In New Jersey, dealing drugs is a serious crime.
Illegal substances are categorized by their potential for addiction, value in the pharmaceutical industry, and harm to users. These categories of drugs are called schedules. The following is a guide to the schedules of controlled dangerous substances and their qualities.
Schedule I substances:
have a high potential for abuse
have no current medical use in the United States
have no accepted safety regulations regarding its use
Examples: heroin, LSD, MDMA.
Schedule II substances:
have high potential for abuse
have some currently, but restricted, medical use
have potential for addiction
Examples: morphine, amphetamines, cocaine.
Schedule III substances:
have a lesser potential for abuse than schedule I and II drugs
have current medical use
have a low potential for addiction
Examples: anabolic steriods, ketamine
Schedule IV substances:
have a low potential for abuse
have current medical use
abuse could lead to a dependance, but this dependance is less likely than a schedule III drug
Examples: Chloral hydrate, benzodiazepines
Schedule V substances:
have a lower potential for abuse than schedule IV drugs
have currently practiced medical usage
could lead to a physical or psychological dependance, but this is less likely than with a schedule IV substance
Examples: Pyrovalerone, pregabalin, lacosamide
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 defines the penalties for possession with the intent to distribute any controlled dangerous substance that is categorized by schedule. Aside from a few of the more widely-distrubuted substances, possession with the intention to distribute any schedule I, II, III or IV drug is a third degree crime with a fine of up to $25,000. Distribution of a schedule V substance is a fourth degree crime, but also carries the penalty of a fine of up to $25,000.
Although heroin is classified as a schedule I substance and cocaine is grouped into schedule II, selling either of these drugs is subject to a different set of penalties. Possession and sale of an amount of heroin or cocaine greater than five ounces is a first degree crime. Any person convicted of this crime faces up to twenty years in jail and a fine of up to $500,000. First degree crimes carry the presumption of incarceration, which means that except for incredibly rare, unusual circumstances, the defentant will be required to serve time in jail. Additionally, any person convicted of first degree heroin or cocaine distribution must serve at least one third of his or her jail term before he or she may be eligible for parole.
Selling any amount of heroin or cocaine between a half ounce and five ounces is a second degree crime, which is punishable by five to ten years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000. The sale of less than a half ounce of either of these drugs is a third degree crime. For the sale of heroin or cocaine, the penalties for a third degree crime differ a little from other third degree crimes. A defendant found guilty still faces three to five years in prison, but instead of a $15,000 fine, the defendant faces a $75,000 fine.
Methamphetamine is another substance that has become popular in recent years and accounts for a large number of drug-related arrests. Possession of more than five ounces of methamphetamine with the intention to distribute it is a first degree crime, punishable by up to twenty years in jail and up to $300,000 in fines. For an amount between a half ounce and five ounces, dealing methamphetamine is a second degree offense. And for less than a half ounce, distributing methamphetamine is a third degree crime and punishable by up to five years in jail and a $75,000 fine.
It is a first degree crime to possess 100 milligrams or more of LSD or ten or more grams of PCP. Like heroin and cocaine distribution, the penalties for either of these crimes are up to twenty years in jail and up to $500,000 in fines. Any smaller amount of either of these drugs is a second degree crime.
Marijuana is a unique substance because unlike other drugs, it is not assigned to a schedule. The possession of twenty-five pounds or more of marijuana or five pounds or more of hashish is a first degree crime. In addition to jail time, fines of up to $300,000 may be imposed. For any amount of marijuana between five and twenty-five pounds, the penalties are five to ten years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000. Selling any amount of marijuana between one ounce and five pounds is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or three to five years in jail. For selling less than an ounce of marijuana, accused parties face up to eighteen months in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.
In addition to the penalties listed above, additional ones may apply if an individual crime meets certain circumstances. If the defendant was caught selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or school property, he or she may become subject to a mandatory jail sentence. For crimes that already carry a jail sentence, the jail term or amount of time that must elapse before becoming eligible for parole may be extended. Possessing a firearm while distributing drugs can be grounds for a ten year jail sentence. Selling or intending to sell any drug other than marijuana within five hundred feet of a public library, public park or public housing project is a second degree crime. If the drug distributed is less than one ounce of marijuana, it is a third degree crime.
To convict a defendant of drug distribution, the court must prove that the substances recovered belonged to the defendant and that he or she intended to sell or distribute them to others. To prove otherwise, a knowledgeable attorney is key. Let Ron Bar-Nadav help you build and win your case. His years of experience in New Jersey criminal law will be your best asset when itâ€™s time to prove your innocence. Call Ron Bar-Nadav today at 201-525-1555 to discuss the specifics of your case and get started on building your defense.