What Are The Most Common Drug Offense Cases That You Handle?
We handle charges of 2C:35-10A, which is drug possession on a frequent basis. Most often we are dealing with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana. However, we also see many cases of possession of heroin and cocaine. Recently we are seeing more cases of hash wax, due to its odorless properties. We usually see an accompanying charge of drug paraphernalia under 39:36-2 for a number of items that are found with drugs such as syringes, rolling papers, grinders, wax folds, straws, rubber bands, and the list goes on. We also see many charges of distribution under 2C:35-5 when the quantity exceeds personal consumption.
How Is A Drug Charge Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?
2C:35-10A(4) is possession of marijuana under 50 grams. This is the only charge that is statutorily handled as a disorderly persons offense in the municipal court with a sentence range of up to six months in county jail and two-year license revocation. All other drug possession charges are under the jurisdiction of the superior court as criminally indictable offenses, aka crimes (for heroin, cocaine, etc.). Those matters are graded as fourth- to second-degree crimes. A fourth-degree crime carries up to 18 months in prison, third degree carries three to five years in prison, second degree carries five to 10 years in prison. All criminal drug possession cases carry a license suspension and fines of $1,000-$25,000.
In some cases, a matter that provides for a criminal indictment will be downgraded by the county prosecutor and treated as a disorderly person’s offense instead.
What Is An Unlawful Controlled Substance?
Certain compounds are categorized as a “controlled dangerous substance,” also referred to as CDS, under New Jersey law. When a drug is classified in this manner, it cannot be possessed, sold, or distributed except as provided by law. Drugs are deemed CDS when they are susceptible to abuse thereby warranting regulation by the state and law enforcement.
Drug Schedules In New Jersey
There are five (5) CDS schedules set forth under New Jersey law. The schedules are as follows:
- Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances
- Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substances
- Schedule III Controlled Dangerous Substances
- Schedule IV Controlled Dangerous Substances
- Schedule V Controlled Dangerous Substances
The law authorizes the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health to determine when or if something is a controlled dangerous substance. The drugs listed in the aforementioned schedules already bear the label of “CDS,” however, the commission may add to the list from time to time. In making the determination to add a substance, the commissioner is to consider:
- The actual and/or potential for abuse of the substance
- The effect that the item has on the human body
- The scientific data regarding the compound
- The historical pattern of abuse, if any, that has been shown
- The level of abuse within the community
- The impact of the substance on public health
- Whether there is any addictive character
- Whether the substance is a precursor to another drug already classified as CDS
What Is Considered Possession, Sale, Distribution And Intent To Distribute Unlawful Drugs?
Possession includes individual possession, which can include several persons jointly possessing CDS or possession in a vehicle that you are an owner or driver of. Sale or distribution is considered to be a transaction for the value of a CDS between two and more persons. Intent to distribute refers to possession of a quantity of drugs that creates the appearance that it is not for personal consumption. Also, individual bagging of drugs will create the impression that an individual possessed the drugs in order to distribute them.
For more information on drug offenses in New Jersey, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 908-643-7005 today.
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