Law enforcement agencies here in New Jersey have been nothing short of dedicated in their attempts to crack down on drug-related crime. Indeed, these efforts haven't been confined to just combating major offenses like distribution and manufacture, but also possession.
If you don't believe it, consider data from the New Jersey State Police, which reveals that Garden State law enforcement agencies made 43,920 arrests for drug possession in 2014 alone, a truly staggering number.
Given this reality, our blog began discussing more about drug possession charges, focusing first on the state's five controlled dangerous substance -- or CDS -- schedules, which outline a list of controlled dangerous substances.
To recap, these schedules are ranked in order of potential for abuse/addiction, and acceptance in the medical community, such that possession of a Schedule I substance is a more serious matter than possession of a Schedule V substance.
The next logical step in this analysis then is taking a closer look at the penalties for those convicted of drug possession charges here in New Jersey:
- Possession of a Schedule V CDS: Those found to be in possession of any amount of a Schedule V CDS may be charged with a fourth degree crime punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and/or up to 18 months in prison.
- Possession of a Schedule I, II, III, IV CDS: Those found to be in possession of any amount of a Schedule I, II, III, or IV CDS may be charged with a third degree crime punishable by a fine of up to $35,000 and/or a minimum of three -- or as much as five -- years in prison.
- Second and subsequent convictions: Those convicted of a second or subsequent drug possession offense can face up to double the penalties normally called for by the underlying offense.
What all of this serves to underscore is that drug possession charges cannot be taken lightly. The stakes are simply too high. As such, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you find yourself in this difficult situation.