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Classifying Controlled Dangerous Substances Lawyers

Some drugs and compounds are classified as “controlled dangerous substance,” (CDS) under New Jersey law. Such substances cannot be possessed, sold or distributed except as provided by law. Drugs are categorized as CDS when they are susceptible to abuse, thereby requiring regulation by the law.

Drug Schedules in New Jersey Criminal Code

Five (5) drug schedules are covered under New Jersey criminal statutes. It helps to have a basic understanding of them if you or your loved one is facing criminal charges for possession or distribution.

Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) NJ Schedules:

Schedule I CDS have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use in treatment in the US. Schedule I drugs include synthetic marijuana, hashish, heroin, LSD or acid, and MDMA. In spite of legalization for recreational use in some states, marijuana remains a Schedule I substance in New Jersey.

Schedule II CDS also have a high potential for abuse which leads to severe psychic or physical dependence.  These may have accepted medical use in treatment in the US, sometimes with severe restrictions. Cocaine, methadone, fentanyl ,oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, Adderall, Ritalin and methamphetamine are schedule II drugs.

Schedule III CDS have the potential for abuse lower than the substances in I and II, but lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. These have accepted medical use in treatment in America. Schedule III drugs include anabolic steroids, ketamine, ritalin and testosterone.

Schedule IV CDS carry a low potential for abuse relative to the substances in III and have currently accepted medical use in treatment in the US. These can potentially lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the substances in III.  Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Valium, klonopin and Ambien.

Schedule V CDS Substances have a minimal potential for abuse relative to the substances in IV and currently have accepted medical use in treatment in America.  They have limited physical dependence or psychological dependence liability relative to the ones in IV.  Schedule V drugs include low doses of codeine, diphenoxylate, and opium.

How Were the Drug Schedules Determined?

The Commissioner of the NJ Department of Health is authorized by law to determine when a substance is a controlled dangerous substance. The drugs listed in schedules already bear the label of “CDS;” however, the Commission may add to the list as needed.

In determining whether to add a drug, the commissioner considers:

  1. Abuse or potential for abuse of the drug;
  2. The effect that the substance has on the human body;
  3. Scientific data on the compound;
  4. Historical patterns of abuse, if any exists;
  5. The level of abuse in the community;
  6. The impact of the drug on public health;
  7. Addictive character; and
  8. If the item is a precursor (gateway drug) to another substance already classified as CDS.

What Do CDS Schedules Mean to Me?

Should you be arrested for possessing, selling or manufacturing controlled substances, you may get prosecuted under both New Jersey law and federal law. Most CDS possession charges are covered by the N.J. Code of Criminal Justice Section 2C:35-10. With a few exceptions, a drug charge for possession or distribution of a controlled substance is a felony in New Jersey. To be convicted of possession, the prosecutor must demonstrate that you had physical possession or constructive possession of a substance on one of the five schedules.

Violating New Jersey law by possessing a CDS classified in Schedules I, II, III or Schedule IV is a third-degree offense carrying a fine of up to $35,000. Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana or more than 5 grams of hash is fourth-degree and is punishable by a fine of $25,000.

Violating New Jersey law by possessing a Schedule V substance is a fourth-degree crime carrying a fine of up to $15,000.

Penalties for conviction of the drug charges can be more or less severe depending on the schedule of the controlled dangerous substance.

At Spodek Law Group, we defend individuals facing CDS charges ranging from possession of small amounts of marijuana to serious drug distribution and trafficking offenses. Our lawyers boast more than 100 years of experience.  We have seen just about every type of drug charge. We know defenses work and which ones don’t.

If our efforts to have the charges dismissed or reach an acceptable plea bargain don’t pan out, we have the courtroom skills to present a successful defense in a jury trial.

To learn more about how we can assist you, contact our attorneys anytime to consult with an experienced CDS defense lawyer.

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