The Differences Between Misdemeanor And Felony Drug Charges
Drug Possession Charges in New Jersey
Drug possession charges are often divided into two categories: the lower level misdemeanor offenses and higher-level felony offenses. Regardless of whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, any drug charge is serious and has severe and long-term consequences. Knowing the difference between what constitutes a misdemeanor and a felony can help you and your criminal defense attorney decide how to approach potential criminal proceedings and give you the best outcome possible.
Drug Laws in New Jersey
In New Jersey, misdemeanors are known as disorderly conduct charges. The only possession charge that falls into this category is the possession of under 50 grams of marijuana. Punishment for a conviction can mean up to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, and a mark on your criminal record. Disorderly drug possession may be able to be removed through the process of expungement, though.
Possession of all other narcotics are categorized as either a third or fourth-degree felony, with the third being the most serious. For a fourth-degree felony, the drug must be a Schedule V narcotic under federal law, which is still a controlled substance but has a lower level of abuse potential than most drugs. These include codeine cough syrups and certain anti-seizure medications like Lyrica. If convicted, a person could serve up to 18 months in prison and given up a $25,000 fine. Most illegal or controlled substances are punished under third-degree sentencing. Heroin, cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, and most opioid pain medications are covered by this law. Punishment can include up to 5 years in prison and up to $35,000 in fines.
Depending on the circumstances of your situation, the state may look to apply more serious charges including possession with intent to sell. This means you may be facing far more serious potential punishments. For possession charges, though, you and your attorney can weigh your options on how to approach your case. For first time offenders, you may have the opportunity to enter a court-led drug rehabilitation program. If successfully completed, this gives defendants the opportunity to avoid major prison time and a permanent record. You can also talk to the prosecuting attorney about providing information on other illegal drug activity in return for a reduced charge or sentence if you have such knowledge. The most important move to make when arrested for drug possession is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. They will help you formulate a plan moving forward and protect all the rights afforded to you under the law.
Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Drug Charges Today!
Were you arrested or charged with drug possession in New Jersey or Pennsylvania? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your drug charges. Attorney David Gelman has successfully represented clients charged with drug possession throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Call us at 856-433-1818 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. Our office is conveniently located at 1940 Rt 70 East, Suite 4, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.