Possession of Prescription Drugs Defense Lawyer | Englewood, NJ

      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, although may still lead to prison time.

       There are many avenues of defense, generally these rely on defects in how the police obtained the evidence.  The police need probable cause to suspect you of possession and to search your person or vehicle.  They need a warrant to search your home.  If they had neither of these, you may be able to have the evidence thrown out of court and your case dismissed.

       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 NJ police use to illegally obtain evidence.  As Criminal Defense Lawyer's, 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.  

       In most cases you do have a defense, or a way around Jail time, Fines, and a Criminal Record, and it is important to contact an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney immediately to help guide you through our complicated legal system.


What are the Penalties?

If you have under 4 pills / doses, it is a disorderly persons offense carrying a possible:

  • 6 Months in Jail, $1,000 Fine, 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, 6-24 month Driver’s License Suspension.

Can I Fight my Possession of Prescription Drugs Charge?

         Drug possession in New Jersey is a very serious crime and is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.  With the exception of Marijuana possession, this is a third degree crime, carrying up to a 5 year prison term.  Thousands of peoples lives are ruined every year by being caught with drugs.  If you have been charged with drug possession in NJ, our Experienced Drug Possession Defense 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 NJ 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.  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 of marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, as well as charged for Possession of certain Drug Paraphernalia such as pipes, bongs, rolling papers, grinders, syringes, spoons, scales, etc.  In NJ this is a disorderly persons offense and 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, through plea agreement, that the police seizure was illegal, 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 any prescription drug which you do not have a valid prescription for.  The most commonly drugs people are charged for possession of 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 NJ Criminal Defense 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 lawyer.

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.  

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 police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  In situations like these we have often been successful in downgrading the offense to a far lesser penalty and 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 high level offenders.

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 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:35-5, is extremely hazardous to your immigration status and may result in deportation or ineligibility for citizenship.  For more infortmation on the immigration consequences of a NJ 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 lawyer.  For subsequent offense the judge may not be so lenient.  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 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 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.

       Drug paraphernalia charges in NJ 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 NJ Drug Defense Attorney 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 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 Prescription Drug possession defense Attorney immediately to discuss your options.

   Englewood Municipal Court Information:

The Englewood Municipal Court is held at 73 South Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey, 07631.  Sessions are held on the 2nd Floor, Room 227. 

Judge: Hon. James E. Dow, Jr.

Court Administrator: Debbian Barr, also reachable at debbian.barr1@judiciary.state.nj.us

Prosecutor: Gerald J. Oratio, Esq.

Phone:  201-569-0255    Fax: 201-567-7083

Englewood Municipal Court Office Hours:

Monday - Friday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Court sessions are held on the first and third and fourth Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm.

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