New Jersey Drug Trafficking Lawyer
New Jersey takes drug trafficking extremely seriously. Considering the nation’s current struggles with drug abuse, it is hardly surprising that the potential penalties for a conviction are severe.
With consequences ranging from stiff fines to years in prison, the stakes are high. Distinguished drug attorneys are here to help. Common questions that lawyers hear include:
- What does drug trafficking mean?
- What are the potential penalties?
- What are possible defenses?
New Jersey has a catch-all statute for illegal possession, distribution, and manufacturing of illegal drugs. This is New Jersey Statute 2C:35-5. This statute does not differentiate between a person’s mental state when they are found with drugs. This means that if a person is found with five ounces of cocaine, for example, what that person intended to do with it is irrelevant.
The State further separates its drug law by type of drug and amount. When people think of drug trafficking, they generally think of large amounts of drugs. While New Jersey does not have a separate drug trafficking statute, there are categories of potential punishments for specific amounts of drugs found. The strictest examples include:
- Five ounces or more of heroin is a first-degree crime
- Five ounces or more of methamphetamine is a first-degree crime
- 25 pounds or more of marijuana is a first-degree crime
One thing to note here is the relatively small amount of heroin needed to qualify as a first-degree crime. Five ounces is hardly what one thinks when they think of drug trafficking, but New Jersey issues the most severe punishment in their criminal law for this violation.Potential Penalties for a Trafficking Conviction
The penalties associated with drug trafficking cases are severe. They are universally crimes of the first-degree. This involves a maximum of 20 years in prison with a minimum of 10. Additionally, there are extremely heavy fines involved up to $500,000.
Specific sentencing guidelines for drug cases are found in New Jersey Statute 2C:35-5 and more information about sentencing for felonies is located at New Jersey Statute 2C:43-6.Possible Drug Trafficking Defenses
Being accused of drug trafficking is a very serious allegation. But just as it is difficult for the defendant, the case can be very difficult to prove for the prosecution.
New Jersey drug trafficking lawyers work to make proving the case as hard for the prosecution as possible. People tend to believe that once a person is arrested for drug trafficking that the prosecution has an open and shut case. This is simply not true. The prosecution must be able to prove a number of things, including:
- Were the drugs lawfully seized?
- Was the warrant applied for and executed properly?
- Was the defendant properly informed of their rights before interrogation?
- Was a confidential informant used? If so, will the informant need to testify in court?
- Did the tests performed at the state laboratory come back with a positive result? If so, were the tests performed properly?
These are just a few of the avenues that New Jersey drug trafficking attorneys can pursue in defense of a client.Contacting a Lawyer
From arraignment, to bail hearings, to pre-trial motions, to arguing your case before the jury, New Jersey drug trafficking lawyers are ready to protect your rights.