Drug Crimes

The manufacturing, distribution, or sale of illicit drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or marijuana, is a severely punished offense in New Jersey. The State recognizes the abundance of drug-related crime in New Jersey and so it is state policy to punish these drug offenders to the highest extent of the law. According to statute 2C:35-1.1, "it is the intention of the Legislature to provide for the strict punishment, deterrence, and incapacitation of the most culpable and dangerous drug offenders…so as ultimately to reduce the demand for illegal controlled substances and the incidence of drug-related crime." If facing these charges you should obtain experienced legal representation. LS&P Lawyers have expertise in criminal defense trials such as these and represent people all over New Jersey. We are available 24/7 for consultation.

It is unlawful to manufacture, distribute, sell or possess with the intent to sell a controlled substance or even a counterfeit controlled substance. However, the degree of the crime depends on the nature and amount of the substance in question. The list of offenses is as follows:

First Degree Offense: Punishable by 25 years to life imprisonment

  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell 5 or more ounces of heroin, coca leaves, or any identical derivative of these substances. A fine of up to $500,000 also may be imposed. Defendant must serve one-third to one-half of his sentence with no chance of parole.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell 100 mg or more of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or "acid") or any chemical derivative of this substance. A fine of up to $500,000 may also be imposed. Defendant must serve one-third to one-half of his sentence with no chance of parole.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell 10 grams or more of phencyclidine (PCP) or any chemical derivative of this substance. A fine of up to $500,000 may also be imposed. Defendant must serve one-third to one-half of his sentence with no chance of parole.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell 5 ounces or more of methamphetamine or any chemical derivative of this substance or chemicals used to make this substance (P2P). A fine of up to $300,000 may also be imposed.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell 25 pounds or more of marijuana, possession of 50 marijuana plants regardless of weight, or five pounds or more of hashish. A fine of up to $300,000 may be imposed.
  • Selling a Schedule I or II controlled substance which results in a death caused by the drugs in question

Second Degree Offense: Punishable by 10 to 25 years in prison

  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell one-half to 5 ounces of heroin, coca leaves, or any identical derivative of these substances.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell less than 100 mg or an undetermined amount of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or "acid") or any chemical derivative of this substance.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell less than 10 grams or an undetermined amount of phencyclidine (PCP) or any chemical derivative of this substance.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell one-half to 5 ounces of methamphetamine or any chemical derivative of this substance or chemicals used to make this substance (P2P).
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell 5 to 25 pounds of marijuana, possession of 10 to 50 marijuana plants regardless of weight, or one to five pounds of hashish.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell more than 100 dosages of a prescription drug obtained lawfully by a licensed medical professional. A fine of up to $300,000 may be imposed.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell one ounce or more of a Schedule I or II other than those discussed.

Third Degree Offense: Punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment

  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell less than one-half ounce of heroin, coca leaves, or any identical derivative of these substances. A fine of up to $75,000 may be imposed.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell less than one-half ounce of methamphetamine or any chemical derivative of this substance or chemicals used to make this substance (P2P). A fine of up to $75,000 may be imposed.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell one ounce to five pounds of marijuana, or five grams to one pound of hashish. A fine of up to $25,000 may be imposed.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell less than one ounce of a Schedule I or II other than those discussed. A fine of up to $75,000 may be imposed.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell between 5 and 100 dosages of a prescription drug obtained lawfully by a licensed medical professional. A fine of up to $200,000 may be imposed.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell any other controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedule I, II, III, or IV. A fine of up to $25,000 may be imposed.

Fourth Degree Offense: Punishable by 6 to 18 months in prison

  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell less than one ounce of marijuana, or less than five grams of hashish.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell less than 5 dosages of a prescription drug obtained lawfully by a licensed medical professional.
  • Selling or possessing with the intent to sell any Schedule V substance. A fine of up to $25,000 may be imposed.

When determining the degree of crime, the quantity involved may be aggregated together. Thus, if one has been manufacturing meth for years, the quantity of all the meth made over that time is added together to determine the seriousness of the offense. Also, the sale or distribution of controlled substances to a minor or a pregnant woman will constitute doubling the terms of imprisonment, parole ineligibility, and fines, even if the defendant did not know the customer was a minor or pregnant.

The State must prove that the defendant knowingly possessed the drugs in question and had the intent to distribute said drugs. Possession may be proved as constructive or joint possession, but joint possession of drugs does not constitute distribution between two people. However, cases allow proof of intent by the circumstances of the possession. Quantity, quality, and packaging of the drugs in question can all be used as factors to prove intent to distribute. If an enormous quantity of drugs is present and packaged in a way which would ease distribution, an expert in the drug trade can testify that a person in possession of such drugs has the intent to distribute.

As you can see, New Jersey has a very hard stance on distributing controlled substances. If you are facing these charges it is a good idea to seek legal help. Please contact LS&P Lawyers if you need legal representation.

New Jersey Lawyer News - Drug Crime