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Middlesex County Drug Lawyer

Criminal charges related to drugs occur just as frequently in Middlesex County as they do in other jurisdictions in New Jersey. While some of these drug offenses are treated as serious crimes, others may seem minor and not worth the effort of a legal challenge. However, the consequences of a conviction for even a minor drug offense can stretch far into the future.

Records of drug offenses are available online to potential employers and landlords, and they could also affect your credit score and your credibility. If you are facing drug charges, it may be worthwhile to call a Middlesex County drug lawyer. A distinguished drug attorney could help you define your options for defending against the charges, and learn what to do to protect your legal rights.

What is the Severity of Criminal Substance Charges?

The severity of a drug offense in Middlesex County is based on a variety of factors, including the type of substance involved, the quantity at issue, and whether there is any evidence of manufacturing, distribution, or other aggravating circumstances. Even possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a separate violation of the law. It may be important for anyone charged to be aware of implications of each type of violation.

Defining Possession of Controlled Substances

The least severe drug offenses involve simple possession or use of marijuana or another controlled substance, as described in New Jersey Statutes §2C:35-10. As a Middlesex County drug lawyer knows, if someone possesses a certain quantity of a substance, it could be inferred that the individual intends to distribute the substance, which is a much more serious offense. In addition, possession of certain quantities of a controlled substance is in and of itself a more serious offense.

Minor Possession vs Major Possession

Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana or five grams or less of hash is treated as a disorderly person violation. Similarly, a person found to be under the influence of a controlled substance is also considered a "disorderly person," unless that substance was prescribed for medical purposes. A disorderly person offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months of jail time. Community service requirements may be added if the offense is committed on or near school property.

By contrast, those possessing more than 50 grams of marijuana may be found guilty of a fourth-degree crime and face a fine as high as $25,000. Possession of other controlled substances can result in a conviction for a third or fourth-degree crime depending on the nature of the substance. Maximum fines for these crimes range from $15,000 to $35,000.

Penalties Associated with Manufacturing and Distributing Drugs

The laws in Middlesex County impose more severe penalties in cases where an individual is convicted of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense controlled substances. The basic statute governing these offenses is set forth in N.J. Stat. §2C:35-5.

As with possession, the penalties for these more serious crimes also vary depending on the type of substance involved, as well as the quantity. Penalties can include up to $500,000 in fines and a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Understanding How an Attorney Could Help

Because the laws governing use, possession, distribution, and manufacturing of controlled substances in New Jersey are so complex and vary widely in severity, it could be crucial to understand the implications of any drug charge and important to ensure that vital evidence is collected and preserved.

An experienced Middlesex County drug lawyer could help with all stages of a drug case and devise a strategy to pursue the best possible result to your case. If you are facing drug charges, call now for a free consultation to learn how an experienced local attorney could go to work for you.