Morristown Drug Lawyer for Defense Against All New Jersey Drug Offenses
The way that drug crimes are punished varies significantly from case to case. Sometimes, those charged with drug crimes are treated with sympathy. In these instances, defendants are encouraged to participate in treatment programs to address the underlying issue of drug dependency. Other times, however, prosecutors and judges are more focused on meting out greater punishments to deter similarly situated people from violating the law. How you are treated may depend on whether you have an experienced Morristown drug lawyer like Scott Gorman defending you.
Drug Possession Penalties
With the exception of possession of a small amount of marijuana, drug possession of even a small amount of almost all controlled dangerous substances is no less than a third-degree crime that is punishable by a term of incarceration of three to five years. Not only are drugs like heroin and cocaine considered controlled dangerous substances, but the possession of prescription medication without a valid prescription can result in a charge that is identical to that which is received for possessing one of the better known illegal substances.
In addition to confinement, those who are convicted of drug crimes face substantial fines of up to $25,000 and a loss of driving privileges of between six months and two years.
Our Morristown Drug Lawyer Will Argue for Treatment Instead of Punishment
Sometimes, particularly when a person is believed to have only possessed a small amount of drugs for personal use, an experienced drug attorney can successfully argue that treatment should be prioritized over punishment. Participation in a treatment program as a condition of probation may be a possibility in such instances instead of imprisonment.
For some people, Drug Court may represent the last best chance at avoiding a jail sentence. Drug Court can provide an alternative to incarceration for those who have struggled with substance abuse. Participants in Drug Court gain access to treatment, submit to routine drug screens, and appear in court on a regular basis to monitor their progress. Successful completion of Drug Court can not only be a way to avoid a jail sentence; it can provide a new lease on life, as graduates of Drug Court are frequently able to expunge their entire criminal records.
Penalties for Distribution and Manufacturing Controlled Substances
If you are accused of manufacturing drugs in Morristown or possessing them for the purpose of distributing them, the penalties that you are facing will be significantly more severe than if you were believed to simply have drugs for personal use. Manufacturing drugs or possessing them with the intent to distribute them to others may be a first- or second-degree crime depending upon the particular circumstances. And being charged with a second-degree crime as opposed to a third-degree crime can be the difference between facing a charge that carries a presumption of imprisonment or one that is far less likely to result in a term of incarceration.
What Do You Need to Know if You are Facing Drug Charges in Morristown?
1. The Penalties for Drug Crimes in New Jersey Vary Widely
In New Jersey, the penalties for drug crimes vary widely. With the exception of possessing a small amount of marijuana, most drug crimes are felony-level offenses in New Jersey. However, there are four levels of felonies (technically called “indictable offenses” in New Jersey), and each level has a range of possible sentences. The type of drug, the amount of the drug, the nature of your alleged criminal activity and your criminal record (if any) are all factors that will play into determining what penalties are on the table.
Depending on the specific charge against you, the penalties you could be facing include:
- Possession of 50 Grams of Marijuana or Less for Personal Use– Up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail
- Possession of More Than 50 Grams of Marijuana for Personal Use – Up to $25,000 in fines and 18 months of imprisonment
- Fourth-Degree Felony Drug Crimes – Up to $10,000 in fines and 18 months of imprisonment.
- Third-Degree Felony Drug Crimes – Up to $15,000 in fines and three to five years of imprisonment
- Second-Degree Felony Drug Crimes – Up to $150,000 in fines and five to 10 years of imprisonment
- First-Degree Felony Drug Crimes – Up to $200,000 in fines and a maximum prison sentence ranging from 10 years to life depending upon the specific allegations involved
Those penalties are far too severe to risk. Let Scott Gorman, a top-rated Morristown drug attorney help protect your freedom.
2. Drug Crimes Can Involve Legal and Illegal Drugs
While many drug crimes involve the cultivation, distribution, sale and use of illegal drugs (or “street drugs”), it is possible to face criminal charges for selling, possessing and using prescription drugs as well. Although these drugs are legal to possess and use if you have a valid prescription, selling, possessing and using medications without a medical license or a prescription can lead to a felony charge. This includes drugs such as opioid pain medications, oxycontin and Vicodin.
3. You Could Have Defenses Even if the Police Caught You “Red Handed”
Even if the police caught you in the act of smoking, shooting up or selling drugs on the street, you could still have defenses available. While there are no guarantees, in many cases it will be possible to have evidence thrown out based on one or more violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, if the police stopped you without reasonable suspicion or searched your home or car without probable cause, then any evidence they obtained may be inadmissible in court.
4. You Need to Hire an Experienced Morristown Drug Lawyer
Regardless of the specific circumstances of your case, in order to avoid unnecessary and unjust consequences, you need to hire an experienced Morristown drug lawyer. An experienced drug lawyer will be able to determine what defenses you have available and assert those defenses effectively on your behalf. Attorney Scott Gorman has been handling drug cases in Morristown and throughout New Jersey for more than a decade.
Did You Know You Could be Arrested for Fake Drugs in New Jersey?
Even if the drugs you have in your possession are not on the list of controlled dangerous substances, it’s illegal to possess or distribute fake drugs, and you could be charged with a criminal offense. The reason that fake drugs are treated with the same consideration is that a person who believes he is buying or selling real drugs is still participating in a criminal act, even if the end result is a fake. The same legal logic holds true for people who are deliberately selling imitation drugs and passing them off as the real thing.
Our Morristown Drug Attorney Outlines New Jersey Laws
In New Jersey, legislators passed N.J.S.A. 2C:35-11, which makes it illegal for a person to have or distribute an imitation drug. According to this statute, there are three separate scenarios in which a person can be found in violation of the law:
- If a person is caught packaging a substance in a way that would typically be used to distribute illegal controlled dangerous substances
- If a person distributes, or attempts to distribute, a fake drug, in exchange for money or other goods
- If a person possesses or distributes a substance that looks similar to a controlled dangerous substance
Any one of these violations can lead to a third-degree criminal charge. It’s important to understand that you can be charged with this crime even if you haven’t positively presented the fake drug as a controlled dangerous substance, because this law includes liability for anyone who distributes or possesses a fake drug under circumstances that would make a reasonable person believe that the substance in question was legitimate.
Penalties for Fake Drug Arrests
If you are convicted on imitation drug charges, you’ll have a third-degree crime on your record. Crimes at this level can carry penalties of up to five years in jail. In addition, if you’re charged with an imitation drug crime, you can be fined up to $200,000, even though the typical maximum fine for a third-degree crime is $15,000. You could also face a period of license suspension for anywhere from six months to two years.
Arrested in New Jersey? Schedule a Free Consultation Today with a Top Morristown Drug Lawyer
If you have been charged with a drug crime, call an experienced Morristown drug lawyer at The Gorman Law Firm to discuss your case and to plan a strategy for avoiding the serious penalties that can result from a drug crime conviction. Call us now at (201) 489-9199, or contact us online to speak with one of our attorneys.