Hudson County NJ Prescription Drug Lawyer

      Conviction for possession of prescription drugs is a serious crime in New Jersey.  This is a very different offense than Possession with Intent to Distribute, and carries fewer consequences.  Prescription drug possession in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5.  Luckily, prescription drugs in are treated differently than most other drugs.  Even so, a Hudson County NJ prescription drug charge can cost you thousands in finesjail, a criminal recorddriver’s license suspensions, and can affect professional licenses. 

What are the Penalties?

If you have under 5 pills / doses, it is a disorderly persons offense carrying a possible:

  • 6 Months in Jail;
  • $1,000 Fine;
  • Criminal Record;
  • 6-24 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

If you have over 4 pills / doses, it is a 4th degree crime carrying a possible:

  • 18 Months in Prison;
  • $10,000 Fine;
  • Criminal Record;
  • 6-24 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

Can I Fight my Possession of Prescription Drugs Charge?

It is important to know your rights at all stages of a search, seizure and arrest.  With over 40 Years Experience as a Judge, Prosecutor, and Defense Counsel, the Attorneys of Avery & Avery know all the tricks and tactics police use to illegally obtain evidence.  As Criminal Defense Lawyers, we have mastered the identification of flaws in the States case, and will work with you to either avoid a criminal conviction, or have the case thrown out completely.  

If you have been charged with this or any other crime, our Experienced Hudson County NJ Prescription Drug Attorneys are the best in the State and will fight to keep you safe!      

Use of or Being Under the Influence of Drugs 

If you are being charged not with possession, but merely being under the influence of drugs, the charges are far less serious.  Being found under the influence of drugs is a disorderly persons offense.  In New Jersey, a Disorderly Persons offense carries a maximum of 6 months in jail, a criminal record, and $1,000 fine.  

In these cases it is not necessary for the police to prove you were under a specific drug, but they must prove that you were under the influence of something illegal or for which you had no prescription.  Generally this is done by testimony of a drug recognition expert, except the cases involving marijuana.  There are many defenses to these crimes, for a free consultation, call us at 201-943-2445.    

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia  

Very often a client is charged simultaneously with possession the prescription drug itself, Xanax, Adderall, Steroids, etc, as well as charged for possession of drug paraphernalia such as pipes, bongs, rolling papers, grinders, syringes / needles, spoons, scales, etc.  In NJ this is an extra ticket and a Disorderly Persons offense which can add an additional 6 month jail term, $1,000 fine and possible 2 year NJ drivers license suspension.        

Drug paraphernalia charges can be attacked in a variety of ways, including proving they are not for drug use, that the police seizure was illegal, through plea agreement, or through the use of alternative programs such as Conditional Discharge and Pre Trial Intervention (PTI) programs.                                                   

Frequently Asked Questions

What prescription drugs can I be charged for?

You can be charged for possession of any prescription drug which you do not have a valid prescription for.  The most commonly illegally used prescription drugs which NJ prosecutes for are, Oxycontin, Percocet, Xanax, Adderall, Steroids, and Ambien.  For a fuller list of drugs which are available by prescription only, see here.  If you have been caught in possession of any of these drugs without a prescription you need an experienced Hudson County NJ Prescription Drug Possession Attorney.  Call now for a free consultation, 201-943-2445.

Can I be charged with both possession and possession with intent to distribute?

As the name of the offense indicates, it is the intent to distribute that really matters.  As long as the prosecutor can demonstrate you intended to and had the ability to sell or distribute the Oxycontin, Xanax, Adderall, Steroids, etc, you can be found guilty and you should strongly consider contacting a Hudson County NJ drug possession lawyer.

I allowed the Police to search my car, can we still fight probable cause?

Unfortunately, in most cases doing this is constitutionally permissible.  A majority of motor vehicle related drug cases are discovered only because the Defendant was asked and allowed the police to search their car.  There is no requirement that you allow the police to search the car, you are only giving up your rights and legally providing them with evidence against you.  With that said, there are times where the police conduct may constitute coercion, which can be used to suppress the evidence, usually resulting in a dismissed case.   To talk about whether what the police did was legal, call one of our drug crime defense team now, at 201-943-2445.

Does the amount of drugs possessed matter?

If you have more than 4 doses / pills of whichever drug, you will be charged for a fourth degree crime rather than a disorderly persons offense. A Judge will also be more inclined to mandate more than the minimum sanctions should you have far more than 4 pills / doses.  If the quantity was sufficiently large, the police will often also charge the defendant with Possession with Intent to Distribute, which carries much more serious consequences.  

It is also important to note that what constitutes a ‘dose’ of a prescription drug will be determined by a Judge.  This means that we are often able to successfully argue to a Judge that because of a person’s tolerance or other considerations, that even though they possessed more than 4 pills (or whatever other method of ingestion), it only was really 4 or fewer doses.  This could mean the difference between a fourth degree crime and the non-criminal disorderly persons offense of possession of prescription drugs.

What if I had more than one drug, will I be charged for both?

If you have been caught with more than one drug at a time, say Percocet and Oxycodone,  you should only be charged with one offense for possession of drugs.  If however you have drugs in separate places which were additionally found, you may be charged multiple times.  This means if your hotel room was found to have Adderall, and you were found elsewhere with Oxycontin, you may be charged twice.

What if it wasn't real drugs?  

If the suspected items turn out to be simply sugar or allergy pills, you have a solid defense.  It is not uncommon for the State to continue to prosecute these matters, even after discovering the ‘contraband’ not to be drugs.  Additionally, many times the the State won’t even lab-test the items unless forced to do so in court.  

If they have caught me and there are no defenses, what can I do?

In some situations the Hudson County police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  In situations like these we are often still  successful in downgrading the offense to a far lesser penalty with no jail time.  Another approach is to enter our client into a diversionary program such as Pre Trial Intervention or Conditional Discharge.  These programs provide the benefit of no jail time and no criminal record.  We have been successful with combinations of the two as well when dealing with higher level charges.

What do I tell the police? 

We give the same answer to all clients regarding all criminal charges, say nothing!  Until you talk to your Hudson County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer.  

Is working with the police to have my charges dismissed a possibility?

Sometimes the best approach to avoid prosecution is for a client to "turn state's evidence".  This is an opportunity which occasionally can be worked out with the prosecutor and police in order to have our clients charges dropped.  

How will my possession charge affect my immigration status?

This is not a simple question.  Depending on what your status is, and what your charges are, there can be vast consequences including deportation from the United States.  Generally a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5, is extremely hazardous to your immigration status and may result in deportation or ineligibility for citizenship.  For more information on the immigration consequences of a Hudson County New Jersey Drug Possession charge, please see here.

It was a cop who bought it from me, is that a defense?  

No this is not a defense.  This is a classic sting operation.  The myth that undercover police officers must identify themselves is simply that, a myth, and has no bearing on the case.

I have been caught on this before, are there any additional penalties?

The courts have a range of authority in sentencing and will generally increase your penalties for subsequent offenses.  For a first offense you may get the minimums.  For second, third, or subsequent under the influence offense the court will be more inclined to impose the maximum sentence, making it even more urgent you contact a Hudson County NJ Prescription Drug Criminal Defense Lawyer.  Additionally if you have been caught before, you may be ineligible for programs such as Pre Trial Intervention and Conditonal Discharge.

I didn't have the drugs on me when I was busted, is that a defense? 

It depends on whether you in legal terms "constructively" possessed the contraband.  If it was in your house, or arms reach in your car it generally constitutes constructive possession as far as the courts are concerned.  It is the job of an experienced Hudson County NJ criminal defense lawyer to cast doubt on that in in court.  

If your charge was for being Under the Influence of Drugs, then it does not matter that you had no drugs in your possession.  The Prosecutor only needs to prove that you were under their influence as demonstrated by your physical or mental state.  

It was in a school zone how does that affect the case?

If the offense took place in a school zone, you may face an additional mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service.  This only applies if you are not sentenced to any jail time.  It is important to note however, that the court will have the discretion to order community service far in excess of the 100 hour minimum.

They found the drugs in the car, what happens?

These cases are just like any other drug possession case.  The penalties remain the same, as does the possible 2 year suspension of drivers license.  Posession of prescription drugs in a motor vehicle opens many avenues of possible defense however.  There are many possible defects in the way the police handled the case that could result in suppression of evdience against you.  To determine if this is a possibility, please contact one of our Hudson County NJ Prescription Drug Possession Lawyers at 201-943-2445.

What happens when it wasn't mine?

This is a situation that generally occurs in a car.  Usually the police will charge every occupant of the vehicle and it is then up to each defendant to prove in court it wasn't theirs or to encourage the actual owner of the substance to plead to the offense.

I've also been charged with having paraphernalia?

There are several facts the courts will consider when deciding whether or not an object truly constitutes drug paraphernalia, these are:

Any statements of those in possession of the supposed paraphernalia;

     1. The existance or lack of residue in the object;

     2. Evidence of prior use of the object;

     3. Instructions for the use of the object;

     4. And whether there are any legitimate uses for the item.

     5. Any statements of those in possession of the supposed paraphernalia.

Hudson County Drug Paraphernalia Charges almost always accompany possession or distribution charges, are serve as additional proof of knowledge by the defendant making the states case easier.  With the additional penalties such as 6 months in jail for possession of paraphernalia, it is important to contact a Hudson County NJ Prescription Drug Lawyer immediately.  For a free consultation call one of our lawyers at 201-943-2445.

What about drug court?

NJ Drug Court works similarly to other Diversionary Programs, and provides a means for certain offenders to avoid some consequences of a criminal conviction.  Drug Court does have many drawbacks however, such as regular court appearances, random drug screens, community service, job training, in and out patient drug detox and rehabiliation, mandatory AA meetings, etc.

How will a Hudson County NJ Prescription Drug Possession charge affect my professional license?

Professional licenses take a long time to get and can be taken away instantly if you have a drug conviction on your record.  All professional licenses are different, while some may be more forgiving, others such as those in the public safety, engineering, and medical profession, such as nursing and MD licenses are at great risk if you are convicted for drug charges.  

If you have a nursing degree, medical degree, law degree, or any profession license, you are at extra risk and should contact a Hudson County Prescription Drug possession defense lawyer immediately to discuss your options.

Hudson County Superior Court Information:

This Court is responsible for hearing all indictable criminal cases in Hudson County.  These are offenses which are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree crimes.  All lesser offenses will be heard in the local municipal courts.

The Criminal Part of the Hudson County Superior Court is located in the Administration Building at 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey 07306.

Judge: There are numerous Judges assigned to the criminal division, please check your summons to determine which Judge you will be before.

Criminal Division Manager: Marie Faber, Patricia Dell’Osso, Claribel Bautista

Criminal Division Phone:  201-795-6656, 201-795-6828, 6141, 4400 (Extension 60009)

Fax: 201-371-1113

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