New Brunswick NJ Prescription Drug Charges Lawyer
Prescription Drug Attorneys in Middlesex County, New Jersey
In recent years, New Jersey has taken a harder stance on possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription from a doctor. We typically represent clients for unlawful possession of Adderall, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Xanax throughout New Jersey. Many cases involve a small amount of pills borrowed from a friend or family member or even from arrests occurring as a result of carrying medication not in the proper container. These acts may seem harmless to many people, but the State considers it a potential crime. This is because prescription medications are considered narcotics because they are powerful opiates considered gateway drugs to more serious drugs such as Heroin or Cocaine. A conviction can expose you to incarceration in prison, probation, loss of your driver’s license, and thousands in fines. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver dedicate a large portion of their practice exclusively to defending clients for criminal and municipal court charges in Middlesex County, including East Brunswick, South Brunswick, Woodbridge, Cranbury, Sayreville, South Amboy, Piscataway, and Jamesburg. If you would like to discuss your case with an experience Middlesex County prescription drug defense lawyer contact our Edison office at (732) 659-9600.
Real Results For Real People Fighting Prescription Drug Charges
We go above and beyond to deliver our clients the best possible results. Here is a review from a client whose case we recently handled:
New Jersey Prescription Drug Offenses
A prescription legend drug is defined as a medication that can only be sold or dispensed only upon the prescription of a licensed medical practitioner (licensed physician, veterinarian or dentist). In the broadest possible terms, there are two main types of prescription drug charges: possession charges and distribution charges. In New Jersey, both types of charges are addressed in the NJ criminal code by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5. If you try to forge or falsify a prescription to obtain Rx drugs then you will be charged the separate crime of prescription drug forgery.
Obtain by Fraud or Forgery:
Prescription fraud is a very serious criminal offense in New Jersey and is addressed in the NJ criminal code by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-13. The statute stipulates that it is illegal for anyone to obtain prescription drugs or prescription drug pads through fraud, forgery, deception, subterfuge, or misrepresentation. One of the most common examples of prescription fraud is when someone takes a prescription written for someone else and attempts to pass it off as their own. Prescription fraud is a third degree offense, which means that it is a felony. As a felony drug offense, prescription fraud carries significant prison time. A conviction or guilty plea can result in the defendant being sentenced to 3-5 years in state prison. Additionally, depending on the circumstances of the offense, the defendant might also face theft crime charges for stealing the prescription medication or prescription drug pads.
Prescription forgery is a distinct crime from prescription fraud, but both offenses can be charged in criminal cases involving these drugs. Prescription forgery offenses are addressed in the criminal code by N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1, which makes it illegal for an individual to fake a doctor’s signature on a prescription pad or change the amount of pills included in a prescription. Like prescription fraud, prescription forgery is classified as a third degree crime and carries a possible penalty of 3-5 years in state prison.
Possession of Prescription Drugs:
- 4th Degree Felony – Possession of 5 or more dosages – punishable by up to 18 months in prison
- Disorderly Persons Offenses – Possession of 4 or less dosages – punishable by up to 6 months in county jail.
Under the Unlawful Influence of Prescription Drugs:
- Disorderly Persons Offense – Exhibiting symptoms of being under the influence – punishable by up to 6 months in county jail.
What To Expect If Charged With Distribution of Prescription Medications
Like many other drug crimes, the degree of punishment is determined by the amount of drugs confiscated. Penalties associated with the Prescription Drug Distribution Law in New Jersey rely upon the amount of “dosages” of the prescription drug on hand at the time of arrest. For this reason and many others, it is important to have the representation of an experienced criminal lawyer because these cases often hinge on many issues that must be litigated in court or discussed in a plea arrangement with the prosecution. For example, a defense lawyer can challenge the State’s evidence that the prescription drugs were possessed by the defendant with the intent to distribute for monetary gain. Moreover, suppression issues such as lack of probable cause, illegal search and seizure, and inadmissible statements are very common in drug cases. See the chart below that breaks down the degree of charges for prescription drug distribution and possession with intent to distribute.
Penalties for Prescription Drug Distribution Charges in New Jersey
|Second Degree||100 or more dosage units for financial gain||5 – 10 years in prison; presumption of incarceration|
|Third Degree||99 – 5 dosage units for financial gain||3 – 5 years in prison|
|Fourth Degree||4 or fewer dosage for financial gain||Up to 18 months in prison|
|Disorderly Persons Offense||4 or fewer dosage without financial gain||Up to 6 months in jail|
Contact a Piscataway NJ Prescription Drug Defense Lawyer for Answers
As illustrated in the above chart, prescription drug crimes are very serious and can be very difficult to handle for those without experience. Properly handled, these charges will often result in downgrade or admittance into Pre-Trial Intervention. In this case, you would avoid a conviction and record upon completion of the program. As founding attorney, William Proetta, has successfully handled scores of criminal, municipal, and superior court cases including many prescription drug charges. We represent clients throughout Middlesex County, including in North Brunswick, Highland Park, Carteret, Avenel, Dunellen, and Monroe. If you would like to speak with an experienced Middlesex County prescription drug defense attorney and build a case strategy upon your facts to meet your needs, please contact our office conveniently located in Edison at (732) 659-9600 for a free initial consultation.