Understanding New Jersey’s Drug Possession Offenses
In New Jersey, while law enforcement officers take a tough stance on the illegal use or possession of controlled substances, the charges and potential penalties can vary significantly. Some are disorderly persons offenses, similar to a misdemeanor in other states. Most, however, are indictable offenses, with potential penalties of more than one year in prison.
Drug Possession in New Jersey
The New Jersey laws distinguish between four basic types of illegal drug possession:
- Possession of marijuana—Possession of less than 50 grams is a disorderly persons offense. You can face a jail term of up to six months, a fine of no more than $1,000, the possible loss of your drivers license, and mandatory drug rehab. If you are caught with more than 50 grams, you can be charged with an indictable offense, and could pay as much as $15,000 and spend 18 months in prison.
- Possession of narcotics or “controlled dangerous substances (CDRs)”—Generally, all other illegal drugs are considered controlled dangerous substances. Simple possession is an indictable offense, with a potential three-to-five year prison sentence, up to $25,000 in fines, loss of driving privileges, and compulsory drug education and rehabilitation.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia—Even if you don’t have illegal drugs in your possession, you can be charged with violation of the law if you have items that are generally, exclusively or in combination used to obtain a high from an illegal drug. This may include bongs, pipes, rolling papers, needles, balloons, roach clips and even baggies. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a disorderly persons offense, with a possible six month incarceration, fines of up to $1,000 and suspension of your drivers license.
- Unauthorized possession of prescription drugs—If you are arrested in possession of prescription drugs, but do not have a valid prescription from a licensed physician, you can face prosecution for a third-degree indictable offense, with a potential penalty of up to five years in prison.
Contact Mallon & Tranger
If you or someone you love is under investigation for or has been charged with violating New Jersey’s drug laws, contact us online or call a criminal defense attorney at 732-780-0230. There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.