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Punishments for drug possession

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2024 | Criminal Defense

New Jersey, known for its bustling cities and pristine beaches, also has strict laws regarding drug possession. While the Garden State legalized recreational marijuana in 2020, many other illegal substances remain firmly on the prohibited list.

Getting caught with drugs in New Jersey can have serious consequences, ranging from hefty fines to lengthy prison sentences. Understanding the potential punishments is important for anyone residing in or visiting the state.

Schedule I and II drugs

Schedule I and II drugs are highly addictive and dangerous substances, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, which carry the most severe penalties. Possession of small amounts (less than 5 grams) can lead to a sentence of 3-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000. Larger quantities can result in even harsher sentences.

Schedule III and IV drugs

Schedule III and IV drugs have less severe penalties but are still illegal to possess without a prescription. Examples include oxycodone, Xanax and Adderall. Possession can result in a sentence of 3-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Marijuana possession (under 21)

Recreational marijuana possession for individuals under 21 carries a fine of up to $500 for a first offense. Subsequent offenses can lead to higher fines and even community service.

Additional factors

It is important to note that these are just general guidelines, and the specific penalties can vary depending on several factors, such as:

  • Intent to distribute:Possession with the intent to distribute any drug, regardless of the schedule, can significantly increase the severity of the punishment.
  • Prior offenses:Having a history of drug offenses will likely result in harsher penalties for subsequent offenses.
  • Paraphernalia possession:Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as pipes or syringes, can also be a separate offense with its own set of penalties.

If you or someone you know struggles with drug addiction, there are resources available to help. The New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services offers a variety of treatment and support programs. Remember, drug addiction is a serious problem, and seeking help is important for overcoming it and avoiding legal consequences.

By staying informed and making responsible choices, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe and avoid potential charges.