In October 2016, Governor Christie signed legislation that expands drug addiction treatment programs statewide. The Governor has long expressed his belief in addressing drug addiction and focusing on treatment options. After all, there is cause for concern.
Overdose is the leading cause of death in the state of New Jersey. In 2014, the heroin death rate in Williamstown was twenty-five times greater than the national average. The epidemic is so widespread throughout the state that the opioid overdose reversal drug, known as Narcan, has been used more than 18,000 times since 2014. In the year 2016 alone, Narcan has been used 21.8 times per day which equates to one use per New Jersey county every day.
Understanding New Jersey Drug Crimes
Whether it is prescription drug abuse or illegal drug possession, the penalties surrounding New Jersey drug crimes are serious, oftentimes with life altering consequences for those involved as well as their family members. If you are a New Jersey resident, there are four important things to know about drug crimes:
- Controlled Dangerous Substances: A controlled dangerous substance is regulated by the state based upon its potential for abuse and addiction including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, as well as the compounds used to make them. Such drugs are categorized into five schedules ranging from Schedule I, which has great potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, to Schedule V, which has a low potential for abuse and an accepted medical use. An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can explain all five of the different schedules and the specific drugs that fall into each category.
- New Jersey Penalties: It is illegal to possess a controlled dangerous substance in the state of New Jersey without a valid medical prescription, although the exact penalty varies based upon the nature of the substance involved. For example, possession of a substance from Schedules I – IV can carry result in a fine up to $35,000 dollars as well as a prison sentence from 3-5 years. It is important to discuss the specifics of your case with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney in order to understand the exact penalties that may apply and to develop your best defense.
- Call an Attorney: If you or a loved one are arrested or charged with a drug crime, it is important to contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It is never too early to start to build your defense and your attorney can assist you through the lengthy process.
- Drug Court: Since the expansion of the program in 2013, more offenders are eligible for the New Jersey drug court program. For some offenders, the program is mandatory.
The experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. understand how addiction can lead to possession of a controlled dangerous substance, as well as a criminal drug charge. Speak to one of our attorneys today so that we can determine if drug court is a viable option for your case and to build a defense on your behalf.