Prescription drug abuse continues to grow at an alarming rate at the Jersey Shore. Recognizing the fact that prescription medications are considered gateway drugs that lead to heroin, law enforcement has taken a firm approach to treat them as seriously as they treat possession of heroin or cocaine. A conviction can lead to jail or prison time, loss of your driver's license and thousands of dollars in fines. Since 1996, the NJ prescription drugs lawyers at Villani & DeLuca P.C. have defended clients for criminal charges throughout New Jersey.
Possession and Distribution of Prescription Drugs in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5)
It is illegal to carry prescription drugs and certain medications unless a valid prescription is issued by a licensed physician, dentist, veterinarian, or pharmacist. New Jersey classifies not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine as controlled dangerous substances (CDS), but also the compounds used to manufacture them, such as codeine. An individual who possesses prescription medications, including opiates and painkillers in a manner outside of the law may be charged for a criminal offense.
If you have been arrested for illegal possession or distribution of prescription drugs in New Jersey, call our criminal defense and prescription drug possession attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. for your free consultation at (732) 709-7757.
CDS Classifications (N.J.S.A. 24:21-5, -6, -7, -8, & -8.1)
Pharmaceuticals are considered controlled dangerous substances under New Jersey Law. New Jersey divides CDS into five “Schedules.” Schedule I lists the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction, and no recognized medical value. Schedules II, III, IV, and V decrease in dangerousness and probability of abuse, as they increase in their recognized medical uses.
Penalties for Possessing Prescription Drugs or CDS in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10)
Penalties for possessing CDS in New Jersey vary according to the type and amount of CDS involved in the violation, as described below.
- Crime in the third degree – Possessing any amount of a schedule I, II, III, or IV CDS incurs a fine of up to $35,000, at least three (and up to five) years in prison, or both.
- Crime in the fourth degree – Possessing any amount of a Schedule V CDS incurs a fine of up to $15,000, up to 18 months in prison, or both.
- Disorderly person offense – Using or being under the influence of any CDS not for the purpose of treating a sickness or injury (as legally prescribed by a licensed physician) incurs a fine of up to $500.
Prescription Drug Fraud (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-13)
Prescription fraud is the illegal acquisition of prescription drugs for personal use or profit. This can take place in various ways such as forging prescriptions, going to several doctors to get multiple prescriptions and altering prescriptions to increase the quantity. If you forge a prescription to obtain prescription medication, you will be charged separately for prescription drug forgery. Some of the drugs most commonly sought according to the law enforcement agencies are Valium (diazepam), Vicodin (hydrocodone), Xanax (alprazolam), OxyContin (oxycodone), Lorcet, Dilaudid, Percocet, Soma, Darvocet, and morphine. This offense is considered a Third Degree crime and can include jail time and hefty fines.
Sale of CDS in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5)
It is illegal in New Jersey to make or sell CDS. Penalties vary according to the type and amount of CDS involved in the violation. Making or selling CDS near public property such as a park, library or museum (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1) can bring penalties of up to $150,000, at least 5 (and up to ten) years in prison, or both.
Experienced Prescription Drug Attorneys Can Help You
Consulting an experienced criminal defense and prescription drug possession attorney in NJ is essential when charged with a drug crime. Villani & DeLuca P.C. is comprised of seven lawyers with over 100 years of combined experience. We have been representing individuals charged with the unlawful possession of prescription drugs throughout Ocean County and Monmouth County, New Jersey. If you have been charged with prescription fraud, contact our law firm today for your free consultation so we can review the facts of your case, explain your options and advise you of the possible consequences. The New Jersey attorneys for possession of prescription drugs at Villani & DeLuca can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (weekends and evenings available) at (732) 709-7757. Call today for a free consultation on how to protect your rights.