OxyContin (oxycodone) is an extremely powerful and addictive opioid painkiller used to treat severe pain caused by arthritis, cancer, injuries, and other conditions. OxyContin also produces a high, which has led to its widespread sale and abuse for recreational purposes. Teens and young adults are at especially great risk, and with prescription drug abuse on the rise throughout Atlantic City and the United States, New Jersey arrests related to the possession and distribution of OxyContin and similar drugs are becoming more and more common.
There can be extremely serious consequences for the sale, possession with intent to distribute, or personal possession of OxyContin in Atlantic City, even if the defendant is a minor with no prior record of drug offenses. An OxyContin conviction could even compromise your son or daughter’s eligibility for student loans, internship programs, and other opportunities. Skilled and aggressive representation by a highly experienced Atlantic City OxyContin possession lawyer is essential. For immediate legal assistance, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free legal consultation.
What Happens if a Minor is Charged with OxyContin Possession in Atlantic City?
OxyContin is what’s called a “legend” drug, which means a drug that is only legal to possess if the person has a valid prescription. Without a valid prescription, OxyContin is an illegal substance, much like cocaine, methamphetamine, or any other street drug. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, better known simply as the DEA, has designated OxyContin as a Schedule II drug, which is the second most serious classification other than Schedule I,>a category which includes heroin.
When a person is arrested for OxyContin possession in New Jersey, they will be taken to a police station for booking, a process that involves fingerprinting and taking a mugshot. They may then be transported to a county jail until they can be released on bail. The county jail in Atlantic County is the Gerard L. Gormley Justice Facility, commonly known as the Atlantic County Jail. After the individual has been released on bail, they must return for all future court hearings. Failure to do so is a crime which will not only complicate the case, but cause the defendant to forfeit the bail money.
The process for juveniles is slightly different. Depending on the situation, the minor may be taken into police custody and temporarily held in a secure detention facility, or juvenile detention center. Unlike in adult cases, there is no bail in a case involving a juvenile.
NJ Penalties for Felony and Misdemeanor Possession or Distribution of OxyContin
Regardless of whether the defendant is a juvenile or an adult, he or she can receive devastating penalties for possessing OxyContin, possessing OxyContin with intent to distribute it, selling OxyContin, or forging a fraudulent prescription in order to obtain OxyContin without valid authorization from a licensed physician.
For adults, penalties may include expensive fines, incarceration in jail or prison, community service, probation, and other consequences. The penalties for teenagers are similar, and minors can even be incarcerated in juvenile detention centers. Further, in addition to the immediate penalties that are formally imposed by the courts, there can also be serious unintended consequences from an OxyContin conviction, such as increased difficulty getting hired, joining the military, qualifying for loans, or earning certain licenses, permits, or certificates.
Depending on the nature of the allegations, an OxyContin offense can be prosecuted as a disorderly persons offense, which is similar to a misdemeanor in other states, or as an indictable crime, which is equivalent to a felony in other states. Indictable crimes are categorized by degree: first degree crimes, second degree crimes, third degree crimes, and fourth degree crimes.
Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10.5, the New Jersey criminal statute addressing legend drug or prescription drug crimes, penalties for OxyContin offenses may include:
- Disorderly Persons OxyContin Offense
- Distributing four or fewer OxyContin pills (“dosage units”) without authorization to prescribe medication.
- Using OxyContin for recreational purposes (“a purpose other than treatment of sickness or injury”).
- Knowingly possessing four or fewer OxyContin pills.
The penalties for a disorderly persons offense include fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
- Fourth Degree OxyContin Crime
- Distributing OxyContin for pecuniary (financial) gain, possessing OxyContin, or having OxyContin under your control with intent to distribute.
- Using fraud or forgery to obtain OxyContin (e.g. forging a prescription slip).
- Possessing five or more OxyContin pills.
The penalties for a fourth degree crime may include a fine of up to $10,000, and up to 18 months in prison.
- Third Degree OxyContin Crime
- Distributing OxyContin, possessing OxyContin, or having OxyContin under your control with intent to distribute, in an amount of five to 99 pills.
The maximum fine for a third degree crime is normally $15,000. However, the statute creates an enhanced fine of up to $200,000. Additionally, the defendant can be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
- Second Degree OxyContin Crime
- Distributing OxyContin, possessing OxyContin, or having OxyContin under your control with intent to distribute, in an amount of 100 pills or more.
The maximum fine for a second degree crime is normally $150,000. However, the statute creates an enhanced fine of up to $300,000. In addition, the defendant can receive a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Our Atlantic City Defense Attorneys Handle OxyContin Possession Charges
The Atlantic City OxyContin possession attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych bring nearly half a century of combined experience to every case we handle. We may be able to have you or your child’s penalties reduced, or even have the case dismissed completely. When you are represented by an OxyContin defense lawyer from the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, you can expect proactive, strategic, around-the-clock support and counsel as we make every effort to obtain a favorable resolution for your case.
Make sure that your son or daughter’s legal rights are being vigorously protected by a knowledgeable and aggressive attorney handling OxyContin charges in Atlantic City. To set up a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.