Drug trafficking crimes involve the creation and/or distribution of banned drugs or controlled substances that were obtained illegally. They are considered very serious crimes and often carry severe penalties. The more dangerous the drug the quantity of the drug and the more drug crimes you are convicted of in addition to drug trafficking the worse the punishment could be. Finding a qualified New Jersey drug crimes lawyer for your case can easily make the difference between many years in prison or a lesser penalty. Contact Attorney Lustberg today for a free initial consultation regarding your drug charges. New Jersey Drug Trafficking Law Definition and Details Drug trafficking is defined as the illegal sale manufacture or creation transport movement and/or distribution of any substance that is either illegal to own or was illegally acquired. Drug trafficking crimes usually involve much more than simply handling an illegal substance from point A to point B. It often involves a large scheme on a national or international scale with millions of dollars of sales generated. Usually to be convicted of this crime one must have a larger part in the scheme such as organizing financing or supervising/managing those creating moving or selling the drugs. The following is a list of the most commonly trafficked drugs in the United States: Cocaine Heroin PCP LSD Methamphetamines (Meth) Marijuana Because this type of crime is on a much larger scale and results in thousands of affected Americans gaining access to illegal substances a special federal group called The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is used to investigate these crimes. They were created to crack down on drug presence and distribution in the United States. Possible Drug Trafficking Penalties for Those Convicted in NJ If you are caught by the DEA and convicted the penalties for this type of crime are severe. This is because it is considered a very serious crime that usually earns an individual a 1st-degree felony charge. If convicted of other drug crimes the penalties can become much more severe. This is especially the case if charged with any of the following: Possession of a drug with intent to distribute within 1000 ft of the school zone Possession of a drug with intent to distribute within 500 ft of a public library park or certain housing Possession of a handgun (such as a pistol) in association with the drug crime Penalties for drug trafficking crimes in New Jersey depend on what type of drug was involved and how much of the drug was being created managed and in possession. These charges can be broken down into four categories and have specific penalties associated with them: 4th Degree Crime = Least Severe and up to 18 months imprisonment 3rd Degree Crime = Less severe and 3-5 years imprisonment 2nd Degree Crime = Moderately Severe and 5-10 years imprisonment 1st Degree Crime = Most Severe and 10-20 years imprisonment It is important to note that prison is only part of the punishment when it comes to a drug trafficking conviction which can also result in heavy fines depending on how much of the drug and what kind of drug was involved. A person can also lose many civil rights and federal benefits temporarily or permanently depending on whether or not this is a first-time scenario. These types of penalties can include: Losing the right to bear arms. Being denied certain loans and grants Forfeiture of assets money or property associated with earnings from convicted drug crimes If an illegal immigrant: Immediate Deportation and denied future citizenship attempts Those who are accused of leading a narcotics trafficking scheme can also be sentenced to life in prison and charged up to $750000 in fines alone. Parole would not be available to such an individual until at least 25 years of their sentence has been served. Common Drug Crimes in New Jersey Legislators in New Jersey have created many laws that allow people to be charged with a variety of drug crimes. The most commonly committed drug crimes include: Possession A lot of substances are illegal to possess. Some substances cannot be obtained without a prescription. Depending on the amount of drugs that were found in your possession different charges may apply to your case. The penalties that are associated with each substance may also vary. You can even be charged with constructive possession if the drugs are discovered near you even if they werent yours. Distribution This type of crime is based on evidence of the actual distribution or if there are claims that the defendant intended to distribute the drugs. The amount of drugs in the persons possession and their behavior at the time of the arrest can also be a basis for criminal drug distribution charges. Distribution charges can include intent and selling. You can also be charged for drug trafficking if you are charged with dealing in large amounts. Federal involvement is common in drug trafficking cases particularly when theres an importation component. Production It is unlawful to create or cultivate controlled substances. This includes the cultivation of marijuana and methamphetamines. Conspiracy Federal charges can be based on acts other than possession such as conspiracy to possess or distribute narcotics. Even if the charges involve something minor like possessing drug paraphernalia drug charges can be serious and can have a lasting impact on a persons life. Our legal team at the Lustberg Law Offices understands the impact that a drug conviction could have on your life. Call us today for a free consultation regarding your drug charges. Common Drug Crimes in New Jersey Description Possession Illegal possession of substances including those requiring a prescription. Penalties vary based on the amount of drugs found and the specific substance. Constructive possession charges can apply if drugs are discovered near an individual even if they dont belong to them. Distribution Involves evidence of actual drug distribution or intent to distribute. Amount of drugs in possession and behavior during arrest can influence charges. Distribution charges encompass intent and selling. Drug trafficking charges apply for dealing in large amounts. Federal involvement is common especially with importation. Production Manufacturing or cultivating controlled substances such as marijuana and methamphetamines is illegal. Conspiracy Federal charges may arise from acts related to drug possession or distribution including conspiracy to possess or distribute narcotics. 1st Time Drug Offense Penalties NJ In New Jersey first-time drug offenders may face harsh penalties but several diversionary programs can help them avoid jail time and receive necessary treatment. These programs include conditional discharge pre-trial intervention drug court and the Veterans Diversion Program. Conditional Discharge: Conditional discharge allows first-time non-violent offenders with no prior criminal convictions to avoid a conviction by fulfilling specific conditions. After entering a plea the court withdraws the conviction placing the offender on probation for up to three years. Upon completion the charges are dismissed and can be expunged from the offenders record. Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI): Pre-trial intervention (PTI) is another program that enables first-time non-violent offenders to avoid a criminal conviction by completing the program and meeting eligibility criteria. PTI is designed for those facing indictable offenses commonly known as felonies such as drug possession burglary and other third and fourth-degree crimes. Aggravated assault charges are not eligible. Drug Court: Drug court is a diversion program for non-violent offenders with drug addiction issues. To qualify participants must have no prior criminal convictions and be willing to undergo drug treatment. They must submit to drug testing and participate in intensive outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation services. Failure of a drug test could result in removal from the program and imposition of the original sentencing. Drug court involves multiple stages including attendance at 12-step programs working on self-improvement and engaging in employment or education. Veterans Diversion Program: The Veterans Diversion Program is specifically designed for eligible veterans with no prior criminal convictions who have committed non-violent offenses. Veterans facing offenses such as heroin possession and prescription fraud may qualify. To be eligible individuals must exhibit signs or symptoms of mental health issues. New Jersey drug crimes attorney Contact Experienced NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer Adam M. Lustberg for a Free Initial Consultation If you have been arrested for a serious drug crime you need an experienced NJ lawyer to defend you and to help you get the charges dropped altered or decreased. There are many options available and experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney Adam M. Lustberg provides just the type of legal counsel you need. Contact Lustberg Law Offices LLC via our online contact form to determine the best course of action for your case or call us at (201) 880-5311. 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 https://www.lustberglaw.com/blog/drug-trafficking-laws-new-jersey/