Atlantic City Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance Lawyer
Drug possession is an incredibly serious crime in New Jersey. In many cases, drug possession crimes have increased fines that make the penalties more serious than those of other crimes of the same level. Although Schedule II drugs may not be the “worst” drugs, you can still face severe penalties for possessing these drugs, especially if you were caught selling or transporting them.
For help with your Schedule II drug possession case, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Our Atlantic City Schedule II drug possession attorneys represent those accused of serious drug crimes and work to get charges dropped and dismissed. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.
What is a Schedule II Drug?
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the primary federal agency responsible for fighting the “War on Drugs” in the US. The DEA and federal law divide drugs into different “Schedules” based on the dangers of the drug, the risk of abuse and addiction, and the lack of therapeutic value. Each state, including New Jersey, follows this outline and puts drugs into the same or a similar “Schedule” system for drug possession crimes.
Schedule I is the most serious type of drug, containing highly addictive drugs with no medical use, according to the government. Schedule II drugs have a higher level of control and are used for medical purposes, primarily as painkillers. However, other Schedule II drugs are still illicit drugs that you cannot get a prescription for – though some derivatives of these drugs may be used for medical care. Drug Schedules go down to Schedule V drugs, which may not be heavily controlled and could even be legally available over the counter.
Common examples of Schedule II drugs that are well known and popularly abused or used as recreational drugs include the following:
Other drugs may also fall into this category, and possession of these drugs without a valid prescription can lead to serious criminal charges.
Criminal Charges for Possession of Schedule II Drugs
Drug possession is typically charged under one of three statutes in New Jersey:
- N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10 covers “simple possession” of illegal drugs
- N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-5 covers “possession with the intent to deliver” (PWID) or possession with the intent to “manufacture” or “dispense”
- N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10.5 covers possession and distribution of prescription drugs
Since Schedule II drugs can include both illicit drugs like cocaine as well as prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, you could be charged under various statutes if you illegally possess these drugs.
Police and prosecutors will determine whether your case is “simple possession” or PWID based on the specifics of your case. Most cases of drug possession for personal use are considered “simple possession,” which carries lighter penalties. If it is clear that you intended to sell or transfer drugs based on the quantity of drugs that you have; the presence of guns, cash, and scales; and storage of drugs in individual quantities for sale, police may charge you with PWID. PWID carries increased criminal penalties.
Penalties for Drug Possession for Schedule II Drugs in NJ
Possession or use of an illegal drug under § 2C:35-10 can carry high penalties. Any drug classified as Schedule I, II, III, or IV (with minor exceptions) can lead to charges for a third degree crime. This level of crime typically carries 3-5 years in jail and fines up to $15,000. However, drug possession increases this base fine to a maximum of $35,000, meaning much harsher penalties than similar crimes.
If you were charged with possession with the intent to deliver, the charges are more severe. These penalties are altered based on the amount of the drug that you possessed with the intent to deliver. For most Schedule II drugs, the cutoff is one ounce, such that charges for less than an ounce are third degree crimes and charges for an ounce or more are second degree crimes. This third degree crime still carries 3-5 years in prison, but the fine is increased to a maximum of $75,000. For this second degree crime, you can face 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
The PWID statute has a specific carve-out for cocaine and other drugs derived from the coca leaf, as well as any drugs derived from heroin. In normal drug terms, any drug derived from heroin or cocaine is a “narcotic,” which are typically Schedule I and II drugs. That means that cocaine or any Schedule II narcotic carries different weight cutoffs and penalties:
- Under one half ounce leads to a third degree crime punished by 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $75,000.
- Over one half ounce, but under 5 ounces, leads to a second degree crime punished by 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
- Over 5 ounces leads to a first degree crime punished by 10-20 years in prison, including a minimum period of incarceration without the possibility of parole, and fines up to $500,000.
Prescription Schedule II drugs may be charged under § 2C:35-10.5, which may have altered penalties and may have “de minimis” exceptions where penalties are reduced for possession of very small amounts.
Call Our Atlantic City Schedule II Drug Possession Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
If you were charged with a drug possession crime involving cocaine, narcotics, or a Schedule II drug, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our lawyers offer free legal consultations to help potential clients understand the charges they face and the penalties those charges could carry. For help getting your charges reduced or dismissed, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.