Drug offenses are considered to be very serious in New Jersey, and the penalties reflect that. But what can happen to you depends on how much you have in your possession and where you are at the time you were arrested by the police. For the purposes of this article, the drugs in question are marijuana and hashish.
It's All in the Amount of the Drugs
The punishments turn on whether you are considered a user or a distributor of the drugs. This, in turn, is determined by how much of the drug you have on you. If it is more than what is considered enough for personal use, you are presumed to be a seller, not a user, and punished accordingly.
Small Amount of Drugs; Small Penalty
If you are in possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana or 5 grams or less of hashish (personal use), it is considered a disorderly persons offense, carrying a fine of up to $1,000, up to 180 days in jail, and a suspension of your driver's license for six months to a year.
If you have those same drugs on you or in the car while driving it, you face a fine of at least $50 and a two year suspension of your driver's license!
Large Amount of Drugs; Large Penalty
If you are in possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana or more than 5 grams of hashish, it is a fourth degree crime (felony), carrying a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in jail. Possession of cocaine, heroin, LSD or other major drugs is a third degree crime, carrying a fine of up to $15,000, and 3 to 5 years in jail.
What Can I Do?
Although drug charges are serious, if you are arrested for having a small amount of drugs for personal use (as opposed to for distribution and sale) and this is your first brush with the law, you may be able to avoid conviction through a program called conditional discharge. This can prevent jail time and a suspension of your driver's license!
If you have been charged in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, New Jersey with the possession of a small amount of marijuana or hashish, please feel free to call my office at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment for a free consultation in my Woodbury office.
If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's traffic laws, then download my free book, A Guide to Driving Legally in NJ, and Surviving Traffic Court If You Don't.
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