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Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 01:02 pm
One of the most serious drug crimes is manufacturing. This means making or preparing illegal drugs with intent to distribute them. In NJ, manufacturing CDS is a second-degree felony under N.J.S. 2C:35-5. It carries 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000. Second-degree charges require a mandatory minimum sentence of 3-5 years without parole.
Defenses for drug manufacturing charges aim to show you didn’t actually make the drugs. For example, if you were just present but didn’t participate. Or the substances found weren’t actually illegal drugs. An experienced lawyer can evaluate the evidence and build the strongest defense.
Let’s look at some real cases:
As you can see, drug manufacturing is viewed as a serious threat in NJ. But an aggressive defense can get charges reduced or even dismissed. Don’t hesitate to call a lawyer if you’re accused.
Closely related to manufacturing is distribution and possession with intent to distribute CDS. Distribution means selling or transferring illegal drugs. Possession with intent means having drugs you plan to sell or share.
Like manufacturing, distribution and possession with intent are second-degree crimes in NJ. Potential penalties are 5-10 years imprisonment and fines up to $150,000. First-degree charges may apply for larger amounts of drugs.
Defenses aim to show you didn’t intend to distribute the substances. For example, if they were for personal use only. Or someone else had access to the area where drugs were found. A lack of packaging materials or scales can also indicate no distribution plans.
Skilled lawyers know how to negotiate charges down to possession in appropriate cases. Getting distribution charges reduced or dismissed can mean the difference between years in jail or probation and treatment.
At the high end of drug crimes are trafficking and conspiracy charges. Trafficking typically means distributing very large amounts of illegal drugs. Conspiracy involves working with others towards a shared criminal purpose.
In NJ, leaders of drug trafficking networks often face first-degree charges under N.J.S. 2C:35-3. This can mean 10-20 years in state prison. Fines up to $300,000 are also possible. And there is no parole eligibility for first-degree charges.
Defenses aim to reduce charges by showing:
Experienced lawyers negotiate down charges whenever possible. They also coordinate with federal lawyers if you face charges in both state and federal court. This is critical, since federal drug penalties are typically much harsher.
Don’t wait to seek experienced legal help if you’re charged with a trafficking offense. These are very serious crimes that call for an aggressive defense.
It’s also illegal in NJ to distribute or possess controlled prescription medications without a valid prescription. This includes drugs like:
Penalties under N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5 depend on the type and amount of medication. But even simple possession can be punished by 6 months in jail and $1000 fines. Distribution and possession with intent are third-degree crimes punishable by 3-5 years imprisonment.
Defenses aim to show you had a legal prescription or the drugs were for personal use. Experienced lawyers can often get prescription charges dismissed or reduced to possession. Treatment programs may also be arranged to avoid jail time.
Never take prescription drug charges lightly. But experienced lawyers know how to get charges reduced and avoid long jail sentences.
Simple drug possession is lower level than the crimes above. But it still carries penalties that can disrupt your life. In NJ, possession of CDS is a third-degree crime if the drug is heroin or cocaine. Other CDS possession is a fourth-degree charge.
Potential penalties for third-degree possession include:
Penalties for fourth-degree possession can be up to 18 months imprisonment and $10,000 fines. Driver’s license suspension of 6 months-1 year is also common.
The best defenses depend on the situation:
Experienced lawyers often negotiate down charges for first-time offenders. They may arrange admission into drug court or treatment programs to avoid jail time.
Don’t assume that possession is a minor charge. The consequences can damage your finances, education, career and driver’s license. An experienced lawyer can help minimize the penalties.
It’s also illegal in NJ to possess drug paraphernalia or synthetic drug analogs. Paraphernalia includes items used to store, process or consume illegal drugs, like:
Analogs are chemically similar substances designed to mimic illegal drugs. In recent years, NJ has cracked down on synthetic marijuana, bath salts and other analogs.
Penalties depend on the circumstances, but can include fines, probation and license suspension. Experienced lawyers often get paraphernalia and analog charges dismissed, especially for first-time offenders.
Sadly, many teens and young adults get caught up in drug use. NJ prosecutors often push for waiving minors into adult court for serious charges like trafficking. But experienced lawyers can frequently negotiate to keep juvenile cases in family court.
Outcomes are usually better if charges stay in juvenile court. Penalties aim for rehabilitation, like counseling and community service. Jail time is only considered as a last resort for minors. An experienced lawyer can make a huge difference in avoiding permanent damage to a young person’s future.
As you can see, drug charges shouldn’t be faced alone. The penalties are too severe, and the laws too complex. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is critical.
Look for lawyers with extensive experience specifically defending drug charges in NJ. Find someone who knows all the latest defenses and how to negotiate effectively with prosecutors. Ask about their track record getting charges reduced or dismissed.
The right lawyer will evaluate the evidence, explain your options, and build an aggressive defense. Don’t settle for less when your freedom is at stake.
I know how scary and overwhelming drug charges feel. But you don’t have to face this alone. I’m here to use my experience and compassion to guide you through the legal process. My only focus is getting the best possible result for your unique situation.
Don’t hesitate to contact me for a free consultation. There’s no risk in exploring your options and learning more. I’m confident I can help you successfully resolve your charges. But the first step is working together to build your defense.
You can do this – and I can help. Call me anytime to get started.
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