Carteret NJ Drug Possession Attorney
If you are arrested and charged for possessing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in Carteret, you face multiple penalties along with the social stigma of being labeled as a drug offender with a criminal record. Whether it be marijuana, heroin, cocaine, MDMA, or prescription drugs that led to your drug possession charges, what matters most is that you do what you can to protect your rights, avoid unwanted convictions, and have a greater degree of confidence in your ability to influence the outcome. When you need a lawyer to defend your case, you want the most dedicated and most experienced representation. Our lawyers actively represent people with drug cases in Middlesex County Superior Court and Carteret Municipal Court. If you contact us about pending drug possession charges in Carteret, we will review your case, answer all of your questions, and provide the information you need to make the right decision for you and your family. Simply reach out to our office at (732)-659-9600 for a free consultation. For now, you should review the information below for basic explanations concerning possession of a controlled dangerous substance N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, degrees of the crime, punishments, and related nuances of Carteret drug possession cases.
Carteret Possession of CDS Offenses
A charge for possession of “CDS” means that you have been accused of a drug offense. CDS means controlled dangerous substance. The terminology can refer to banned narcotics or prescription legend drugs in New Jersey. Prescription legend drugs are medications that have been or should be prescribed by a doctor. Banned narcotics are those that cannot be prescribed, as they are delineated as having little to no value in the course of medical treatment, having addictive properties, and are more likely to lead to drug dependency. Therefore, drugs like heroin cannot ever be prescribed. The following provides examples of each of the two primary categories of controlled substances:
Possessing Prescription Legend Drugs
Notable examples of these substances include Ritalin, Suboxone, Codeine, Adderall/ Amphetamine, Steroids, Vicodin, Percocet, Tylenol with Codeine, Ketamine, Klonopin, Valium, Xanax, fentanyl, and Oxycontin. Some of these substances are more recognizable by their street names such as “benzos,” “special K,” “roxys,” “Oxys,” or “percs,” or they may be referred to by color when making a ”buy.” Regardless of the name used to identify the pills, in order to possess the substance, you must have a prescription.
These drugs are prescribed for a specific purpose. As such, they are identified by medical professionals as depressants (barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, sleep medication, stimulants (amphetamines), or Opioids/morphine (codeine, morphine, oxys, etc). The above list of substances have medically accepted benefits but have some potential for abuse and dependency and they must therefore be regulated. Illegal drugs have no medicinal value but have a high potential for abuse.
Possessing Illegal Drugs
Often, the drugs on this list are illegal substitutes for prescription drugs. People who are prescribed medications originally can become addicted and when the doctors refuse to refill the prescriptions or they no longer have insurance, they resort to substitutes that are easier to get but nonetheless illegal. For example, heroin is often substituted for oxycodone or in place of methadone that the person no longer receives. Other illegal drugs that cannot ever be legally possessed are cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, PCP, Molly (Ecstasy), and synthetic marijuana.
What do you get for Drug Possession in Carteret NJ?
When arrested on drug possession charges, the type of substance you allegedly possess and the amount possessed impacts the degree of the crime. In New Jersey, indictable crimes are filed in the first, second, third, and fourth degree. One step down from indictable crimes are disorderly persons offenses (dp’s). The cases for each type of offense are handled in different courts. Disorderly persons charges that are not filed together with indictable crimes are heard in Carteret Municipal Court, whereas indictable crimes are litigated in Middlesex County Superior Court, Criminal Division.
In simple drug possession cases involving smaller amounts and lighter weight, the degree of the charge can be filed as a third, fourth, or disorderly persons offense. If the person possesses larger quantities of CDS, the charges filed can rise to second and first degree crimes. In such cases, they will be filed as possession with intent or distribution under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, not as simple possession charges under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.
Third Degree Drug Possession Charge Penalties
As noted, for crimes such as third and fourth degree drug possession, the case is handled in Middlesex County Superior Court. As an example, possessory amounts of heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, LSD, MDMA, mushrooms, and PCP are all third degree crimes. Likewise, fentanyl possession is a third degree crime, as is 4 or more pills of most of the prescription legend drugs named above and up to 99 pills without a prescription. Upon conviction for a third degree drug charge you face:
- A prison term of 3-5 years;
- Up to $35,000 in fines;
- $1,000 drug penalty;
- DNA and fingerprinting in the state database
- Loss of license;
Fourth Degree CDS Possession Consequences
- 1.5 years in state prison;
- $15,000 to $25,000 in fines;
- $750 drug penalty;
- DNA and fingerprinting in the state database
- Loss of license
- Alternative of probation instead of jail
For both third and fourth degree drug possession charges, some cases may also be resolved with county jail time up to 364 days.
Punishments for Disorderly Persons Possession of Drugs
Unlike the third and fourth degree CDS offenses, a judge cannot impose a state prison term for disorderly persons offenses. Instead, the available sentencing options are:
- 180 days in the Middlesex County Jail;
- Up to $1,000 in fines;
- $500 drug penalty;
- Loss of license;
Will I be held in jail while my drug case is pending?
An additional distinction between dp’s and felonies is that for dp’s, the case will be put on a summons and you cannot be placed in jail in lieu of bail. For felonies, the court could hold you on a warrant until your case is completed. This process has replaced traditional bail and allows the prosecutor to file a motion to detain you while the case is heard over time. Normally, there are time frames that must be adhered to in holding a person and that would preclude the indefinite holding without a trial or agreement. If you are held in jail or released with or without conditions, the prosecutor has to bring your case to trial, dismiss or downgrade the charges, agree to a plea, or the court has to admit you into a program like Pre-Trial Intervention.
What is a charge of failure to turnover N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(c) in Carteret?
The offense of failure to turnover is a distinct disorderly persons offense. It is often used as a means by which to drop a felony to a dp in cases where the prosecutor has proof issues or in cases where the defendant alleges that they had a prescription at one time. But the resolution to a dp failure to turnover is not limited to these circumstances. Instead, it can be used in any situation if all parties are in agreement. Often, it is a way for both sides to cut their losses and move on quickly. While pleading to a failure to turnover can be useful in some cases, the best lawyers will exhaust every potential avenue to getting the charges dismissed, along with assessing the viability of alternatives like Pre-Trial Intervention, in the course of handling your defense.
Need a Lawyer for Carteret Drug Possession Charges
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense for possessing CDS in Carteret, or you need representation in any criminal court in Middlesex County and New Jersey, we can help. First and foremost, criminal defense attorneys such as ours who understand this process and have experience defending drug cases, can argue for your release if you are being detained for drug charges. We have successfully argued for the release of clients charged with all manner of drug crimes, from basic possession to drug manufacturing. Our lawyers will ensure your rights are protected and that the evidence in your case is combed through to identify defense opportunities. We encourage you to contact our law office for a free consultation at (732)-659-9600 to discuss your case further.