The state of New Jersey holds harsh laws regarding drug charges. It is because of this that those who are charged with drug crimes can face harsh penalties that have the potential to impact them for the rest of their life. The criminal justice system can be overwhelming to those who do not know how to fight for their rights, which is why it is important to have an experienced Middlesex County, New Jersey drug crime lawyer on your side when facing these situations.
What are the different types of drug charges in New Jersey?
The most common types of drug charges that are seen in New Jersey can include possession, drug distribution, and drug trafficking. The consequences for these offenses are as follows:
- Possession: These charges can vary depending on the amount of a certain drug in possession. Individuals can be charged with small amounts based on personal use, while others with larger quantities may be seen as having the intent to distribute. Penalties for simple possession can include fines as well as jail time ranging up to five years. Larger possession can also result in fines in addition to up to 10 years in jail.
- Distribution: When a person passes a controlled substance to another party. Penalties can depend on factors such as the weight of the drugs and the location of the crime. Convictions can result in up to 20 years in jail for the most severe charges.
- Trafficking: This involves bringing drugs into New Jersey from another state. This is considered the most severe type of drug crime. Penalties can include life imprisonment with parole unavailable until the offender serves 25 years.
Federal Drug Scheduling
There are many factors that go into determining drug charges. This can include the substance in question. In combination with Federal Drug Scheduling, the New Jersey Drug Controlled Dangerous Substance Act categorizes drugs into Schedules. This is based on the degree of inherent danger posed by their abuse. The schedule is as follows:
- Schedule I ― These substances have a high potential for abuse with either no accepted medical use or lacking safe use under medical supervision. Examples can include certain opiates and heroin. Marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug but has different rules. While the state passed medical marijuana legislation in 2010, recreational use is still illegal.
- Schedule II ― These substances also have a high potential for abuse, but they have some accepted medical uses with restrictions. This can include certain opiates as well as drugs produced with coca leaves or extractions not containing cocaine.
- Schedules III through V ― These substances have a lesser potential for abuse than Schedule I and II drugs. However, usage can have some degree of physical or psychological dependence. Amphetamines are included in Schedule III while Schedule V drugs can include a limited quantity of narcotic drugs such as codeine combined with non-narcotic substances.
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