The State of New Jersey is tough on drug offenses and has created an extensive list of crimes, from the possession of drugs or paraphernalia to strict liability for drug-induced personal injuries or deaths. With this vast array of potential charges come equally diverse penalties for drug convictions. Penalties can range from driver’s license suspensions to long-term imprisonment. Any of which can have a significant impact on convicted individuals, their families, and their futures.
If you are arrested on a drug offense, you’ll want a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer by your side. The lawyers at the Breslow Law Offices have long-term experience on both sides of the criminal justice system. New Jersey attorneys Roy Breslow and Casey Breslow have more than 45 years of combined experience as NJ prosecutors and now leverage this invaluable experience to defend their clients. To receive a free consultation, contact the Breslow Law Offices at 973-239-8000.
In NJ What is Considered a Controlled Dangerous Substance?
New Jersey refers to controlled dangerous substances as a “CDS” drug. This category encompasses both illegal and prescription drugs, defined as:
- Drugs or substances identified in Schedules I through V
- Substances where distribution is strictly prohibited
- Drugs and substances that, when ingested, are metabolized or dangerous once in the human body.
Alcohol is not considered to be a CDS under New Jersey State Law.
What are NJ Schedules of Controlled Substances?
The State of New Jersey classifies controlled dangerous substances into five categories called schedules.
Schedule I substances: High potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the U.S., and no accepted safe use treatment for medical purposes. (e.g. Schedule I substances include heroin, LSD, mescaline, to name a few).
Schedule II substances: High potential for abuse, has currently accepted medical use in the U.S., can lead to dependence on the CDS if abused (e.g. Schedule II substances include cocaine, fentanyl, methadone, oxycodone, Adderall, Ritalin, to name a few).
Schedule III substances: Potential for abuse but less than Schedules I and II, has a currently accepted medical use in the U.S. and has moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence if abused.
Schedule IV substances: Low potential for abuse, currently has an accepted medical use in the U.S. and has the potential for dependence if abused relative to Schedule III substances.
Schedule V substances: Low potential for abuse, has a currently accepted medical use in the U.S., and limited potential for physical or psychological dependence relative to Schedule IV substances.
Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances in New Jersey
Possession of CDS can result in serious and long-lasting consequences. As former prosecutors, the Breslow attorneys know how the District Attorney’s office will handle or argue any drug case and work hard to ensure our clients receive the best outcome possible.
Drug Possession Charges: What Should I expect in New Jersey?
The New Jersey criminal court system, is complex, and charges related to drug possession and drug paraphernalia can take a long time to resolve because of the many steps involved. If arrested and charged with drug possession, defendants can expect the following process:
First Appearance and Bail
After an arrest occurs, the defendant will receive a notice to appear in court. This date is when a judge will set bail. It’s important to have legal representation at this hearing because a skilled attorney who is well-versed in NJ criminal law can negotiate to have the accused released on their own recognizance or have the lowest possible bail set.
Substance Abuse Evaluation
Defendants are often required to be evaluated for substance abuse. During this evaluation, defendants can be expected to be tested for illegal substances in their system and to discuss their history of drug use. Depending on the outcome, a judge may deem an individual appropriate to a drug treatment program.
This period of time is crucial in any drug criminal case. In the U.S., courts operate on the philosophy of “innocent until proven guilty,” and prosecutors must build a strong case against a defendant. In the meantime, attorneys for defendants will work hard to try to prevent a case from going to trial by having the case dismissed or negotiate to have drug charges reduced in a plea bargain. Some defendants may be eligible for pre-trial intervention (PTI) or an expungement.
Trial and Aftermath
If a case goes to trial and is heard before a jury, the defendant can expect the prosecution to aggressively try to prove the accused is guilty of drug possession. An experienced criminal law attorney will look at possible defenses and build a strong argument against the prosecutor’s case. Being NJ drug laws are strict, turning to a well-versed attorney in criminal offenses as soon as an arrest occurs will help ensure the best possible outcome through all stages of the NJ criminal court system.
Drug Possession With Intent to Distribute
Being convicted of drug possession with intent to distribute charge is a serious matter in NJ. The state makes the assumption if an individual is in possession of a certain amount of illegal substances, including marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, the person planned to distribute the drugs to others. Basically, even if drugs were intended for one’s personal use, that individual can be convicted on a drug distribution charge which can result in significant consequences.
Failure to Make Lawful Disposition In New Jersey – N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(c)
Not only does NJ prohibit persons from possessing drugs, but law enforcement also can issue a criminal charge for failing to hand drugs over to police under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(c). In other words, knowing a substance is present and failing to report it is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey (in many other states disorderly persons offenses would be considered a misdemeanor).
Penalties for Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances
NJ penalties for CDS can vary, depending upon the specific charge and the amount of drugs involved. Individuals facing a conviction can expect to face potential jail time, fines and fees, probation, drug testing, and drug counseling (or classes). On average, drug possession convictions carry a fine of $35,000 and up to 10 years in prison. If arrested, it’s critical to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney because a conviction can impact the rest of both your personal and professional lives.
Contact Us Today to Speak to Our Knowledgeable New Jersey Drug Lawyers
Facing a New Jersey drug crime can be frightening and overwhelming. Regardless of the specific drug offense, defendants can be exposed to harsh consequences and a negative criminal record. People in NJ charged with a drug-related criminal offense need an experienced New Jersey lawyer on their side to ensure they receive a fair trial.
The Breslow Law Offices are one of the oldest and most prominent criminal defense attorney law firms in NJ. Attorneys Roy Breslow and Casey Breslow more than 45 years of protecting New Jersey residents. Call their Essex County office at 973-239-8000 or their Ocean County office at 609-494-8884. Our defense team will be with you every step of the way.