Drug Possession Charges In Superior Court Barred By Same Evidence Test
- February 15, 2016
- No comments
During an undercover drug operation, Rodney Miles was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of school property (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(12)) as well as a petty disorderly persons offense of possession of under 50 grams of marijuana (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a). While lodged in the Camden County Jail, following indictment, the defendant appeared pro se, waiving his right to counsel, via video conference from the county jail and entered into a guilty plea for the disorderly persons offense of possession of under 50 grams of marijuana after it was downgraded to the offense of loitering to possess marijuana (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2(b)(1)). During the colloquy during which the plea was entered, Miles attempted to obtain clarification with regard to the specific matter on which he was appearing, and whether charges would remain in the Superior Court following the plea. It was very apparent, from the responses offered by the judge, that the municipal court judge did not understand the questions asked by the defendant regarding his remaining charges. Thereafter, In State v. Miles, Miles sought dismissal of the charges pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County based on double jeopardy as he had entered a guilty plea to charges stemming from the same event. In State v. Salter, 425 N.J. Super. 504 (App. Div. 2012), the court interpreted the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as Article I, 11 of the New Jersey Constitution as protecting against a second prosecution following acquittal or conviction and multiple punishments for a single offense or set of events. In State v. Dively, 92 N.J. 573 (1982), the court held the Constitutional protections to be applicable in the municipal court. Although the court held that fundamental fairness pursuant to the defendant’s argument grounded on State v. Yoskowitz, 116 N.J. 679 (1989) was not applicable, any subsequent prosecution in the Superior Court was barred under the same evidence test set forth in State v. Salter. The Court held that the municipal court plea resolved all charges stemming from the defendant’s arrest. Drug charges can destroy your future and, if you have prior drug charges, you are subject to harsher sentences each time. If you are facing charges for drug possession or distribution you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. For more information about controlled dangerous substances (CDS), distribution, possession, under the influence, paraphernalia or CDS in a motor vehicle visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.