Four men have been accused of drug crimes in New Jersey, with one also being accused of a weapons crime in the state. Their arrests took place on a recent Sunday afternoon. However, those who face charges related to drug or gun crimes are presumed innocent until and unless prosecutors can prove otherwise in a court of law.
According to authorities, the four men were in a car when police pulled the automobile over at about 12:30 p.m. Police said they pulled the men over after noticing that a couple of them were not wearing their safety belts. Officers said they then smelled marijuana in the car and also discovered a pistol that was loaded.
Other items reportedly found in the car include what appeared to be marijuana, along with vape cigarettes featuring THC residue on the inside. Police said they also found blue pills in the automobile. One of the men was charged with unlawfully possessing the handgun, and all of them faced charges of possessing drugs.
Those accused of committing gun crimes in New Jersey have the right to proceed to trial to fight these charges. At trial, prosecutors have to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt before any conviction can happen. This standard is in place with the goal of preventing innocent people from being convicted of, and thus sentenced for, crimes they did not commit. However, depending on the weight of the evidence that prosecutors intend to present at trial, it might be in the defendant's best interest to pursue a plea agreement with prosecutors instead of going to trial. A plea deal may result in a lesser charge and thus a lighter sentence compared with what the defendant may receive at trial if found guilty.
Source: lancasteronline.com, "Police charge 4 Lancaster men after stop outside Holland Tunnel", Lindsey Blest, Feb. 5, 2018