Across the country we’re finding an increasing problem with drugs. New Jersey is no exception to this widespread trend. The age of drug users is decreasing, with 40 percent of high school students in the United States having tried marijuana one or more times. New Jersey is slightly lower than the national average at 37 percent, but still high. The death count from heroin and prescription drugs more than doubled in the past year in New Jersey. In 2013, 1,188 people died from overdoses, with 112 relating to heroin and prescription drugs.
In New Jersey, the most popular drugs include marijuana, heroin and prescription medication. On the street, one painkiller pill can go for $25 while a hit of heroin is $3. New Jersey has one of the highest rates of deaths for heroin, more than places such as New York City.
The police have been cracking down on heroin possession throughout New Jersey. This past year police had their largest seizure of heroin in the last decade in Union County after seizing 5.5 kilograms (4,300 bricks), with an estimated street value of $3 million.
In Middlesex County alone, three people were arrested for large possessions of heroin, powdered cocaine, crack, and marijuana from a home on Mountain Avenue. In the bust, 2,800 bags of heroin, 16.9 grams of powdered cocaine, 9 grams of crack cocaine, and 5.5 grams of marijuana were found.
If you have been arrested on drug charges, you need to understand your rights. Make sure that you think before you talk, and always remember you have the right to remain silent. Make sure that you cooperate even if you feel that your arrest is unfair.
We understand that if you are charged for possession of drugs this can be a confusing and difficult time for you. We want to help you understand to the best of our abilities the process that you will go through and also what to do in this situation.
Actual Possession versus Constructive Possession
If you are charged with actual possession, the substance was in your possession or under your control. Constructive possession is an extended possession where a person has no hands-on custody of an object. This form of possession exists where a person had knowledge of a product plus the ability to control it, without having physical contact of it. Possession is not just limited to one person; it can be shared by several people.
How Controlled Substances are Graded in New Jersey
Controlled substances are graded according to a schedule. A schedule categorizes the drugs on how addictive and dangerous they are. This means that possession of any commonly used substances is a crime in the third degree.
- Schedule I level drugs include heroin, LSD, mescaline, and peyote.
- Schedule II drugs include opium, cocaine, methadone, and oxycodone.
- Schedule III drugs include amphetamines, methamphetamines, anabolic steroids, and ketamine.
A third degree offense is punishable by three to five years of prison and up to a $35,000 fine (in drug cases). In New Jersey, all drug charges carry a mandatory minimum of six-month drivers’ license suspension.
Other Potential Consequences After a Drug Arrest
A drug arrest can change your life forever. It’s important to seek help right away. If you are convicted of a drug possession you will have a criminal record which will hurt your career, educational opportunities, and ability to gain a professional license, to name a few. If you have children, this can lead to legal fights should child custody become an issue. Other issues may arise such as your right to vote and your right to possess firearms.
Being arrested for drug possession is no joke. The best advice is to stay away from drugs. However, if you are arrested, get the help of a lawyer right away.
What to Do After a Drug Arrest in New Jersey
Being arrested for a drug possession charge is a life-changing situation. Your way of life will change as a result of this arrest. Depending on the severity or the amount of the drug you possessed, you’ll be facing different charges.
It’s also important to recognize that often times a drug arrest indicates a drug addiction. Depending on the type of arrest and your background, you may be placed into a treatment center.
It’s important to get students the help they need right away. High school students who return to school after coming out of rehab are quickly re-exposed to drugs. In fact, 93 percent of these students will be offered drugs on the first day back.
Also keep in mind that the way today’s students get drugs is not the same as it was in the past. Getting drugs is as easy as going into their parent’s medicine cabinets or retaining an injury.
New Jersey is taking steps to resolve the current drug epidemic, particularly with heroin, a schedule I drug. Know that if you are in the unfortunate situation where you are arrested for either actual possession or constructive possession, you need a lawyer. I want to help you and make sure you know what’s going on. I am not here to make you feel embarrassed. I am here to guide you on the best course of action. Contact me today to discuss your situation and how I can help you.