The use and abuse of cocaine has been a long-standing problem in the State of New Jersey and the United States as whole, perhaps most notably during the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s. Although other drugs have taken the stage during different periods, cocaine has maintained a significant presence and led to countless arrests. In New Jersey, any arrest involving cocaine will result in felony-level charges, exposing you to hefty fines, a period of driver’s license suspension, and a term of incarceration.
Cocaine Possession in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10
It is unlawful to possess any amount of cocaine in New Jersey, and any crime involving cocaine possession is considered a third degree indictable felony. These offenses entail punishments including a 3 to 5-year prison term, a maximum fine of $35,000, and a 6-month period of driver’s license suspension.
It is important to note, however, that third degree crimes entail a presumption of non-incarceration. This allows for viable alternatives to incarceration for first-time offenders, including probation and diversionary programs such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). Upon enrollment in PTI, a defendant’s charges are suspended and ultimately dismissed if the defendant successfully completes program requirements during the probationary period.
Manufacturing, Distributing, or Dispensing Cocaine in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5
With regard to cocaine distribution offenses, the level of severity of these charges is contingent upon the amount, specifically, the measured weight of the substance associated with the alleged offense. The grading of cocaine distribution charges and associated consequences are as follows:
- First Degree Cocaine Distribution: involves 5 or more ounces of cocaine, including any adulterants or dilutants; punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison and a maximum fine of $500,000
- Second Degree Cocaine Distribution: involves cocaine in an amount ranging from 1/2 an ounce to 5 ounces; punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and entails a presumption of incarceration
- Third Degree Cocaine Distribution: involves cocaine in a quantity less than 1/2 an ounce, punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison, as well as a maximum fine of $75,000, and entails a presumption of non-incarceration
Charges for Cocaine Possession or Distribution in Montclair or Essex County NJ?
If you or someone you love is facing charges for cocaine possession or distribution, a seasoned defense attorney can serve as an invaluable asset. Contact Breslow Law Offices for a cost-free consultation.