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Penalties for possessing controlled substances in New Jersey

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

When you face charges for possession of controlled substances, you must know the potential consequences and your available defense options.

New Jersey takes a firm stance on drug offenses. Knowledge is a powerful tool when confronting legal challenges.

Penalties for possession

In New Jersey, the penalties for controlled dangerous substance possession depend on the drug’s classification. Factors include the type and quantity of the substance, as well as your criminal history. There are five schedules based on the dangerousness of the drug and its potential for addiction and abuse. Schedule I identifies the most dangerous drugs. Substances in this classification have no recognized medical value and a high probability of abuse and addiction.

  • Possession of a Schedule I, II, III or IV drug is a third-degree crime that carries a prison sentence of three to five years and a fine of up to $35,000
  • Possession of certain narcotics is a second-degree crime, with penalties of five to ten years of jail time and a fine of up to $150,000
  • Possession of more than six ounces of marijuana is a fourth-degree crime, punishable by 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $25,000

It is legal in New Jersey to have possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

Potential defenses

In 2020, 86.7% of arrests for drug law violations in the United States were for possession of a controlled substance. When facing these charges, you must understand how to protect your rights.

You can pursue an unlawful search and seizure defense if the drug search violated your Fourth Amendment rights. Other options include lack of possession knowledge, medical necessity, mistakes in testing procedures and misidentification of substances.

Knowing your rights and exploring viable strategies helps you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.