Hudson County Drug Crimes Attorney
Have you been arrested and charged with a drug crime in Hudson County? If so, you should seek help from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. New Jersey prosecutors often seek harsh penalties for drug-related offenses. So a conviction could have serious consequences with life-changing implications.
At William Proetta Criminal Law, we have successfully handled over 1,000 defense cases over the years for clients throughout Hudson County and surrounding communities in New Jersey. We understand how high the stakes are for you, which is why we are committed to aggressively protecting your rights.
Our attorneys know exactly what to expect from the local court system, and we can use our in-depth knowledge to establish a strong foundation for your defense. Contact us today to learn more in a free and confidential case review.
How Our Hudson County Drug Crime Attorneys Will Fight for You
When you work with the Hudson County drug crime defense lawyers of William Proetta Criminal Law, we can:
- Help you understand the charges – We can offer straightforward explanations of the charges you face, the stages of the legal process, and the possible outcomes. So you will be prepared every step of the way.
- Develop a powerful defense case – We can conduct an independent investigation to identify useful evidence for your case. This may include interviewing witnesses, obtaining evidence that wasn’t uncovered by police, and working with qualified experts. We can also examine any evidence against you to determine whether it was obtained or handled improperly.
- Seek to have the charges reduced or dismissed – Our seasoned attorneys know the Hudson County legal system and the local prosecutors. We can anticipate how the prosecution will most likely develop their case and incorporate that knowledge into our defense strategy. In many cases, we have successfully negotiated to have the charges against our clients reduced or dismissed entirely.
- Recommend alternative penalties – In some cases, we can recommend clients for “diversion programs” that act as alternatives to criminal penalties. New Jersey uses drug treatment programs, supervised probation programs, and pretrial intervention (PTI) programs to help nonviolent first-time offenders avoid potential fines, incarceration, or criminal records.
- Take your case to trial– If arguing your case in court is the best path forward, we will be zealous advocates at trial.
Our Hudson County Defense Attorneys Take on All Types of Drug Crime Cases
Here are some of the most common types of drug crime cases the attorneys of William Proetta Criminal Law handle:
- Drug possession – A drug possession offense occurs when a person knowingly or purposely has an illegal drug or other controlled substance in their possession without a valid prescription or legal authorization. A person is considered to have possession of a controlled substance if they have it either on their person or if they have “constructive” possession of it. Constructive possession occurs when a person knows where the substance is and has access to it, even though they do not actually have the substance on them at the time. Simply possessing an illegal drug is an automatic criminal offense.
- Drug distribution – A drug distribution offense occurs when a person possesses or has access to controlled substances and has the intent to manufacture, sell, or distribute them. Since it’s nearly impossible to prove someone’s intentions, prosecutors typically rely on circumstantial evidence for drug distribution cases. For instance, if a person has large amounts of a controlled substance along with lots of cash or drug packaging materials, prosecutors will likely argue that the evidence indicates intent to distribute.
- Drug use or being under the influence – A drug use offense occurs when a person is caught using or acting under the influence of a controlled substance without a legal prescription or other authorization.
- Drug paraphernalia – A drug paraphernalia offense occurs when a person is in possession of any items designed to manufacture or administer a controlled substance. Common examples of paraphernalia include syringes, pipes, bongs, miniature spoons, certain chemicals, and manufacturing tools.
- Drug trafficking – A drug trafficking offense occurs when a person is in possession of exceptionally large quantities of a controlled substance and they are involved in the sale, transport, or importation of these substances, specifically across state lines. The more dangerous the drug, the more severe the penalty for trafficking it.
What Are the Penalties from Drug Crime Convictions?
The state of New Jersey imposes harsh penalties on individuals convicted of drug-related crimes. In Hudson County, the severity of the penalties you face can vary substantially depending on the substance in question, the amount of the substance, and the nature of the offense:
- Unlawful possession of marijuana – Since New Jersey legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2021, adults 21 and older have been allowed to possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana at any given time. If someone 21 or older has more than 6 ounces of marijuana, they can face up to $25,000 in fines and up to 18 months’ jail time. If someone under the age of 21 possesses marijuana in any amount, they may face penalties such as written warnings, referrals to community services, and possible loss of driving privileges.
- Possession of other drugs in Schedules I-IV – Possession of other controlled substances in Schedules I-IV is typically considered a third-degree indictable crime in New Jersey. Indictable crimes in New Jersey are roughly equivalent to crimes that other states call felonies. Third-degree crimes are punishable by up to $35,000 in fines and three to five years’ jail time.
- Possession of Schedule V drugs – Possession of a Schedule V drug without a valid prescription is usually prosecuted as a fourth-degree indictable crime, which is punishable by up to $15,000 in fines and 18 months in jail.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia – Possession of any items intended for manufacturing, cultivating, or consuming drugs is considered a disorderly persons offense, which is New Jersey’s equivalent of a misdemeanor. These offenses can still carry a prison sentence of up to six months, as well as the suspension of your driver’s license.
What You Need to Know About New Jersey Drug Laws
New Jersey drug laws separate controlled substances into “schedules” based on certain risk factors, including whether the substance has any accepted medical uses and the substance’s potential for abuse. These controlled substance schedules include:
- Schedule I controlled substances – Drugs with no currently accepted medical uses and a high potential for abuse. Examples of Schedule I drugs include heroin, certain opiates, MDMA, LSD, and psilocybin. Marijuana is also currently listed as a Schedule I drug although it is legal for recreational use in New Jersey.
- Schedule II controlled substances – Drugs with limited medical uses and a high potential for abuse. Examples of Schedule II drugs include opium, some opiate derivatives, fentanyl, methadone, and cocaine.
- Schedule III controlled substances – Drugs with some accepted medical uses and a moderately high potential for abuse. Examples of Schedule III drugs include methamphetamine, other amphetamines and amphetamine salts, ketamine, PCP, barbiturates, and pharmaceuticals with moderate doses of codeine or morphine.
- Schedule IV controlled substances – Drugs with accepted medical uses and a relatively low potential for abuse. Examples of Schedule IV drugs include barbital, phenobarbital, and pharmaceuticals that act as depressants on the central nervous system.
- Schedule V controlled substances – Drugs with accepted medical uses and the lowest potential for abuse relative to other controlled substances. Some may be sold over-the-counter. Examples of Schedule V drugs include pharmaceuticals with small doses of substances like opium, opium salts, and codeine.
What Are Some Common Defenses to Drug Charges?
The Hudson County drug crime defense lawyers of
- Faulty evidence – If any of the prosecution’s evidence was obtained through illegal searches, flawed substance testing procedures, or other questionable means, we can argue to have it suppressed in court.
- Factual errors – We can point out factual errors in the prosecution’s case, such as a lack of proof that the substances in question are scheduled drugs or that you were actually or constructively in possession of drugs.
- Procedural errors – If law enforcement made procedural mistakes such as conducting an illegal search or seizure, holding a misleading suspect lineup, or failing to advise you of your Miranda rights, we may be able to have any evidence they obtained thrown out.
- Unlawful prejudice – In some cases, we can argue that law enforcement officers decided to arrest, search, or detain you solely based on protected characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, or religion.
- Lack of ownership – The prosecution must be able to show that the drugs they seized belonged to you. The fact that you were around drugs does not necessarily make you guilty of a crime.
Get Smart Legal Advice from an Experienced Hudson County Drug Crime Lawyer Now
If you are facing drug-related charges in Hudson County, the defense attorneys of William Proetta Criminal Law are prepared to take swift action on your behalf. Contact us today to learn more about how we can protect your rights in a confidential and free case review.