About 3 months I was hired to defend a client charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and possession of CDS in a motor vehicle. The charges originated out of Newark.
My client was a first offender, and as such, he was conditionally discharge eligible. However, given certain extenuating circumstances, the conditional discharge program would be a problem. The condition discharge program is usually a good option for those facing first time drug offenses because it affords the defendant the opportunity to avoid conviction and license suspension. In this particular case, it was not a viable option.
Therefore, we had to contest the charges, thus exposing my client to up to a 2 and a half year loss of license, a criminal conviction for drugs, and a fine of up to $1000.
This matter was a case study in diligently pursing the procedural aspects of a criminal matter. I say this because when a criminal defense lawyer takes the proper steps to protect his clients rights pre-trial, then a disposition like the one reached here may result, without having to expose a client to the harsh possibility of a guilty verdict.
In many instances, a criminal case (and DWI cases) may boil down to deadlines. It is frequently the responsibility of a good criminal lawyer to create those deadlines. More importantly, it is his duty to monitor those dates, and seek to enforce them through motion practice.
In this case, I did just that, and it paid off, as the State was unable to proceed on the criminal complaint, and agreed to dismiss the other charges as a result.