If you or a loved one was found in possession of cocaine or another illegal substance in Atlantic City, or anywhere else in New Jersey, your freedom and livelihood jeopardy. The consequences associated with the possession of illegal substances can cause irreparable damage to a defendant and their loved ones.
To discuss the details of your case in a free, confidential consultation and see how you can defend against your criminal charges, call The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 625-3006.
Cocaine Possession in New Jersey
The state of New Jersey has very stringent laws against the possession of illegal substances. Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II illegal substance under federal law. This means the drug has the potential of abuse along with physical and psychological dependence. The posture employed by the federal government is analogous to that of New Jersey. This means that if you are found in possession of cocaine, you will likely face severe criminal consequences.
The extent and severity of your penalties will depend on the amount of cocaine you possessed at the time of the arrest. There are different types of possession you need to be aware of:
Actual possession refers to the immediate control and power over the illegal substance. For instance, you’d be in actual possession of cocaine if a police officer finds the illicit substance in your pockets, bag, backpack, or purse.
Constructive possession means you don’t have the illegal substance within your immediate control, but you have knowledge of its location and can exert control or power over it at any point in time.
If found guilty of actual or constructive possession of cocaine, you can face serious consequences. We explain the criminal consequences of a conviction of this nature below.
Criminal Penalties for Cocaine Possession: Prison Time & Fines
Being charged with the possession of an illegal drug is one of the most severe crimes you can be accused of. You can be charged with simple possession of cocaine if you possess less than half an ounce of this illegal substance. This type of charge is classified as a third-degree felony under New Jersey law. Simple possession of cocaine can lead to fines that can add up to $75,000 and five years in prison. Besides the hefty fines and prison time, you may be ordered to perform community service. Additionally, you may lose your driver’s license. Having skilled, professional legal representation by your side is of the utmost importance if you have been charged with simple possession of cocaine within state borders.
As mentioned before, the extent of your penalties is strictly correlated to the amount of cocaine you possessed at the time of your arrest. If you are found in possession of five and one-half ounces of cocaine, you could be looking at a second-degree felony that can carry up to a maximum of $150,000 in fines and up to ten years of prison time.
On the other hand, if you are found guilty of possessing more than five (5) ounces of cocaine and had the intent to distribute, the penalties can be even higher. This offense is classified as a first-degree felony which can carry a maximum of $500,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.
As with many other crimes, possession of cocaine can have even harsher penalties for those who are repeat offenders. Retaining the services of a knowledgeable, skilled, and committed criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between losing your liberty or walking free.
Are There Any Defenses Against My Cocaine Possession Charges?
There may be arguments that can be made against your criminal charges. For instance, if law enforcement officers forced their way onto your premises in search of controlled substances without your authorization or a court-ordered warrant, they’d be violating your constitutional rights, and the charges against you may be dropped. This is one simple example of a way you can raise a defense argument to fight against your charges. A knowledgeable, skilled lawyer can help you determine the best defense strategies based on the specific circumstances surrounding your case.
Atlantic City Cocaine Possession Criminal Defense Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
Your life can change in the blink of an eye after facing drug possession charges. The social, legal, and financial consequences associated with a criminal conviction of this nature can be brutal. If you or a loved one have been charged with possession of cocaine, you need immediate legal representation. Do not give up hope in such a difficult time. Turn to Atlantic City criminal defense lawyer John J. Zaryck for a professional, dedicated, and aggressive criminal defense strategy. To learn more about your case in a free, confidential consultation, call The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 625-3006.