Criminal Charges for Drug Possession in Guttenberg, New Jersey
If you have been charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance in Guttenberg, you are not alone. With its close proximity to New York and other cities, the availability of access to controlled dangerous substances is endless. The state of New Jersey and our nation as a whole have been plagued with drugs for decades. From the late 1920’s through the 70’s, many drugs were legal and provided generations of chemically dependent people. For example, doctors provided amphetamines for servicemen in World War II and marketed the drug for mental health as well. The drugs were often used by housewives and others who just needed a boost to get through the day. Over time, the blasé sentiment towards some drugs changed, and the so-called war against drugs took hold. As such, Federal and state laws were implemented to severely punish those that illegally possess narcotics.
Today, whether you are in Guttenberg or elsewhere in Hudson County and New Jersey, you will be charged with a drug offense for possessing any controlled dangerous substance illegally, whether the drug itself is outlawed, or you possess a prescription drug without a prescription. Here are the important things you should know about Drug Possession in Guttenberg, New Jersey. However, an attorney at Proetta & Oliver that actively practices in this area can instruct you fully on the law and how the facts of your case fit with the charges filed. If you have been arrested and charged with Possession of CDS, contact our local Guttenberg criminal defense attorneys to discuss your specific case. We are here to answer your questions in a free consultation, so please call (201) 793-8018 today.
Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in Guttenberg NJ
At the base of the controlled dangerous substance law, the legislature has made it illegal to possess a controlled dangerous substance (often shortened to CDS) in New Jersey statute section 2C:35-10. Specifically, the substances that the police look for are those that are both per se illegal, or those that you can only possess with a valid prescription. Per se illegal drugs are those that are never legal to possess. These substances are frequently termed “street drugs.” They cannot be purchased at a pharmacy or prescribed by your doctor. For example, heroin, cocaine, synthetic marijuana (K-2), Molly (Ecstasy), crystal meth, and LSD (acid) are all illegal street drugs that will require the police to arrest you if these substances are found on or near you. However, not all controlled substances are fundamentally illegal. Xanax, Ativan, Oxycodone, Percocet, Adderall, codeine, and marijuana can be legal if obtained lawfully. Obviously, just because these medications can be prescribed does not mean that you can possess them under any circumstances. You must have a prescription. This prevents people from legally obtaining other people’s medications and taking them without a legitimate medical reason.
If caught with prescription legend drugs or street drugs in Guttenberg, you will be charged with either a felony (indictable) or a misdemeanor offense (disorderly persons offense). The specific substance and amount of the drug possessed will dictate both the degree of the charge and the type of offense. Additionally, there are companion offenses that are often filed together with the CDS possession charges, such as possession of paraphernalia, failure to turn over CDS, and being under the influence of drugs. The punishment imposed for each offense can be as minor a fine, or as major as added time in jail. The following explains common substances involved in drug possession cases, the degree of charges, and potential sentences.
Charged with a Disorderly Persons Offense for Drugs in Guttenberg
These offenses are the most minor in the NJ scheme of criminal charges. If charged with a disorderly persons offense, you will go to municipal court, which handles these offenses, as well as traffic tickets such as possession of CDS in a motor vehicle and DUI. The consequences for this degree of drug charge are less severe than a felony, but potentially devastating to anyone just trying to get ahead. For a disorderly persons drug offense, you can be sentenced to a $1,000 fine, a mandatory drug penalty of $500, $125 in additional fines, court costs, probation, up to 6 months in jail, and a license suspension. The crimes that allow such sentences are:
- Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Being under the influence of CDS
- Failure to turn over CDS to the police
- Possessing pills not in a proper container
Facing Felony Drug Charges in Guttenberg
Aside from the above, you will be charged with a felony for possessing any other controlled substance. Felonies are punishable by state prison sentences, lengthier county jail sentences of up to 364 days, and probation. Some of the more commonly filed charges are:
- Drug Possession in the Fourth Degree: (maximum of 18 months in prison); examples include possession of synthetic marijuana or more than 50 grams of marijuana;
- Drug Possession in the Third Degree: (maximum prison time of 5 years); these charges apply when found in possession of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine in amounts less than 1/2 ounce. Other third degree drug crimes are possessing a fraudulent prescription or trying to pass a fake prescription to a pharmacy to obtain narcotics.
It is important to note that possessing larger quantities of drugs will permit a distribution charge as opposed to simple drug possession. Possession with intent to distribute more than 1/2 ounce of heroin or cocaine, but less than 5 ounces, will give the police the right to charge you with a second degree crime, which is a serious indictable criminal offense with a presumption of incarceration attached and may lead to a maximum of 10 years in prison. Beyond that, possession with intent to distribute in the first degree charges apply when a person is accused of possessing more than 5 ounces cocaine and heroin, and 25 pounds of marijuana, with intent to distribute or dispense. In this situation, you are exposed to mandatory incarceration for as much as 20 years.
Additionally, you can receive companion charges that may carry more severe penalties if certain factors are met. For instance, drug possession or distribution within a school zone or near public property can allow for more jail time. Also, if you have prior distribution offenses, or if you maintain a CDS production facility, you can be forced to serve a lengthy term in prison and need to serve a certain amount before you are eligible for parole.
Guttenberg NJ Drug Possession Defense Lawyers
Drug cases can be complicated, requiring careful analysis of the facts. Our skilled Guttenberg drug possession attorneys look at each case and inform you of whether the search may be bad, what your rights are, and what defenses and diversions are available. We then walk you through the process, ensuring that your rights are protected and defended every step of the way. To talk over your case with a local defense lawyer, contact us at (201) 793-8018. Consultations are free and available at your convenience.