Being Under the Influence of Drugs in NJ

marijuana and pillsThe acronym CDS stands for “Controlled Dangerous Substances” and if a person is charged with being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance in New Jersey, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin and many others, there can be serious charges and expensive punishments levied against them. These punishments can vary from fines, enrollment in treatment programs and even incarceration. If an individual is charged with being under the influence of a CDS, it can trail them for a long time and influence every aspect of his or her life.

Charged with Being Under the Influence of Drugs

Being arrested and charged with being under the influence of a CDS is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey under statute N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. Additionally, if the individual charged fails to hand over the drug to the authorities when arrested, they can also face a second disorderly persons offense under the same law. If found guilty of a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, the penalties can be up to 6 months incarceration and a $1,000 fine.

New Jersey law states that an individual under the influence will be charged with this offense if the drug is being used for a reason other than illness or for the treatment of an injury after being dispensed by a licensed doctor. If neither condition can be established under the evidence, then there will be a disorderly persons charge against the person accused.

For the prosecution to gain a conviction of a disorderly persons offense, they don’t even need to prove what drug the defendant was under the influence of. If, for example, the individual appears to be high on marijuana, it is not necessary to prove that it was marijuana that the person used. Simply having reason to believe the person was under the drug by observing some physical piece of evidence is enough to achieve a conviction. With a heroin suspect, needle marks may be enough for the conviction or the smell of marijuana may be sufficient in a marijuana case.

Penalties for Being Under the Influence of Drugs

Depending on the individual’s criminal history, he or she may be fined as much as $1,000 and forced to pay for court costs. In addition, there might be jail time or other treatment-style punishments and required assessments by the Victim of Crime Compensation Board (VCCB) and the Safe Neighborhood Fund (SNSF). To make it more punitive, the individual’s driver’s license may be subject to suspension for at least six months and possibly for as long as two years.

For a first time offender, a conditional discharge may be an option. The conditional discharge of a drug charge may help avoid a criminal record and severe penalties.

Find a Qualified Drug Law Attorney

When charged with any crime, it is important to know your rights and secure experienced legal representation to help you keep the punishments for any charge to a minimum. The lawyers of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey have the experience and knowledge of the ins-and-outs of New Jersey law to assist you in getting the best possible resolution to your charge of being under the influence of drugs.

Have you or a loved one been charged with a disorderly persons offense due to being accused of being under the influence of a CDS? If so, contact Villani & DeLuca to discuss your case. With extensive experience in assisting clients throughout Monmouth County and Ocean County, Villani & DeLuca can help you with your case. The drug law attorneys at our office will fight to get the charges reduced or dismissed completely so there is no blot on your record preventing you from getting a job, entering military service, being admitted to school or any other endeavor that may be hindered by such a charge. Call Villani & DeLuca today for a free consultation about your charge.

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