Drug Possession Charges

Charged with Drug Possession in New Jersey?

Let our Freehold, New Jersey criminal defense attorneys help you.

Drug Possession As a general rule, the state of New Jersey distinguishes between three kinds of drug possession based on the weight of the drug(s) you have in your possession:

  • 3rd Degree Offense: Holding less than half an ounce of cocaine, Ecstasy, methamphetamine, etc., you will usually be charged with a third-degree offense, which is punishable by a stiff fine and up to a few years in jail.
  • 2nd Degree Office: Possessing between a half an ounce and five ounces you will likely be charged with a more serious second-degree crime, with comparably more severe penalties; and
  • 1st Degree Offense: Possession of more than five ounces is a first-degree offense, and if convicted, you can be sentenced to prison for 10 or 20 years.

New Jersey Drug Possession Laws Are Complicated – You Need an Experienced Attorney to Defend You

Drug possession laws in New Jersey are complicated by well-meaning statutes that increase the penalties depending on where you’re apprehended. For example, if you are caught holding drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus, or within 500 feet of a housing project or public park, instead of being charged with “simple” drug possession you may be charged with a more serious crime or stiffer penalties. The more serious offense you are charged with, the less odds you have of getting the charges dismissed pending completion of a period of drug counseling and probation.

There are no “hard-and-fast” rules whereby authorities distinguish between drug possession, drug possession with the intent to distribute, and drug distribution. Much of how you are charged may have to do with what the arresting officer says about you and what crimes the prosecutor thinks you may be guilty of.

If you’re caught holding more drugs than can reasonably be consumed by one person, you may find yourself charged with intent to distribute, which carries more severe penalties (especially, as noted above, if you’re arrested within sight of a school, park or housing project) than drug possession. If you involved a minor in a drug crime, again, you may also be charged with additional, or more serious crimes.

Possession of more than five ounces of any drug is an open invitation to the district attorney to escalate charges and seek maximum penalties under the law.

Former prosecutors at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshal have been on the other “side.” We know how prosecutors think and how to negotiate with them. Unlike other law firms, we exclusively practice criminal defense law — we are passionate about ensuring that the accused are fairly represented and will aggressively defend you against drug possession charges.

But the first step is one you need to take on your own — you need to talk to an experienced trial lawyer as soon as possible. Call our law office in Red Bank at (732) 450-8300 to arrange a free consultation. If you are incarcerated, we will come to you to discuss your care.

We represent clients throughout New Jersey including the counties of Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Atlantic, and Mercer County.

Related Information

List of Controlled and Dangerous Substances
Possession of Prescription Drugs