Is Drug Possession a Felony in New Jersey?
Posted by Scott Gorman - February 14, 2022

In New Jersey, drug possession is a felony-level offense in most cases. Unless you were found in possession of a small amount of marijuana or a prescription drug for personal use, you are facing prosecution for what is known as an “indictable crime” in New Jersey, and this means you are facing substantial fines and prison time. To protect yourself as much as possible, you should contact a Morristown drug lawyer right away.

New Jersey’s Classification of Drug Possession Offenses

Unlike most other states, New Jersey does not classify crimes as misdemeanors and felonies. Instead, it classifies crimes as “disorderly persons offenses” and “indictable crimes.” Disorderly persons offenses carry penalties of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, while the lowest-level indictable crimes (fourth-degree indictable crimes) carry up to an 18-month prison sentence and a $10,000 fine in most cases. However, New Jersey law imposes enhanced fines of up to $25,000 for certain fourth-degree drug possession offenses.

When is Drug Possession an Indictable Crime (Felony-Level Offense)?

Possessing 50 grams or less of marijuana and possessing up to three doses of a prescription medication without a valid prescription are the only forms of drug possession that are not indictable crimes (felony-level offense) in New Jersey. All other drug possession charges are indictable crimes under New Jersey law. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Possessing more than 50 grams of marijuana
  • Possessing more than three doses of a prescription drug without a prescription
  • Possessing any amount of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine
  • Possessing any amount of oxycontin or ecstasy
  • Possessing any amount of any other illegal drug

To many people, this comes as a surprise. Facing a drug possession charge is many individuals’ first introduction to New Jersey’s criminal justice system, and most expect to get off easy. Learning that New Jersey prosecutes most forms of drug possession as a felony-level offense is a harsh wake-up call. While there are defenses and diversionary programs available in many cases, it takes experienced legal representation to achieve a favorable result when charged with an indictable crime.

What are the Penalties for Felony-Level Drug Possession in New Jersey?

If you are facing a felony-level drug possession charge in New Jersey, what penalties are on the table? New Jersey’s drug possession statute imposes different penalties for different types of drugs:

  • Possessing More than 50 Grams of Marijuana – Up to 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine
  • Possessing Any Amount of a Schedule V Drug – Up to 18 months in prison and a $15,000 fine
  • Possessing Any Amount of a Schedule I, II, III or IV Drug – Three to five years in prison and a $35,000 fine

Contact Morristown Drug Lawyer Scott Gorman

Are you facing a drug possession charge in New Jersey? If so, Morristown drug lawyer Scott Gorman can determine what defenses you have available. He can also determine if you are eligible to avoid prosecution by participating in one of New Jersey’s diversionary programs for drug offenders. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call 973-796-3800 or request an appointment online now.

Published in Categories: Criminal Defense, Drug Posession