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What You Need to Know About New Jersey Drug Laws

Every state, including New Jersey, has certain laws pertaining to the manufacture and possession of narcotics. Known as controlled dangerous substances, or CDS, these drugs are subject to regulations and individuals caught in possession of them can be punished with fines and incarceration.

The best way to ensure that you are in compliance with New Jersey CDS laws is to familiarize yourself with them. Depending upon the type and amount of each CDS in possession, offenses carry different penalties.

First, New Jersey is one of many states that divides CDS into different “schedules.” These schedules classify drugs based on their inherent danger and severity. Often this relates to how addictive they are, the probability that they will be abused and their role in recognized medical use. There are five schedules, with Schedule I including the most dangerous CDS and each schedule decreasing in severity to Schedule V, which includes drugs considered to be the least dangerous among illegal CDS.

While certain states are doing away with mandatory minimum drug penalties, New Jersey is not among them. Considered a strict state when it comes to enforcement of drug laws, New Jersey delivers fixed sentences for drug crimes regardless of mitigating factors (such as criminal record or extenuating circumstances). Due to the law, judges have no discretion in delivering sentences below the minimum. Those punished under NJ drug laws are also not eligible for parole while they are serving their sentences.

While each drug carries its own punishment depending on classification and the amount in possession, generally speaking, possession of a CDS weighing 50 grams or less carries with it a punishment of six months and a fine of $1,000. The penalties increase in severity as the schedules get more serious and the amounts in possession are higher.

New Jersey drug laws are serious and those arrested for possession of a CDS should seek immediate help from a qualified criminal defense lawyer.