Manchester Drug Crime Attorney
Drug Possession Attorneys in Manchester Township NJ
The war on drugs has by no means ended in Manchester, New Jersey, or across America. In actuality, there are approximately 2.3 million people living in prisons across the United States, in addition to those locked up in federal prison or county jails. A staggering 191,000 people in U.S. prisons are there, having been sentenced for drug offenses. An additional 100,000 people are in federal prisons for drug offenses, while another 120,000 are in county jails across the country as a result of drug related charges. Many of those arrested for, and convicted of, drug possession and distribution crimes suffer from substance abuse issues, while others may be categorized as drug dealers. Like the rest of the country, Manchester Township is not immune to substance abuse issues and drug related crime. In fact, the town of Manchester is located in Ocean County, which suffered a 20% increase in drug crimes from 2015 to 2016 according to the New Jersey State Police. Generally, these crimes fall into two overarching categories related to either possession of a controlled dangerous substance, or distributing, dispensing, and manufacturing drugs.
Within these sub-groups, you can be charged with criminal indictable offenses for drug possession, possession with intent to distribute, distributing drugs, distribution in a school zone or near public property, or a disorderly persons offense for possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana. The severity of the penalties range depending on the degree and circumstances of the crime. When you find yourself arrested for drugs in the Township of Manchester, the best next step is to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who frequently defends clients in Manchester Municipal Court and Ocean County Superior Court. At William Proetta Criminal Law, our local drug attorneys have many years of experience representing those accused of possessing and distributing drugs in Manchester, and we are here to provide the legal guidance you need now. Contact us at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation to discuss how we can help successfully handle the case and put this behind you.
Drug Possession Charges in Manchester, New Jersey
New Jersey authorizes the police to charge you with a crime if you possess, distribute, manufacture, or possess with the intent to distribute drugs listed on the Schedule of Controlled Dangerous Substances. Moreover, drug offenses may involve a myriad of illegal or regulated substances, including heroin, cocaine, MDMA, synthetic marijuana, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs like Xanax, Adderall, Percocet, and Oxycodone. A common offense for any of these is drug possession, which is typically a crime of third degree under N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-10. Across the state, 82% of drug crimes committed were related to possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the last year reported. Possessing smaller amounts of drugs, or possession under circumstances inconsistent with dealing drugs, will permit the charging of this offense. For third degree drug possession, the top-tier penalties include 3 to 5 years in state prison and up to $35,000 in fines.
Manchester NJ Marijuana Possession
Not all drug offenses in Manchester are indictable crimes, as some are considered lower-level disorderly persons offenses. For example, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4) is a disorderly persons offense. When the charges arise in Manchester, the case will be heard in Manchester Township Municipal Court located at 1 Colonial Drive. Here, if applicable and eligible, you can apply for a conditional discharge. If admitted into this diversion program, your case will be dismissed upon completion of all obligations/conditions. Worst case scenario, a conviction can land you in Ocean County Jail for 6 months and, and aside from court costs and fees, you could be forced to pay as much as $1,000 in additional fines.
This is also the case for anyone convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia under N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1. Per the laws in NJ, paraphernalia is a general term referring to anything that may be used for ingesting or storing drugs. Usually, if drugs are found in or near drug paraphernalia, both charges will be filed simultaneously.
Municipal court charges are less serious than indictable crimes and for this reason, people may are misled into thinking they do not need representation. This is far from the truth, especially if you want to avoid a conviction and a criminal record.
Distributing Drugs and Intent to Distribute in Manchester Township
Some of the drug charges filed against individuals in Manchester Township are for drug distribution in one form or another under N.J.S.A 2C:35-5. Typically, if you possess drugs in higher quantities, or you have common drug packaging materials, scales, or cutting agents, you will be charged with drug possession with intent to distribute. Also, if it is alleged that you manufactured the drugs (ie. making meth in a meth lab) or grew them (ie. growing marijuana in your house), you could be charged with maintaining a drug production facility under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4. Likewise, if the drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute occurred near a school zone or you have been accused of distributing drugs near public property, additional charges with harsher penalties may apply.
Overall, a felony drug charge will be designated as a first, second, third, or fourth degree crime. Each crime carries a potential sentencing range for those convicted. For instance, first degree drug charges warrant a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years, along with a presumption of incarceration. Second degree drug charges are punishable by 5 to 10 years, with a presumption of incarceration. Third Degree drug possession or distribution entails prison time ranging from 3 to 5 years, although there is no presumption of incarceration for first-time offenders. Lastly, drug charges for a fourth degree crime may result in up to 18 months in state prison, although there is a presumption of non-incarceration for those with no criminal history.
When a violation of the drug statutes is classified as an indictable crime in Manchester, the case must be defended in Ocean County Superior Court located at 120 Hooper Avenue in Toms River.
Need a Manchester NJ Drug Lawyer to Defend My Case
If you are facing drug charges in Manchester, you should at the very least consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can assist you with making an educated decision. Knowledge is power in every situation, including in the face of drug possession or distribution allegations. Walking into court on your own puts you at risk for a negative result, and even the unfortunate reality of a jail sentence. When you have been charged with drugs, go to court armed with information, know your rights, and get help from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you would like a free consultation after being arrested for drugs in Manchester NJ, contact us at (848) 238-2100 today.