Methamphetamine, more commonly referred to as meth, is a highly addictive and habit forming drug. It is currently approved by the FDA in the United States to treat extreme obesity that is beyond the patient's control, or narcolepsy. It is a psychotropic drug, used primarily as a stimulant.
Meth is often illegally used for its euphoric components and can cause a person to become addicted in a very short period of time. Meth, also known as crystal meth, ice and glass, also causes extreme symptoms when a person is going through withdrawal. This is a highly dangerous substance, and as such, the state of NJ treats possession and/or distribution of methamphetamine very seriously.
Methamphetamine Possession (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10)
It is against the law for anyone to buy, steal or otherwise obtain methamphetamine or to possess it unless it was given directly to you with a valid prescription from an authorized physician.
If you illegally have meth in your possession, you are guilty of a third degree crime and may pay a fine of up to $35,000 and spend five years in prison if convicted. Additionally, depending on what you plan to do with the meth, how much you have or where you are when it is found on your person, the charges may vary and increase in severity.
Penalties for Using Methamphetamine Illegally
If you are found under the influence of meth in a public setting, you can be charged with a disorderly persons offense. All the State has to show the court is that you were acting in a manner that matches the symptoms of meth use. They do not have to prove that you actually ingested the drug. You can, if sentenced, face up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and in some cases, community service.
School Zone Possession or Distribution of Meth
If you are caught with meth on your person, or if you are caught distributing or selling meth within 1,000 feet of property owned or leased by any elementary school, secondary school, school board, or school bus, you can face additional penalties. If you have possession of meth on a school bus or are attempting to sell or distribute it while on a school bus, you are also in violation of the school zone clause of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. You will face the regular penalties under the third degree charge in addition to at least 100 hours of community service.
Possession With Intent to Distribute (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5)
If you are charged with possession with intent to distribute meth, in essence you are being charged with selling or dealing illegal narcotics. If you have five ounces or more, you will be charged with a first degree crime. You can be fined up to $300,000 and face 20 years in jail for a first degree conviction. If you have between a half ounce and five ounces, you can be charged with a second degree offices and face 10 years in prison and a fine of $150,000. If you have less than half an ounce, you will be charged with a third degree distribution offense and face a fine of up to $75,000. If you are caught distributing meth within 1,000 feet of a school zone or school property, you will face mandatory jail time, according to the weight requirements listed above.
Distribution Near Public Housing or Public Parks (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1)
There are additional charges connected to distributing meth within 500 feet of a public housing complex or a public park. A public housing complex is any complex designed or assigned by the state as housing for people of low income. A public park is any park cared for by the state, county or town.
If you are caught selling meth or possessing meth with the intention of selling within 500 feet of either of these types of facilities, you will be charged with a crime of the second degree, regardless of the quantity within your possession.
Don't Risk a Conviction for Possession or Distribution of Meth
Do not run the risk of a faulty argument when you are being charged with meth possession or distribution. Contact Villani & DeLuca today and let the criminal defense lawyers use their experience to help you fight your methamphetamine charge today. Villani & DeLuca's drug offense attorneys represent clients facing drug charges throughout Ocean County and Monmouth County every day.