Are you facing a legal predicament after being caught in possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) in New Jersey? The penalties and severity of drug charges imposed on you can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the type of substance involved such as marijuana or heroin as well as the weight of the CDS. The repercussions often involve imprisonment hefty fines license suspension and other potential consequences. At Lustberg Law Offices LLC attorney Adam M. Lustberg and our team of skilled New Jersey drug crimes lawyers may be able to help you navigate through these challenging circumstances. Call us today at (201) 880-5311 to schedule a consultation. First Second Third and Fourth Degree Drug Charges Drug charges are categorized by degree and range in ascending order of severity from a disorderly persons offense to a First Degree indictable crime. The degree of the crime depends on the type of drug the amount of the drug found in your possession and certain other facts. The closer to a First Degree crime you are the more severe the potential penalties are. New Jersey penalties associated with the following drug crime charge degrees are: First-Degree Drug Charges Up to 30 years and in some cases life imprisonment up to $1000000 in fines and possible loss or suspension of drivers license. Second-Degree Drug Charges Up to 25 years in prison up to $500000 in fines and possible loss or suspension of drivers license. Third-Degree Drug Charges 3-5 years in prison up to $35000 in fines and possible loss or suspension of drivers license. Fourth-Degree Drug Charges Up to 18 months in prison up to $15000 in fines and possible loss or suspension of drivers license. Disorderly Persons Offense Charges Up to 6 months in the county jail up to $1000 in fines and possible loss or suspension of drivers license. Drug Crime Charge Degrees Maximum Prison Sentence Maximum Fines Drivers License Penalty First-Degree Up to 30 years Up to $1000000 Possible loss or suspension Second-Degree Up to 25 years Up to $500000 Possible loss or suspension Third-Degree 3-5 years Up to $35000 Possible loss or suspension Fourth-Degree Up to 18 months Up to $15000 Possible loss or suspension Disorderly Persons Up to 6 months Up to $1000 Possible loss or suspension Regular Possession Charges and Penalties As mentioned the degree of crime you will be charged with depends on the type of drug and how much of it you have. If you were only found in possession of it and not found to have also had the intent to distribute the drug the penalties are less severe. Possible possession charges in New Jersey include: Less than 50 grams of marijuana chargeable as a disorderly persons offense More than 50 grams of marijuana chargeable as an indictable offense the degree of which depends on the weight of the drug. Any amount of cocaine heroin methamphetamine acid ecstasy GBH and any other illegal narcotics stimulants hallucinogens opiates or depressants chargeable as an indictable offense the degree of which depends on the weight of the drug. Drug paraphernalia such as needles baggies pipes bongs chargeable as a disorderly persons offense Unauthorized prescription drugs Often charged as a third-degree offense Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges and Penalties New Jersey laws get more severe if a drug possession charge is accompanied by evidence of manufacturing distributing or possession with intent to distribute. This is because now your crime is not only affecting yourself but spreading those illegal substances within your community often times for profit. Degree of crimes for these level of drug possession and drug distribution charges are: Marijuana Less than one ounce = 4th degree One ounce up to just under five pounds = 3rd degree Five pounds to 25 pounds = 2nd degree Over 25 pounds = 1st degree Heroin or Cocaine Less than half an ounce = 3rd degree Over half an ounce but under five ounces = 2nd degree Over five ounces = 1st degree LSD Less than 100 mg = 2nd degree Over 100 mg = 1st degree Any other drug and their potential charges may be found in New Jersey law N.J.S.A 2C:35. How to Get a Possession Charge Dismissed If youre facing a possession charge and want to explore ways to get it dismissed its important to consider various legal defenses. Here are four strategies that could potentially lead to a dismissal: Challenge the Legality of the Search: The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the search that led to the discovery of drugs was conducted unlawfully the evidence may be excluded resulting in the dismissal of your case. Generally warrantless searches are considered invalid except in specific situations like when an item is in plain view or when the police have probable cause to search a motor vehicle. Dispute the Possession: If the prosecution cant prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had actual or constructive possession of the drugs the case may be dismissed. Actual possession means the drugs were found on your person or in an area exclusively under your control while constructive possession applies when drugs are found in an area controlled by multiple individuals. Your attorney can challenge the states ability to prove your intent to control the drugs and your knowledge of their contents. New Jersey drug possession lawyer Question the Substances Legality: The prosecution must establish that the substance in question is an illegal drug. Usually a certified lab report is used as evidence but you can challenge the report by raising timely objections and questioning the labs procedures or findings. If the validity of the lab report is undermined it could lead to the dismissal of the case. Raise Discovery Violations or Entrapment: You have the right to access all evidence held by the prosecution. If the prosecution fails to provide crucial evidence such as the actual drugs the case may be dismissed. Additionally if you can demonstrate that you were entrapped by the policecoerced into committing a crime you wouldnt have otherwise committedentrapment may serve as a viable defense. Getting a possession charge dismissed requires the assistance of a skilled drug defense attorney who can thoroughly examine the specific details of your case and determine the most effective defense strategies. Contact an Experienced Hackensack Drug Defense Attorney About Your Drug Possession Charges in New Jersey Have you been charged with a drug related offense in New Jersey? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines jail time and drivers license suspension! That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified drug defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Lustberg Law Offices represent clients charged with use possession production distribution and related drug offenses in Fort Lee Fair Lawn Bergenfield Ridgewood and throughout New Jersey. Contact us at (201) 880-5311 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at One University Plaza Dr Suite 210 Hackensack NJ 07601 in addition to offices located in New York. The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice please contact our law firm directly. via Lustberg Law