What Are the Penalties for Drug Trafficking Charges in New Jersey?


Across the country, the penalties for drug trafficking are considerable. Keep reading to learn about drug trafficking charges in New Jersey, and call a Bergen County, New Jersey drug crime lawyer today if you are facing similar charges. We’ll fight hard to defend your rights.

How Does New Jersey Classify Drugs? Schedules I—V

New Jersey looks to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) schedule classifications for controlled substances as the basis for state drug trafficking charges. The schedules use three factors to categorize substances: dangers associated with a drug, likelihood of abuse, and medical benefits the drug may have.

Drugs are sorted, with the schedules organized in descending order from most to least dangerous. Under the FDA, Schedule I substances such as LSD and marijuana combine a lack of acceptable medical uses with a high possibility of abuse. Meanwhile, Schedule II substances like oxycodone have a high possibility of abuse, but can also have some legitimate medical uses, and so are legal with a prescription. Schedule III substances (such as buprenorphine) are less likely to be abused than Schedule I or II substances, but can still cause physical or mental dependence. Lastly, Schedule IV and V substances are prescription drugs with a notably low risk of abuse or addiction.

New Jersey drug laws, for the most part, follow the FDA’s lead. Marijuana is one exception, which the state legalized up to a certain amount in 2021.

New Jersey Punishments for Drug Trafficking

Given the descending order of severity, drug charges related to Schedule I and II substances are the most severe.

New Jersey considers drug trafficking a first-degree offense, with penalties including mandatory minimum sentences. If convicted of trafficking Schedule I or II substances, someone would face a mandatory minimum charge of life imprisonment, plus a minimum of 25 years before they could even seek parole. In addition, someone would face fines of up to $750,000, or five times the street value of the substance involved.

By comparison, possession charges are not as heavy, with possession of a Schedule I, II, III, or IV substance carrying jail time of 3-5 years and fines up to $35,000.

What Can I Do if I’m Charged with Drug Trafficking?

Drug trafficking charges are some of the heaviest in the state. If you have been charged with drug trafficking, contact the Law Office of Gregory Cannarozzi right away. With years of experience, our office will fight your charges every step of the way.

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