Thousands of people each year are arrested for drug offenses in New Jersey, and many of these arrests occur in Ocean County. The legal circumstances surrounding drug arrests can be complicated and unique, leaving you with many questions when facing drug charges. Here are answers to some of the most common questions we are asked as experienced criminal defense lawyers serving clients in Point Pleasant, Barnegat, Ocean Township, Mantoloking
Manchester, Long Beach Township, and other Jersey Shore areas. For information pertaining to your specific case if you have been arrested for marijuana, heroin, cocaine, Xanax, Ecstasy, or another controlled dangerous substance, call our local offices at (848) 238-2100. Consultations are provided free of charge.
When Police Can Search for Drugs and Arrest You
If police see evidence that you were involved in a hand-to-hand drug transfer, identify drug packages or paraphernalia on your person or in your car, or otherwise identify specific, articulable facts associating you with drug possession, manufacture, distribution, or sale, officers may detain you for further investigation or seek a search warrant to inspect your car, home, or other property. If police then further establish probable cause that you have engaged in a drug offense in New Jersey, you may be arrested and charged with a drug crime.
Police, however, may not search your person (assuming that you are not already on probation or parole) for drugs or go through your home or car without a search warrant and without reasonable suspicion based on articulable facts or probable cause to justify such an intrusion on your privacy. Your lawyer may later be able to contest whether the police had sufficient cause to search you or your property if you are charged with a drug offense.
Types of Drug Charges You May Face
One of the most common drug charges in New Jersey is drug possession, also known as possession of CDS. The severity of drug possession charges varies based on the quantity and type of drug found in your possession. For example, possession of less than half an ounce of cocaine (under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10), for example, is a third-degree indictable offense that carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and several thousand dollars of potential fines. Simple possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana (under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10A(4)) is a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
You can also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia (under N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2) if police find you in possession of needles, rubber hoses, pipes, rolling papers, spoons, and the like. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a disorderly persons offense that carries fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in prison.
If you are caught with a larger quantity of controlled dangerous substances, along with items like baggies, scales, and other indicators that you were producing or distributing drugs, you may be charged with drug possession with intent to sell. Again, depending on the quantity and type of drug at issue, you may face an indictable offense, hefty fines in the tens of thousands of dollars, and years in jail. Charges for heroin distribution are common in Ocean County due to the ongoing opioid epidemic that has hit our area.
Potential Punishments if Convicted of a Drug Offense
In addition to fines and jail time, there are a number of other legal repercussions associated with drug charges in New Jersey. Possession of CDS in a vehicle can result in the suspension of your driver’s license for up to two years. Possession of narcotics or controlled dangerous substances can also result in the loss of your driver’s license. Even possession of marijuana can jeopardize your license. Finally, drug charges may result in an order that you enroll in drug rehabilitation at your own expense.
If you have been arrested and charged with drugs in Ocean County, NJ, you should call our firm to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney who can help. Our lawyers defend drug charges in local towns like Jackson, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Lacey Township, Lavallette, and surrounding communities. Get a free consultation today by calling (848) 238-2100.