Lindenwold NJ Cocaine Charges Lawyer
Defense Attorneys for Cocaine Possession & Distribution in Camden County NJ
New Jersey law strictly prohibits the possession of cocaine in any amount. In fact, possession of even the smallest quantity of cocaine is considered a third degree felony, which entails potential penalties including a New Jersey State Prison sentence ranging from 3 to 5 years. When cocaine possession extends beyond personal use, an individual can be charged with possession with intent to distribute or cocaine distribution, which are even more serious offenses punishable by increasingly severe consequences. When you or someone you love is facing cocaine charges in Camden County, in Pennsauken, Lindenwold, Haddon Township, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Voorhees, or anywhere else in New Jersey, it is essential to understand all of your available legal options. An experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure that you pursue every avenue toward the best possible outcome. William Fay is a highly knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who formerly served as a Deputy Attorney General for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. When your life, your liberty, and your freedom is jeopardized by drug charges, he will thoroughly examine all aspects of the case against you to determine the best approach to your defense. To discuss your case with Mr. Fay today, contact his offices at 609-832-3202 for a free consultation. Personalized guidance and assistance is always just a phone call away.
New Jersey Cocaine Possession Laws
Possession of cocaine is described in section N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a) of the New Jersey Criminal Code. According to this section:
It is unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by P.L.1970, c.226. Any person who violates this section with respect to a controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule I, II, II, or IV other than those specifically covered in this section, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug in New Jersey’s Drug Schedule and as such, it falls under the purview of the above statute. A Schedule II drug means that it has been determined that the controlled substance has high potential for abuse; has acceptable medical use or accepted medical use under seriously limited circumstances; and that abuse with this drug may lead to severe physical or physic dependence.
When Can Police Legally Search My Car for Drugs Without a Warrant?
Clients frequently call our office and ask questions about when police can and cannot search a vehicle. Whether or not the police conducted a lawful search of your car before they found any cocaine will depend on the specific facts of your case. Did you give consent to the officers to search your car? Did you have the authority to give consent to search? Did the officers have reasonable suspicion to even ask for your consent to search? Did the officer execute a search of the vehicle based on the “plain view doctrine”? Did the officer execute a search of the vehicle based on a “search incident to arrest” exception? These are just a few of the common inquiries that need to be determined when analyzing the legality of a warrantless police search.
What are the Penalties for Simple Cocaine Possession?
Under New Jersey Law, the penalties for possession cocaine include the following:
- A 3 to 5-year term of incarceration
- A fine of up to $35,000
- A felony conviction on your criminal record
- A 6-month period of driver’s license suspension
Will I Go to Jail for Cocaine Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute?
As I am sure you are aware, it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess cocaine with intent to distribute in New Jersey. All of these offenses are subsumed under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. According to this statute, the degree of these charges are contingent upon the amount of cocaine involved. The thresholds are as follows:
- Less than 0.5 Ounces: Third Degree Crime: between 3 and 5 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $75,000
- Between 0.5 and 5 Ounces: Second Degree Crime: between 5 and 10 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $150,000
- 5 Ounces or More: First Degree Crime: between 10 and 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000
Can I Get PTI for Cocaine Possession?
If you have been charged with a cocaine-related offense in New Jersey, questions about possession and intent become exceedingly important to your defense. Your previous criminal record is also relevant in these cases, as New Jersey offers several diversionary programs that provide first-time drug offenders with alternatives to incarceration. For instance, programs such as Pre-Trial Intervention allow eligible individuals to complete a probationary period after which the charges against them are dismissed.
Since cocaine possession is graded as a 3rd degree crime under 2C:35-10(a), there is a presumption of non-incarceration for a person without a criminal history. This opens the door for alternatives such as probation and the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. If you use your one opportunity for PTI, you cannot use the program or a similar program like conditional discharge, if you find yourself charged with another criminal offense in the future. Nevertheless, Pre-Trial Intervention can be useful when seeking to get your charges dismissed. That is, if there are not existing evidence issues or other arguments that can be raised to undermine the prosecution’s case against you.
Contact a Gloucester NJ Cocaine Charges Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been charged with cocaine possession, distribution, or another drug crime in Camden County or elsewhere in South Jersey, do not delay in hiring experienced legal representation. Contact our firm at 609-832-3202 for additional information and a cost-free consultation.