New Jersey Prescription Drug Crime Attorneys
In more recent years, New Jersey has begun to target and crack down on individuals who are found in possession of prescription drugs that have been obtained improperly without a valid prescription from a doctor. Our office has experience representing clients for the unlawful possession and/or distribution of prescription drugs such as Adderall, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Fentanyl and Xanax throughout New Jersey. Although many of these opiate based medications are legally prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain or anxiety, the use of the pills by individuals other than those to whom they are prescribed is considered illegal and a crime in New Jersey. These prescription drugs are labeled as narcotics and are closely monitored by the State because of their high risk for addiction. If convicted of the possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription, you risk incarceration in prison, probation, loss of your driver’s license, and thousands in fines. Proetta & Oliver is dedicated to solely defending clients for criminal and municipal court charges in New Jersey including Hoboken, Jersey City, Secaucus, North Bergen, Bloomfield, Newark, Kearny, and Nutley. If you would like to discuss your case with an experienced prescription drug lawyer contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018.
What You Need To Know About Prescription Drug Charges In NJ
A prescription legend drug is defined as a medication that can only be sold or dispensed only upon the prescription of a licensed medical practitioner (licensed physician, veterinarian or dentist). The black market for left over or over-prescribed medications is in high demand in New Jersey. In our experience, it is common for a patient to receive an over abundance of medication from their doctor or treating physician. Instead of just throwing out the left over prescription drugs, people typically use them recreationally on a night out or sell them on the street for big money. If caught, these actions can typically lead to serious criminal charges and a mandatory appearance in court. Moreover, if you try to forge or falsify a prescription to obtain Rx drugs then you will be charged the separate crime of prescription drug forgery.
Obtaining Prescription Drugs By Fraud 2C:35-13
It is a 3rd degree felony to use of fraud or deception to be obtain the prescription medication. Possessing prescription drugs through theft or a fraudulent means is punishable by up to 3 – 5 years in prison and an enhanced fine of up to $50,000. Police will often charge this statute when they have reason to believe that you stole the prescription drugs from someone else or have used forged or fake prescription blanks from a doctor to unlawfully obtain medication at a pharmacy.
Possession of Prescription Drugs 2C:35-10.5
Simple possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the amount of dosages or pills you have in your possession at the time of your arrest. For instance, it is a 4th degree indictable felony to possess of 5 or more dosages of any prescription medication without the proper the prescription. A fourth degree indictable crime is punishable by up to 18 months in prison. On the other hand, the law will go a little easier on you if you have 4 pills or less. For these types of offenses you will normally face a disorderly persons offense which is punishable by up to 6 months in county jail.
Under the Unlawful Influence of Prescription Drug 2C:35-10
What happens if you already ingested the drugs and don’t have anymore in your possession when police stop you Well believe it or not you can still be arrested for a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) for being under the influence. Cops will often arrest people that they believe are exhibiting signs or symptoms of being under the influence of drugs. These charges are typically handled in municipal court and punishable by up to 6 months in county jail. Interestingly enough, the law does not require the prosecutor to prove what exact drug the defendant did use or was under the influence of at the time of their arrest – just that they were under the influence of some kind of drug. Therefore the defense “that the cops were wrong and the case should be thrown out because they said I was high on Xanax but it was really Suboxone” will not work.
Penalties For Distribution of Prescription Drugs or Medications
As in a majority of drug crimes, the degree of severity of the charge is determined by the quantity of drugs that are seized. The more drugs that you are found to be in possession of, the higher the penalty. Having an experienced criminal lawyer for representation of these prescription drug charges is crucial as there are many issues to be litigated in these cases. Below, a chart has been provided to depict the break down of the degree of charges for prescription drug distribution and possession of prescription drugs with intent to distribute.
Degree Dosage Penalties
Second Degree Prescription Drug Distribution
100 or more dosage units for financial gain
5 – 10 years in state prison; presumption of incarceration
Third Degree Prescription Drug Distribution
99 – 5 dosage units for financial gain
3 – 5 years in state prison
Fourth Degree Prescription Drug Distribution
4 or fewer dosage for financial gain
Up to 18 months in state prison
Defenses for Prescription Drugs Charges
As shown above, prescription drug crimes are not to be taken lightly. The state of New Jersey takes prescription drug crimes very seriously and without direct knowledge of the laws or ways to challenge the evidence, they can be tough to handle. However, there can be many possible defenses to prescription drug offenses. For instance, under 2C:35-24, it is valid defense to possess up to a 10 day supply of your medication in a different container than the prescription bottle as long as you can produce the name and address of the doctor that prescribed the medication.
Contact A Jersey City Prescription Drug Defense Lawyer Today For Free Consultation
At Proetta & Oliver, our drug attorneys have successfully handled thousands of criminal and municipal court cases throughout New Jersey including various prescription drug cases. In the past, we have been able to assist our clients that have been charged with these crimes in attaining a successful outcome such as a downgrade to municipal court, outright dismissal, or admittance into programs such as Pre-Trial Intervention. Our office represents clients throughout New Jersey including Harrison, Bayonne, Montclair, West New York, Union City, Guttenberg, Belleville and Weehawken. If you would like to consult with an experienced prescription drug defense attorney, please contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018 for a free initial consultation.
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