Drug Possession Laws in New Jersey
In New Jersey, it is unlawful for an individual to knowingly or purposely possess a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). Penalties for possession vary depending on the drug and amount in possession. Moreover, penalties will be contingent on the nature of the possession. Possession with an intent to distribute will carry heftier fines and jail time than simple possession. In addition, penalties differ for a first offense and any subsequent offenses. Regardless of the drug or amount in possession, an individual guilty of any of the following offenses risks losing his or her driver’s license, or at minimum, suspension of the license.
New Jersey classifies controlled substances by “Schedules,” with Schedule I substances considered the most dangerous. If you are found with a controlled dangerous substance that is classified as a Schedule I, II, III or IV, you may be guilty of a third degree crime and subject to a fine up to $35,000. Some of the more common drugs to fall within one of these four schedules are: cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, acid, ecstasy and hallucinogens. Possession of a controlled substance classified as Schedule I, II, III or IV may result in three to five years of incarceration. Additionally, an individual guilty of this section will lose his or her driver’s license and be enrolled in mandatory drug rehabilitation programs. If you are found with a controlled dangerous substance classified as Schedule V, you may be guilty of a fourth degree crime and subject to a fine up to $15,000.
New Jersey drug laws separate marijuana possession into two categories. Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana is considered a fourth degree crime, with a possible fine up to $25,000. Under this offense, you may face up to 18 months in prison.
Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, on the other hand, is considered a disorderly person offense. This may result in up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. Further, you may lose your driver’s license and have to enroll in a drug rehabilitation program.
Aside from possession of controlled substances, an individual may face up to six months in prison if he or she is found with drug paraphernalia. The individual may face a minimum fine of $500, maximum $1,000, and have his or her driver’s license suspended for up to two years. It is also illegal to posses a controlled dangerous substance within 1,000 feet of a school property. If you are found guilty of possessing a controlled dangerous substance within 1,000 feet of a school, a judge may impose a fine and mandatory hours of community service. The minimum number of hours for community service is 100.
If you are convicted a subsequent time, the penalties nearly double. The fines and jail time will vary depending on the classification of the drug and amount in possession. However, typically both the fine and jail time will double for a second conviction. For example, a second offense marijuana possession over 50 grams may result in a fine up to $50,000 and jail time not exceeding 36 months. As previously mentioned, a first time offense within this category comes with a maximum $25,000 fine and 18 months of jail time. New Jersey drug possession laws are strict and it is therefore important to consult an attorney when faced with any of the above charges.