New Jersey has stringent laws punishing those charged with drug offenses. If you or a loved one was charged with the possession of a controlled substance, you need assistance from a skilled Atlantic City criminal defense attorney. Facing New Jersey’s criminal justice system after being arrested and charged with a crime can be a scary experience. However, we can help you understand what to expect from your case moving forward. You may wonder if being in possession of a controlled substance such as Xanax can lead to an automatic conviction in New Jersey. Our Atlantic City drug charge defense attorneys from the Law Offices of John J. Zarych explain.
Will I Go to Jail for Having Xanax Without a Prescription in New Jersey?
Many people get confused and falsely believe they will not face criminal charges for possessing or otherwise consuming a substance that is commonly prescribed by physicians. However, you can quickly hit a wall if you get caught with a controlled substance without a valid prescription from a board-certified physician. Put simply, if you get caught with Xanax and don’t have a valid prescription for its use, you can face severe criminal penalties. Atlantic City criminal lawyer for Xanax possession John Zarych can help you fight these charges.
According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10, it is illegal to actually or constructively obtain or possess a controlled substance without a valid medical prescription. This legal statute is clear and leaves very little to interpretation. In New Jersey, only those compliant with this statute are allowed to possess and use a controlled substance, such as Xanax.
If you are found in possession or control of Xanax without a valid medical prescription, you can face prison time and steep fines. For instance, if you forged a prescription to get Xanax, you can face a third-degree indictable crime charge. This specific type of crime is serious, and if convicted, you can face up to five years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. If this has happened to you or a loved one, contact an experienced prescription drug charges defense lawyer.
However, your criminal charges can increase if you are found guilty of selling and distributing Xanax. For instance, if you are found with Xanax in excess of 100 tablets, caplets, or pills, you can be charged with a second-degree indictable crime. If convicted, you can face up to ten years in prison and up to $300,000 in criminal fines.
Being charged and convicted of possessing, selling, or distributing Xanax without a valid license can lead to severe criminal consequences. It is essential to hire an experienced New Jersey drug charges defense lawyer who can help you during this time.
How Can I Defend Against Charges for Having Xanax without a Prescription in New Jersey?
You can defend yourself against your drug charges involving Xanax, despite their potential consequences. Many times, defense strategies available to defendants often involve the circumstances surrounding your arrest and charges. It is essential to keep in mind that you have constitutional rights that should be respected at all times.
Suppose you were stopped by the police, which led to a discovery of Xanax without prescription. In these circumstances, everything from your stop to your search and seizure must be done following the constitutional mandate. According to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, all citizens – including criminal suspects – are protected against unreasonable or otherwise illegal searches and seizures.
Based on this principle, there are things the police can and cannot do during an investigation. A police officer can engage in a “reasonable” search if they have probable cause to believe you were in possession of Xanax without a valid prescription. A police officer cannot stop you and search your entire vehicle looking for drugs without probable cause. In order to search your vehicle, a police officer must have seen the illegal drug in plain sight, gathered some other articulable facts that support probable cause, or gone to court to get a search warrant. Any evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights cannot be admitted as evidence against you.
In your case, the prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime for which you are charged. If they cannot meet their burden of proof, you cannot be convicted. However, it is necessary to have a competent, skilled, and experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.
Are There Other Alternatives to Jail Time for Having Xanax without a Valid Prescription in N.J.?
As we mentioned, drug charges in New Jersey can lead to prison and hefty criminal fines. However, you may have an alternative option to incarceration. New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) acts as a diversion program where offenders avoid jail by participating in rehabilitation. While this program is a potential option, it is critical to understand that it is not available for all types of crimes. Typically, violent offenders are not eligible for PTI, and they will have to go through the ordinary course of prosecution.
The goal of PTI is to assist participants and help them avoid future drug incidences. To achieve this, PTI offers a structured treatment program to help participants avoid falling back on old habits. The most significant upside of this type of program is that it allows the defendant to avoid jail and avoid a criminal conviction record. As you may know, having a criminal record can have lasting, severe consequences. It is absolutely critical to talk to your lawyer and see whether you can qualify for this program and avoid a criminal conviction.
Criminal Defense Attorney Offering Free Consultations in New Jersey
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for having Xanax without a valid prescription in New Jersey, you need to act quickly. Facing New Jersey’s criminal justice system for drug charges can be overwhelming and challenging. However, you are innocent until proven otherwise. You can fight against your charges with our Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, we can fight aggressively and strategically to defend and uphold your rights as a defendant. To learn more about all of our services in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.