Drug crimes are one of the biggest focuses for state law enforcement, and hundreds of thousands of people are arrested and charged with drug possession crimes across the country each year. In New Jersey, drug crimes can carry years of potential jail time and extremely high fines.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime in Brooklawn, NJ or the surrounding areas, contact the Brooklawn drug crimes defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Our attorneys have combined decades of experience fighting drug charges on behalf of our clients, and we may be able to help with your case. For a free consultation on your charges, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.
Simple Drug Possession Charges in Brooklawn
One of the most common drug charges is for “simple” drug possession. This crime is referred to as “simple possession” as opposed to “possession with the intent to deliver” (PWID). Simple possession includes charges for possessing any illegal drug with the intent to use it yourself. New Jersey’s basic drug offense under N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10 covers simple possession as well as use of any controlled substance.
Drug possession crimes may be charged as different levels of crime depending on the type of drug possessed. Drugs are usually classified under “schedules” which indicate the danger of the drug. More dangerous drugs with less medical use and higher risk of addiction are classified in lower-numbered schedules, like I or II, whereas more controlled drugs commonly used as prescription medication might be classified in schedules III, IV, or V. Some examples of each of these classes of drug include:
Schedule I Drugs
- Psilocybin Mushrooms
Schedule II Drugs
Schedule III Drugs
- Crystal Meth
- Amphetamines (e.g. Adderall)
Many drugs beyond schedule III are more obscure chemical formulas not typically used as street drugs. However, you can still be charged with simple possession for prescription drugs if you do not have a prescription in your name.
Drug Distribution and Sale Charges in Brooklawn
New Jersey’s other most common drug crime is possession with the intent to deliver/distribute under N.J.S.A. § 2C:25-5. PWID is a more serious offense, since the government sees selling and distributing drugs further increases the number of other simple possession offenses.
For this crime, there is no distinction between “delivery,” “distribution,” or “sale.” This means that you can be charged for giving drugs to someone else whether you deliver a quantity of drugs to a street seller, sell drugs on the street, or give drugs to a friend free of charge.
When being charged with distribution or sale charges, police usually use a few tactics. First, they may use undercover police or police informants to purchase drugs from dealers. In these cases, the evidence of actual delivery may be enough to convict the defendant.
Alternatively, police may find someone with large quantities of drugs, and they will charge this person with the intent to distribute the drugs. These charges are harder to prove, because it is difficult to know anyone else’s intent. However, if they have evidence of drugs packaged in individual amounts, large amounts of cash, scales for weighing the drugs, guns, or multiple cell phones, the government may be able to use this as evidence that you did indeed have the intent to sell the drugs.
The penalties for drug distribution or PWID are usually more serious than the penalties for simple possession.
Drug Manufacturing and Trafficking
These offenses are taken very seriously, since they are the beginning point of the spread of drugs. Police often work for months or years building cases against manufacturing and distribution networks, and many of these crimes may even be part of a federal investigation. Under New Jersey law, these are charged under N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-5, the same statute as PWID and distribution.
The Penalties for Drug Crimes in Brooklawn
Simple drug possession is graded differently depending on what drug you possess. For most drugs Schedule I-IV, the crime is a third degree crime punished by 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $35,000. For Schedule V drugs, the crime is a fourth degree crime punished by up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $15,000.
Possession of marijuana is either a fourth degree crime punished by up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000 or a disorderly persons offense punished by up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000. This crime shifts based on the amount possessed, with 50 grams or more yielding the higher penalties.
PWID crimes vary more broadly based on the drug possessed and the amount possessed. Serious illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine produce the highest penalties, then Schedule I or II drugs, LSD, crystal meth, and marijuana also have their own penalties. Possession or distribution of higher quantities often yields more serious offenses. At the worse, these charges can be first degree crimes, punished by 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $500,000.
Often, the fines for drug crimes are higher than the typical penalty for other crimes of the same level.
Our Brooklawn Drug Crime Defense Lawyers Can Help
If you or a loved one was charged with drug crimes in Brooklawn, talk to the Brooklawn drug charge defense lawyers at The Law Office of John J. Zarych today. To schedule a free consultation with our criminal defense lawyers, call us today at (609) 616-4956.