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New Brunswick Drug Defense Attorney
The penalties for almost any drug charge are serious if you are convicted. A drug offense is almost always a felony whether the complaint or indictment involves distribution or possession of CDS. This is one of the primary reasons that you need to obtain representation by a skilled lawyer if you were arrested for a drug offense.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is a powerhouse criminal defense firm with several former prosecutors on staff. Jason Seidman, Esq., even served as the supervisor of the gangs, guns and drugs task force of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. Our attorneys possess the knowledge and experience (i.e. over 100 years combined) that you need to successfully defend any Middlesex County drug charge.
Contact our New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Piscataway or East Brunswick Office for a free initial consultation.
CDS Charges in Middlesex County
The New Jersey Criminal Code makes almost every drug charge an indictable crime of either the first, second, third or fourth degree. The only exception is an offense for possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana or 5 grams or less of hashish. It is important for anyone facing CDS charges to have a working knowledge of the fundamental principles surrounding this area of law.
Grades of Drug Offense. A drug offense can come in just about any grade provided by law. Indictable CDS cases come in the form of a first, second, third of fourth degree crime that fall within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Division Middlesex County Superior Court. A violation that is a disorderly persons offense falls with the limited jurisdiction of the municipal court. This following is some additional information regarding each grade.
- First Degree. The most severe grade is a first degree crime which typically involves distribution of a significant quantity of CDS or high level involvement in trafficking of drugs. An arrest and conviction for this variety of drug charge carries a minimum of ten years in prison and, in some cases, as much as a life sentence.
- Second Degree. A second degree CDS/drug also arises predominantly in the context of distributing, selling or possession with intent to distribute. You face five to ten years in prison if convicted of this level of crime.
- Third Degree. The largest segment of indictable drug cases are third degree crimes since this category includes not only those who distribute lower weights of cocaine, heroin and many other drugs but also possession of virtually all forms of CDS.
- Fourth Degree. A limited number of drug charges fall within the fourth degree range and carry a potential prison term of up to 18 months.
- Disorderly Person Offense. The only drug charges that are disorderly persons offenses, the lowest grade of violation, are possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana, failure to make lawful disposition of CDS, being under the influence of drugs or failing to have prescription medicine in its original container.
Possession of Drugs. Most drug cases entail allegations of possession rather than distribution of drugs. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 sets forth the general rules for possession charges. For a detail discussion of this subject, please refer to our drug possession page.
Distribution of Drugs
A charge for selling, distributing or possessing drugs with intent to distribute typically arises out of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. This statute makes it a crime to “manufacture, distribute or dispense, or to possess or have under his control with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog”. The degree of crime resulting from this conduct hinges on the type and quantity of drugs distributed. The following is the breakdown of the grading of CDS distribution charges under both N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 (“Prescription legend drugs”).
- It is a first degree crime where it involves five ounces or more of heroin, cocaine, MDMA or methamphetamine, 100 milligrams or more of LSD, or 25 pounds or more of marijuana.
- It is a second degree crime to sell or distribute at least one half ounce but less than five ounces of heroin, cocaine, MDMA or methamphetamine, less than 100 milligrams of LSD, or at least five pounds but less than 25 pounds of marijuana, or more than 100 dosage units of a prescription legend drug.
- Distribution is a third degree crime where it involves less than one half ounce of heroin, cocaine, MDMA or methamphetamine, at least one ounce but less than five pounds of marijuana, or at least 5 but less than 100 dosage units of a prescription legend drug.
- Possession with intent to distribute less than one ounce of marijuana or less than five dosage units of a prescription legend drug is a fourth degree crime.
Enhanced Consequences For Distributing CDS. There are special rules that apply when an individual distributes CDS in a location which is afforded enhanced protection such as near a school or public park where children are likely to be present. We have provided specific resource pages on these subjects including intent to distribute in a school zone, distribution within 500 feet of a public park or housing, maintaining a CDS production facility or leader of a narcotics trafficking network.We can help you to determine whether you are eligible for participation in either of these programs and navigate you through the process of enrolling in them.
Avoiding Prosecution Through Condition Discharge or Pretrial Intervention
There are two diversion programs that allow a defendant to avoid prosecution on a drug charge provided certain conditions are met. Eligibility is limited to individuals with no prior criminal record (i.e First Time Offender) who have never been diverted previously. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are adapt in securing admission into both programs on behalf of clients. We can help you avoid a conviction through:
- Conditional Discharge. The conditional discharge program allows an individual to avoid prosecution for a disorderly persons offense for possession of cds or drug paraphernalia. An individual must complete one year of probation during which he or she must remain arrest free, perform community service, abstain from use of drugs and report as directed. If the program is successfully completed, the charge is dismissed.
- Pretrial Intervention. Pretrial intervention is very similar to conditional discharge except it applies to indictable offenses. Third degree and fourth degree crimes are eligible for the program which typically ranges from one to three years. The standard conditions to completion are submission of clean urine tests, payment of all fines and penalties, performance of community service and reporting to probation as directed. Successful completion of the program results in dismissal of the original felony charge with any record of conviction.
Drug Court. Another program that is available to a defendant is Drug Court. This is customarily only utilized by a defendant to avoid jail. The program involves treatment and intensive supervision that is designed to attack the root of the individual’s legal problems, namely, addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Middlesex County Drug Offense Defense Lawyers
The lawyers at our firm provide skilled defense against drug offenses ranging from possession of a small amount of marijuana to extremely serious drug trafficking and distribution charges. An attorney at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is ready to analyze the facts of your case in order to craft the most effective strategy.
You are constitutionally protected against unreasonable search and seizure and our attorneys will insure that your rights were not violated. If you were subjected to an improper search of your car, apartment, or house, you can rest assured that we will challenge the conduct of police in hopes of invalidating the arrest.
A successful defense also be fostered through persuasive negotiating. We possess over a century of experience defending just about every variety of drug charge you can imagine and have learned what works and doesn’t in handling these cases. Our team even includes a lawyer who was a supervisor in the county prosecutor’s office. Our attorneys know who and how to convince the judge and prosecutor that a favorable plea should be extended.
If efforts to obtain a dismissal of the charge or an acceptable plea bargain fail, you can trust that we have the knowledge and experience to succeed at trial on your behalf.
Contact the Piscataway, East Brunswick, Woodbridge or New Brunswick Office of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall to speak to an attorney immediately.