Possession and Distribution of Methamphetamine Attorneys in Jersey City NJ
The DEA reports that methamphetamine use is on the rise in New Jersey. The Agency believes that the increase may be due to its affordability, as well as use to combat the symptoms associated with heroin withdrawal. While there may be different reasons for meth use, one constant remains: possession of methamphetamine is a crime in New Jersey. In fact, possessing methamphetamine, manufacturing, distributing, or possession of meth with intent to distribute, can lead to a person being charged with a serious felony crime. Facing drug charges for crystal meth puts you in a serious predicament, as you are now exposed to potential prison time, a criminal record, and thousands of dollars in fines. The good news is, being charged with methamphetamine entitles you to due process and the ability to retain the best defense lawyer you can find. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending clients facing meth possession and distribution charges in Kearny, Hoboken, Jersey City, Union City, Weehawken, Secaucus, Bayonne, and throughout Hudson County and New Jersey, and we are here to aid in your defense. Call our local office in Jersey City at (201) 793-8018 if you would like a free consultation right away or contact us online to request assistance. Our legal team is here to provide answers and if you enlist our counsel, we will fight tirelessly for the justice you deserve.
Methamphetamine – Crystal Meth – Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance in NJ
For those of you not familiar with the substance, methamphetamine is a stimulant. Methamphetamine may be legal to possess if in prescription form such as Desoxyn. However, most of the street meth (crystal meth) is an illegal derivative of the prescription medication. Illegal methamphetamine typically resembles a crystal rock-like substance and is easily discernible from other drugs. Many individuals who possess and use the substance can make it at home using over-the-counter drugs sold at local pharmacies and grocery stores. Meth users can ingest the drug by smoking, inhaling, or injecting it. It not only alters a person’s mood, but it can also cause paranoia, anxiety, high blood pressure, convulsions, stroke, and even death.
New Jersey follows federal guidelines in the classification of banned controlled dangerous substances. The classifications of drugs are listed on the New Jersey Drug Schedules. Each substance is listed according to its potential for abuse and addictive qualities. Methamphetamine is highly addictive. Per the DEA, it has very limited medical use and has a high probability for abuse and dependency. Meth is therefore classified as a Schedule III controlled dangerous substance in New Jersey.
Possession of Methamphetamine in New Jersey
Because of its addictive and dangerous qualities, it is a crime to possess any amount of methamphetamine in New Jersey. Possession of methamphetamine is, in the very least, a third degree crime that exposes you to 3-5 years in prison plus up to $35,000 in fines. Most people possessing methamphetamine are arrested with amounts consistent with personal use. So, if you possess a small rock or two, chances are that you will be charged with a third degree crime in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.
If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey it will be set forth in the complaint as first, second, third, or fourth degree. For third and fourth degree crimes, there is a presumption against state prison for any person without a criminal history. First and second degree crimes are the most serious and there is a presumption of incarceration, meaning that it is almost certain that you will be sentenced to prison time if convicted. While third degree crimes for meth possession are common in Hudson County and elsewhere in New Jersey, more egregious crimes for distribution and manufacturing also occur on a regular basis, exposing those charged with these offenses to severe penalties.
New Jersey Manufacturing, Distributing, or Dispensing Meth Offenses
If accused of making meth, selling the drug, or possessing methamphetamine with the intention of distributing, the amount involved in your case will make a difference when deciding the specific degree of crime for which you will be charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. For instance, you can be charged with a third degree crime for possession of meth with intent to distribute or distribution if you have an amount up to one-half ounce. Aside from the jail time of up to 5 years, the judge can order you to pay up to $75,00 in fines. Distributing meth in an amount of one half ounce or more but less than five ounces means that you will be charged with a violation of this statute in the second degree. Additionally, possessing with intent to distribute or actually distributing meth with a weight of 5 ounces or more will result in arrest for a first degree crime, up to 20 years in prison, and up to $300,000 in fines.
Charged with Methamphetamine in NJ, Am I Going to Jail?
Any charge involving a felony/indictable in New Jersey will be filed in the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense occurred. If convicted, there are sentencing guidelines that the court must follow for anyone found guilty. New Jersey wants to ensure that the sentencing structure is uniform throughout the state. For this reason, the courts are constrained by certain statutes when sentencing you. For some crimes, such as first degree felony offenses, there is no way out of prison unless the charge is amended. Other crimes for which you would normally go to jail, such as second degree offenses, may entitle you to programs instead of jail. For example, if eligible, Drug Court is an option that will allow the Judge to forego the mandatory prison term and allow for treatment in lieu of jail. Also, in cases involving third degree and fourth degree offenses, for first time offenders, Pre-Trial Intervention may be an option. This is a program that will result in no conviction on your record and generally does not require an admission of guilt.
In other cases, a program may not be available or you are otherwise ineligible, but there may be another way out. A successful plea negotiation for instance, may result in such as amending the charge to a lesser degree that does not require jail. Sometimes, no offer is right, but there are legal issues with the way that evidence was obtained. For example, perhaps the traffic stop may be unlawful and your lawyer can file a motion to suppress the evidence obtained after the initial stop. In other situations, the stop itself was lawful but there was insufficient probable cause for the search thereafter. Whether the stop or the search was invalid, the state often lacks crucial evidence needed for a conviction if the evidence is suppressed.
Hoboken Crystal Meth Defense Lawyer can Help
Regardless of the degree of the methamphetamine charges you are facing or your criminal history, the attorneys at Proetta & Oliver have the knowledge and experience you need now. Our Hudson County criminal defense lawyers represent clients arrested for meth possession, distribution, and intent to distribute in Jersey City, Guttenberg, West New York, North Bergen, Harrison, and other towns in the Hudson County region, and we can help. Contact us today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer near you.