My question involves criminal law for the state of: New Jersey
I was in an Atlantic City casino and accidentally left my bag somewhere. Security took it and searched through it and found about 1 gram of marijuana and the bowl I used which counts as paraphernalia. Unfortunately the charges don't appear to differentiate between 1 gram and 40. When I went to claim my bag I was arrested and banned from the property for life. My main priority is to be allowed back into the casino (I'm a poker pro and it was a good portion of my income) and I was told by the head of security that if I can get the charges dropped or reduced to something non drug related they will let me back in.
My arresting officer told me that the DA isn't prosecuting minor marijuana possession charges right now since New Jersey is in the process of legalizing it, and that I should keep asking for postponements until the bill is passed, after which the charges would likely be dropped. My hearing is next week and apparently the procedure is that I speak to the prosecutor about what I want to do first and I'm supposed to ask them directly for the postponement. I just wanted a little clarification about what I should say to them exactly so I don't somehow screw it up.
Should I tell them the same story I've just told you and say that I want to postpone it until the legalization vote takes place as the officer suggested? Or would I be better off saying something like I'm talking to a few different attorneys and haven't been able to decide yet and need more time?
If the latter, what do I do the second time I have to ask for a postponement? Surely they don't allow you to take forever to find a lawyer and would tell me I have to settle it at some point, right?
If it does have to go to trial do you think I would be ok with a public defender? I was hoping not to have to pay a lawyer for such a minor charge, but at the same time it's very important to me to get this dropped or reduced so I can get back to work. I am a first time offender by the way.
Thank you so much for any advice you can offer on my situation.