Understanding drug charges: Do first time offenders face jail time?

When an Oradell area resident is facing an arrest for a drug crime it can be a scary and daunting experience. It can also put a person in a position of facing many possible scenarios depending on the type of drugs, the arresting officer, the defendant’s attitude in court, and whether other charges were filed. Determining the potential outcome of the case can be complicated.

New Jersey drug laws

In New Jersey there are three types of drug offenses a person can commit. These include:

  • Drug possession. This is where a person has drugs on them and was in control of them.
  • Intent to distribute. This is when a person either tries to sell or successfully sells drugs to another person.
  • Selling drugs in school zone. This is where an intended sale or a sale occurred within 1,000 feet of a school zone.

The penalties for a drug crime are based on the quantity of drugs a person has, the type of drugs, and the type of drug charge. All drug charges carry the possibility of jail time, but more serious drug crimes have a longer sentence. These are typically for drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Unauthorized prescription drugs can also bring serious charges. Even just handing a Valium to a friend is a criminal offense in New Jersey.

An attorney who specializes in criminal defense understands how the system works. They can help their client understand what their best options are and help them tell their side of the story. They will work tirelessly to minimize any potential consequences.

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