New Jersey imposes serious penalties for drug possession and related crimes. These legal consequences vary depending on the type of drug and the amount. 

Before facing a court date, review the possible results of a New Jersey drug conviction. 

Drug paraphernalia possession

New Jersey defines paraphernalia as anything used to put controlled substances into the body, such as syringes and pipes. The state considers this a disorderly persons offense, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. 

Third-degree and fourth-degree possession

Third-degree possession refers to possession of small amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, unauthorized prescription drugs and other controlled substances (with the exception of cannabis). A convicted person could receive a fine of up to $35,000 along with three to five years in prison. 

A fourth-degree charge applies to possession of controlled substances in Schedule V, considered the least dangerous. This conviction carries a fine of up to $15,000. 

Second-degree possession

This crime applies to larger amounts of controlled substances as follows: 

  • 1/2 to 5 oz of heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine 
  • More than 1 oz of any other narcotic 
  • More than 100 mg of LSD 

New Jersey can also impose distribution charges simply for evidence of intent to distribute. This could include customer lists, large amounts of cash or packaging materials. 

Some offenders may qualify for New Jersey’s drug court. This diversion program provides substance abuse rehabilitation and other services in a court-supervised environment. Successful completion of drug court can result in the expungement of charges in some cases.