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How are penalties for drug charges determined in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

An arrest for a drug offense in New Jersey could result in harsh consequences, including substantial fines and serious jail time.

The penalties for a possession arrest often vary, and there are several factors that can affect the level of the charge and the court’s final decision.

The type of substance

Your charges will depend on the type and amount of the controlled substance in your possession. While all drug charges are serious, possession of a large quantity of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, such as methamphetamine or heroin, will generally result in more severe penalties.

In New Jersey, you may also face charges for possession of paraphernalia, including pipes and syringes.

Intent to distribute

If your arrest reveals a large quantity of a controlled substance, the police may determine that you “intended to distribute,” or supply the substance to other people. Other evidence of intent to distribute includes customer lists and small bags. Intent to distribute is a serious felony with tough penalties.

The location of the offense

The degree of a drug charge can increase depending on where you were at the time of the offense. For example, if you are in a public park or school zone, you may face stiffer consequences.

Repeat offenses

Typically, consequences are less severe for first-time offenders than repeat offenders. Penalties increase significantly with subsequent convictions and include higher fines and mandatory minimum jail sentences.

A charge for possession of an illegal substance is no laughing matter, but the right approach to your defense may result in a better outcome.