically on your person.  This could mean finding drugs in your car, in your closet, in your freezer, inside a couch cushion, or somewhere else you might have stashed them or stored them.  To prove this, prosecutors must show that you knew the drugs were in the location and that you had access to them.  This can often lead to possession charges for drugs stored in a communal area or in the open.  For example, if your friends brought drugs over and had them out on the table, you would have knowledge that they were there and access to them, potentially leading to charges for you even if they were not “your drugs.”  However, drugs stored in a safe that you do not have the combination to or secretly stowed in a roommate’s closet would not count for constructive possession purposes for you.


    For simple possession, the intent element usually covers personal use.  Thus, if you have them for your own use, that should be simple possession only.

    If you have drugs with the intent to give them or sell them to someone else, then you could face charges for PWID.  Police cannot read your mind and know your intent, so they have to use circumstantial evidence to prove intent.  For example, if you had the drugs stored in individual baggies with a list of recipients, amounts to deliver, and prices to charge them, it would be pretty clear that you meant to sell those drugs.  Police look for other similar evidence, such as individual amounts, scales, baggies, vials, large amounts of cash, guns, burner phones, and other evidence that you might be subdividing, selling, or moving the drugs in question.


    The same charges for simple possession can also be issued if you are caught actually using the drugs you possess.

    Actual Delivery

    The same charges for PWID can be issued if you are caught actually giving the drugs to someone else, whether in exchange for money or not.  Police often use “controlled buys,” where an undercover officer or confidential informant sets up the buy to get proof of actual delivery instead of relying on less reliable proof of your intent to deliver.

    Drug Composition

    If what you have is not a drug, then you cannot be charged with drug possession.  For example, if the police arrest you for having a baggie of white powder that you insist is just a baking ingredient, those charges should never stick when the test result comes back showing it was indeed baking powder.

    However, there are also charges for possession and distribution of “imitation” drugs.  For example, if you are caught with baggies of white powder outside a school that you were trying to sell to teens, you can still be charged with a crime when it turns out to be flour.  However, you should not be charged with the same crime as if you actually sold them real cocaine.

    Evidence Suppression for Drug Possession Charges in Margate

    If you are arrested for drug possession crimes, our lawyers can attack each element directly.  If an element of the crime is not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then the case against you should fail.  However, we can also take other steps to remove evidence from the case and otherwise have charges thrown out based on mistakes and issues with the investigation and evidence obtained.

    Suppression for Illegal Searches

    Any evidence obtained in an illegal search is thrown out under a system called “suppression.”  Police are not allowed to use illegally obtained evidence, so the evidence is removed from the case as a penalty to them and as a way of protecting your Fourth Amendment rights.  Any arrests or confessions tied back to the illegal search are also thrown out under a doctrine known as the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine.

    Searches Based on Marijuana Evidence

    Since marijuana possession is legal for small amounts in New Jersey, police are restricted from using the smell of burnt or fresh marijuana as evidence to support probable cause for a search.  This is clarified in a memo from the NJ Attorney General from February 2021, updated most recently in May 2022.  If police find you with an odor of marijuana around you, search you based solely on that odor, and find a legal amount of marijuana alongside illegal cocaine, that whole search and any evidence obtained should be thrown out.

    Call Our Margate Drug Possession Defense Attorneys Today for Help with Your Case

    Call (609) 616-4956 today for a free case review with the drug possession defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych.

    Our Awards & Recognitions

    atlantic city criminal defense lawyer
    atlantic city criminal defense lawyers
    best atlantic city criminal lawyer
    atlantic city criminal lawyer
    atlantic city criminal lawyers
    atlantic city criminal defense lawyer
    atlantic city criminal defense lawyers
    best atlantic city criminal lawyer
    atlantic city criminal lawyer
    atlantic city criminal lawyers

    Recent Articles

    Free and confidential initial consultations are available 24/7.
    Call (609) 445-3533.

    Get a Free Case Review

    Atlantic County Office
    1555 Zion Road Suite 201
    Northfield, NJ 08225
    Toll Free: (866) 330-4951
    Phone: (609) 641-2266
    Fax: (609) 641-3677
    Cape May Office
    106 North Main Street
    Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
    Toll Free: (866) 330-4951
    Phone: (609) 465-6500
    Fax: (609) 641-3677
    Wildwood Office
    3309 New Jersey Avenue
    Wildwood, NJ 08260
    Toll Free: (866) 330-4951
    Phone: (609) 522-3778
    Fax: (609) 641-3677
    Atlantic City Office
    1125 Atlantic Ave Suite 500
    Atlantic City, NJ 08401
    Toll Free: (866) 330-4951
    Phone: (609) 344-9958
    Fax: (609) 641-3677
    Atlantic City criminal lawyer