Statute N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 governs the unlawful possession of controlled dangerous substances in the state of New Jersey. Possession of a controlled dangerous substance or its analog is a serious offense and is often considered to be a crime of the third degree. This means that a person convicted of this crime may face up to five years in a New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $35,000.00. However, of New Jersey criminal defense lawyers can help you decide on the best course of action to minimize penalties and build your defense in the event that you are charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance. If you or someone you know has been charged with unlawful possession of a CDS such as heroin, cocaine, or marijuana, contact our law firm today to talk to an attorney.
“Constructive Possession” under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10
Those charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 should understand the difference between constructive possession and actual possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Actual possession indicates that a person is physically in control of a substance. A person found with drugs in his or her pocket can be charged with “actual” possession. An individual, traveling alone, who is found with drugs in his or her car can also be charged with “actual” possession because the drug is “about,” or near, his or her person.
“Constructive” possession means that an individual had knowledge of the presence of the drug on or about his or her person or property and had the ability to maintain dominion and control over this substance. For example, if a police officer stops a car with five occupants and discovers a bag of cocaine in the car, law permits that officer to charge each of those five occupants with possession of a controlled dangerous substance if the officer determines that each person had knowledge of the substance, and had the ability to exercise dominion and control over it.
“Constructive” possession is often difficult to prove in court, and as such it is in the best interest of anyone charged with this offense to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer before proceeding with their case. The lawyers at our firm can help you in this matter.
The attorneys at our criminal defense law firm represent individuals charged with drug possession in all of New Jersey’s twenty-one counties, including Monmouth and Essex counties. We are conveniently located in Freehold, New Jersey and have vast experience working throughout the area in municipalities such as Asbury Park. Our firm also maintains a Newark office which allows up to serve cities in norther New Jersey including the city of Hoboken.
Under federal law, there are currently five “schedules,” or classifications of controlled drugs. Drugs are classified into these schedules by certain criteria, such as how dangerous or addictive the substance is and whether or not it has any beneficial medical uses.
Schedule I drugs are considered to be the most dangerous controlled substances. The list of Schedule I drugs includes heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana. It should be noted that although marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug by the federal government, it is treated differently than other Schedule I drugs in the state of New Jersey based on state law.
Schedule II drugs are drugs with a high potential for abuse. They include drugs such as adderall, oxycodone and methadone.
Schedule III drugs include Anabolic steroids, Codeine, and Ketamine and also have accepted medical uses.
Schedule IV drugs, such as Valium and Xanax, are commonly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.
Schedule V drugs, like cough suppressants with Codeine, are commonly found in drug stores and often do not require a prescription. Individuals charged with unlawful possession of a Schedule V drug will typically face a crime of the fourth degree. Fourth degree crimes can carry up to three years in a New Jersey State Prison as well as fines of up to $15,000.00.
Possession of a CDS in a School Zone
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, a person found in possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a legally designated school zone or within 1,000 feet of property used for school purposes is subject to additional penalties. These penalties, which include additional jail time, community service, and fines, depend on what schedule of drug the individual is found to be in possession of and how much of the drug they possess.
The attorneys at our firm fight all types of drug charges, no matter the severity. New Jersey’s laws governing the possession of controlled dangerous substances are complicated and frequently evolving. For these reasons, it is imperative that anyone charged with possession of a CDS should contact a lawyer immediately to learn how to best handle their case and what rights they possess under the law.
The lawyers at our criminal defense firm are experienced trial attorneys who will fight to attain the very best outcome in your prescription drug case. Our attorneys work in conjunction with one another to obtain the best possible results for each and every client. Our attorneys have a track record of success and specialized legal degrees, above and beyond the ordinary legal degrees lawyers obtain.
If you or someone you know is in need of an aggressive team of lawyers with a track record of success, call our law offices, or simply click on the “Contact Us” tab. An attorney will get back to you shortly.