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Drug Possession: Penalties and Defenses

Drug possession is a serious crime that can have severe consequences for those who are convicted. If you or someone you know has been charged with drug possession, it is important to understand the penalties you might face and the defenses that a criminal defense attorney can use to fight the charges. Since there are so many varying factors that can change the severity of a drug possession charge and the penalties you might face, it’s best to work with an expert attorney who can navigate all of the legal matters. 

What is Drug Possession?

Drug possession refers to the act of possessing illegal drugs or controlled substances without a valid prescription. In New Jersey, there are different degrees of drug possession depending on the type and amount of drug involved. 

For example, someone possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana for personal use may be charged with a disorderly persons offense, which could have them facing up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. However, it can get much more serious as the amount possessed increases. Anyone with more than 5 ounces will be considered to have the intent to distribute, which is a second-degree crime, leading to 5-10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000. 

Penalties for Drug Possession

It is important to understand that the type of drug in possession, and the amount, play a huge role in the deciding factors when it comes to a conviction. Another consideration is the jurisdiction you’re in and the laws that you may find there. In general, drug possession is a misdemeanor offense, although it can be charged as a felony in some cases. 

The most common penalties include fines, probation, community service and even jail time. In some cases, individuals might be eligible for drug treatment or rehab classes, in lieu of jail time. There are additional long-term consequences that can follow you around long after any sentence is done, including the struggle to find employment or housing, or the ability to secure professional licenses or other certifications. 

Have a Proper Defense

When it comes to drug possession charges, it is crucial to work with an attorney who understands and can navigate the varying laws and circumstances. There are a few valid defenses that can be used to protect your rights, including illegal search and seizure, lack of knowledge or intent, entrapment, or having a valid prescription. We at Catanzaro Law know and understand all the ins and outs of drug possession, and strive to utilize our knowledge and skills to best represent our clients. If you or someone you know has been charged with drug possession, don’t attempt to fight it on your own. Contact us today for a free consultation, and feel confident that you’ll be getting the representation you deserve! 


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