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NJ Drug Crime Laws

We have gathered the following New Jersey drug laws and statutes for you.  The type of Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) you were caught with, and the amount, will determine what statute you will be charged under and how severe your punishment will be if convicted.  The statutes provided below are meant only to serve as general information.  If you have been charged under one of the following statutes, please contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. at (732) 709-7757 for a free consultation.

Drug Crime Laws in NJ:

  • 2C:35-1.1.  Legislative findings on drug-related crimes. – The New Jersey Legislature declares that the illegal use and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is a serious threat society.  In order to deter illegal drug use, the Legislature has set forth strict penalties for CDS manufacturing, distributing and purchasing in the “New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act”. 
  • 2C:35-2.  Drug offense definitions. – Drug offense definitions refer to the meaning of words that describe the possession, use, distribution and manufacturing of a controlled dangerous substance.  
  • 2C:35-3.  Drug trafficking. – A leader of a narcotics trafficking network is an individual who finances or supervises a group of two or more people in the act of manufacturing, distributing and/or transporting a controlled dangerous substance.  Those found guilty of this offense may be sentenced to life in prison, for which they must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole. 
  • 2C:35-4.  Maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility. – A person who knowingly maintains a facility for the purpose of manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance, or an analog of such substance (“designer drugs”) will be charged with a first degree crime.  The sentence will be a mandatory term of imprisonment, during which the offender will be ineligible for parole until he or she has served at least one- third to one- half of the term. 
  • 2C:35-4.1.  Booby traps in manufacturing or distribution facilities; fortified premises. – A person will be convicted of a first degree crime if he or she builds, maintains or places a bobby trap on a property specifically used for the purpose of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled dangerous substance.  A booby trap is defined as a concealed or camouflaged device designed to cause injury when triggered by a person entering the premises. 
  • 2C:35-5.  Manufacturing, distributing or dispensing. – It is illegal for anyone to knowingly possess, manufacture or distribute a controlled dangerous substance or an analog of a CDS.  Convictions range from a fourth degree to a first degree crime based on the amount and type of CDS involved. 
  • 2C:35-5.2.  Manufacturing GHB. – The manufacturing, distributing or possessing of gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a crime of the second degree, punishable by a fine of up to $150,000.
  • 2C:35-5.3.  Manufacturing Rohypnol (“Date Rape Drug”). – Any individual guilty of possessing, manufacturing or distributing flunitrazepam (“date rape drug”) will be charged with a first degree crime, punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.
  • 2C:35-5.3a.  Criminalization, degree of crime. – The possession, manufacture or distribution of a drug in the amphetamine class, such as Mephedrone will be charged with a crime of the third or second degree, depending on the amount. 
  • 2C:35-5.5.  Legislative findings on removal or restraint of certain drug offenders. – The New Jersey Legislature has determined that the removal and restraint of those who unlawfully manufacture and distribute controlled dangerous substances is the most effective way to deter drug trafficking.  In addition, restraining orders will prevent offenders from returning to familiar neighborhoods where they had previously conducted drug trafficking activities. 
  • 2C:35-5.6.  Definitions relative to removal, restraint of certain offenders. – The terms “persons”, “place” and “criminal offense” are defined to reflect their relation to the illegal use and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. 
  • 2C:35-5.7.  Restraining orders. – When a defendant charged with a drug offense is released on bail or personal recognizance before the trial date, the court may issue a restraining order to restrict the defendant's actions.  The restraining order will prohibit the defendant from entering specified areas, and define “buffer zones” around sensitive areas such as schools and hospitals. 
  • 2C:35-5.8.  Violation of court order. – If a defendant released on bail or personal recognizance violates the terms of release or restraining order, he or she will be charged with any and all authorized sanctions, such as criminal contempt and revocation of bail.  
  • 2C:35-5.9.  Certification of offense location. – A certification of offense location is needed in order to issue a restraining order.  The offense location can be certified by the submission of a certification describing the location, or by an oral statement from the victim, followed by the certification. 
  • 2C:35-5.10.  Discretion to not seek restraining order. – If a drug offense occurred in a motor vehicle or on public transportation, the police officer or prosecutor has the discretion to waive a restraining order against the defendant. 
  • 2C:35-5.11.  Drug enforcement and demand reduction penalty doubled for certain offenses. – Those found guilty of possessing, manufacturing or distributing a dangerous controlled substance will be required to pay a fine under the drug reinforcement and demand reduction penalty (DEDR), which will go towards funding the Governor's Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
  • 2C:35-6.  Employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme. – Any adult (18 years of age or older) who employs a juvenile (17 years of age or younger) in a drug distribution scheme is guilty of a second degree crime, which is punishable by a prison term of at least five years.  The court may also impose a fine of up to $500,000 or a sum that is five times the value of the CDS or analog involved, whichever is greater. 
  • 2C:35-7.  Distribution on or within 1,000 feet of school property. – Anyone found distributing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance on any property used for school purposes, including school buses, will be charged with a third degree crime.  If found guilty, the sentence will depend on factors such as the amount of CDS involved and whether children were present in the vicinity at the time of the offense. 
  • 2C:35-7a.  Review of sentence by court. – Those serving a mandatory minimum sentence may apply to have their sentence reviewed, as long as there is no specific court order prohibiting them from doing so.  The court's ruling after the review will be final, meaning the applicant will not be able to appeal the decision.  
  • 2C:35-7.1.  Drugs on public property. – Distributing or possessing a controlled dangerous substance or analog with intent to distribute within 500 feet of a public place is a third or second degree crime, depending on the amount of CDS involved.  Common examples of public property are public buildings, playgrounds and parks. 
  • 2C:35-8.  Distribution to persons under age 18; enhanced punishment. – Those guilty of distributing a controlled dangerous substance to a person under the age of 18 or to a pregnant female will be subject an enhanced sentence, which is twice the standard penalties for term of imprisonment, fines and parole ineligibility.  In the case of defendants who are charged with multiple offenses eligible for enhanced sentencing, the court will impose the enhanced sentence on the most serious offense. 
  • 2C:35-9.  Drug-induced deaths. – Strict liability is imposed on those who manufacture or distribute a controlled dangerous substance, which results in someone's death.  The defendant will not be excused from liability, even if the deceased endangered themselves by consuming, inhaling or ingesting the substance on their own.
  • 2C:35-10.  Drug possession. – It is illegal for anyone to obtain or possess a controlled dangerous substance or CDS analog without a prescription from a licensed practitioner.  A person may be found guilty of this charge even if he or she did not have actual possession of the CDS at the time of the arrest. 
  • 2C:35-10.2.  Possession of GHB. – Those who knowingly obtain or possess gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) without a prescription from a licensed practitioner will be found guilty of a third degree crime, punishable by a fine of up to $100,000.
  • 2C:35-10.3.  Possession of Rohypnol (“Date Rape Drug”). – Knowingly obtaining or possessing flunitrazepam (“date rape drug”) without a prescription from a licensed practitioner is a third degree crime, punishable by a fine of up to $100,000.
  • 2C:35-10.3a.  Criminalization, degree of crime. – A person who knowingly obtains or possesses a controlled dangerous substance of the amphetamine class, such as mephedrone and methylone will be guilty of a third degree crime if the amount involved was one ounce or more.  If the amount was less than one ounce, it will be considered a fourth degree crime. 
  • 2C:35-10.4.  Toxic chemicals. – Toxic chemicals, such as acetone, benzene, isopropyl and adhesive are considered dangerous because they release toxic fumes that damage the brain and nervous system.  The inhalation of such toxic chemicals or the possession of such chemicals with the intent to inhale is a disorderly offense.   A person will be charged with a fourth degree crime if he or she sells, or offers to sell any substance containing toxic chemicals for the purpose of inhalation. 
  • 2C:35-10.5.  Prescription drugs. – Prescription legend drugs are substances which are mandated by State and Federal law to bear a “legend” that indicates it cannot be sold under any circumstance without a prescription.  A person who knowingly obtains a prescription legend drug through forgery or deception is guilty of a fourth degree crime.  Possessing a prescription legend drug with the intent to distribute is considered distribution, which is a second degree crime. 
  • 2C:35-11.  Imitation drugs. – It is illegal for anyone to possess, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute an analog, or imitation of a controlled dangerous substance.  An imitation controlled dangerous substance, or “designer drug”, refers to a synthetic substance that is similar in physical and/ or chemical composition to a specific CDS. 
  • 2C:35-12.  Waiver of Mandatory Minimum and Extended Terms. – In the case where a defendant faces a mandatory term of imprisonment or a mandatory civic penalty, the court may waive the mandatory minimum and extended terms if the defendant has negotiated a plea agreement for reduced charges with the prosecutor.  However, the court will not impose a sentence that is a lesser term of imprisonment, period of parole ineligibility or civic penalty than that which is specified in the plea agreement.
  • 2C:35-13.  Obtaining drugs by fraud. – The act of obtaining a controlled substance through forgery, fraud, deception or subterfuge is a third degree crime, and punishable by a fine of up to $50,000.  In addition, a person may also be charged with theft, depending on the nature of how the CDS was obtained. 
  • 2C:35-14.  Drug and alcohol rehabilitation. – Individuals who are eligible for probation may apply for treatment from a rehabilitation program for drug and alcohol dependency.  The court must consider several factors before approving the offender for substance abuse treatment, such as whether the treatment will reduce the likelihood that the offender will commit a future drug offense. 
  • 2C:35-14.1.  Defendant required to submit to professional diagnostic assessment, exceptions. – The court may require a defendant to submit to a professional diagnostic assessment (drug test) under certain circumstances, which include probable cause to indicate that the defendant has a drug addiction, and if the defendant is charged with a crime punishable by a mandatory term of imprisonment. Probable cause to indicate an addiction to drugs is determined by factors such as whether the defendant has previously been convicted of a drug offense, and if the defendant was under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance at the time of the arrest. 
  • 2C:35-14.2.  Sentence of special probation for certain defendants. – The court will impose a sentence of special probation for defendants who are in need of treatment for drug dependency.  Under the special probation, the court will mandate participation in a court monitored drug treatment program, regardless of the whether or not the defendant consents to or wishes to participate in such a program.
  • 2C:35-14.3.  Phase-in of implementation of provisions of law relative to special probation. – The implementation of the special probation program was phased- in by the Administrative Director of the Courts.  Within 60 days of this act, the Administrative Director of the Courts established this program in no less than 3 vicinages, and added at least 3 additional vicinages on an annual basis for a period of five years. 
  • 2C:35-15.  Mandatory drug enforcement and demand reduction penalties. – A fixed mandatory drug enforcement and drug reduction (DEDR) penalty will be imposed, ranging from $3,000 for a first degree crime to $500 for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons charge. 
  • 2C:35-16.  Forfeiture or postponement of driving privileges. – A person found guilty of a drug offense will forfeit his or her driving privileges for a period of no less than six months, but not to exceed two years.  The forfeiture of driving privileges will begin on the day the sentence is imposed, unless there are compelling circumstances to warrant a postponement. 
  • 2C:35-16.1.  Notification to landlord of drug offenses. – If a drug crime took place in a leased residential property at which the defendant was residing at the time of the offense, the court will notify the landlord of the offenses committed by the tenant. 
  • 2C:35-17.  Exception to physician-patient privilege. – Communication between a patient and doctor is not protected under physician- patient privilege if such communication was made for the purpose of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance or CDS analog. 
  • 2C:35-18.  Exemption, burden of proof. – Any law enforcement officer engaged in the enforcement of laws relating to a controlled dangerous substance or CDS analog will be exempt from criminal liability. 
  • 2C:35-19.  Laboratory certificates; use; admission into evidence; objections. – Controlled dangerous substances, or substances believed to be a CDS or analog, must be submitted to a State Forensic Laboratory.  These laboratories are specially designated by the Attorney General of New for the purpose of analyzing substances which will be admitted into evidence.  Proof of the analysis results will be recorded on a certificate, which the lab employee will sign under oath. 
  • 2C:35-20.  Forensic laboratory fees. – Anyone convicted of a drug offense, including those under special probation, will be charged a forensic laboratory fee of $50 for each offense.   The fee is reduced to $25 if the offender is a juvenile, meaning an individual under the age of 18.
  • 2C:35-21.  Pretrial destruction of bulk seizures. – In the case of a controlled dangerous substance or a CDS analog seizure which involves a bulk amount, the prosecutor may request that the court allow for the destruction of some or all of the seized substance.  Defense council must be notified of the request, and be given a chance to examine the substance prior to the court's decision.
  • 2C:35-22.  Severability. – The law of severability states that if any portions of the statutes in this chapter are judged as unconstitutional or invalid, the remaining provisions will still apply in governing a case. 
  • 2C:35-23.  Pending cases. – Pending cases for violations committed before the passing of this act will be governed by the prior law.  Cases for offenses committed after the passing of this act will be governed by the provisions in this act.
  • 2C:35-24.  Possession of certain prescription drugs. – A person who is legally in possession of a controlled dangerous substance must keep the substance in the container in which it was dispensed.  However, a person will not be charged with this offense if there was no more than a 10 day supply in the alternate container, and the person provides the law enforcement officer with the name and address of the prescribing physician. 
  • 2C:35-25.  Sale restrictions for ephedrine products. – Sale restrictions on ephedrine products limit the purchase of any product with ephedrine or a form of ephedrine as an active ingredient to no more than 3 packages per transaction.  Any person in violation of this statute will be charged with a disorderly persons offense.   However, ephedrine products prescribed by a licensed physician, dentist or veterinarian are exempt from this act. 
  • 2C:35-26.  Reporting requirement for ephedrine products. – A pharmacy, store or retail establishment is required to notify law enforcement any time there is a loss of 30 or more grams of any drug containing ephedrine or a form of ephedrine as an active ingredient.
  • 2C:35-27.  Permissive inference concerning possession of ephedrine products. – A permissive inference of the intent to manufacture methamphetamine is authorized when a person is found to be in possession of over 30 grams or 10 packages of any drugs containing ephedrine or a form of ephedrine as the active ingredient.
  • 2C:35-28.  Unlawful possession of precursors; manufacturing methamphetamine. – Any person in possession of substances such as anhydrous ammonia, phenylalanine or drugs containing ephedrine as an active ingredient for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine will be found guilty of unlawful possession of a precursor.  A person will also be found guilty of unlawful possession of a precursor for possessing certain substances with the intent of manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance.
  • 2C:35-29.  Definitions relative to industrial use of certain chemicals not deemed a CDS. – Certain chemicals are considered toxic, but are not necessarily deemed a controlled dangerous substance if it is strictly for industrial use.  A “finished product”, which does not contain industrial chemicals, or from which an industrial chemical cannot be easily extracted is also not considered a controlled dangerous substance under most circumstances.  However, a person possessing one gallon or less of an industrial chemical will give rise to permissive inference that he or she is not an authorized chemical manufacturer, chemical distributor, industrial product manufacturer, or an individual in possession of a finished product.

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