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Drug Crimes

Monmouth County Attorney Representing New Jersey Citizens Charged With Controlled Dangerous Substance Offenses

Drug crimes are serious business in New Jersey. From possession of a small amount of marijuana to master-minding a heroin trafficking ring, the potential sentences for drug crimes involve heavy fines, long prison sentences and lifelong implications if convicted.

If you are being investigated or have been arrested for the possession and/or trafficking of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS), the first person you should talk to is Monmouth County drug crime lawyer Tara Breslow-Testa. With experience on both sides of the bench, Ms. Breslow-Testa knows how serious drug crimes charges are, and how stern the system is when prosecuting and sentencing citizens accused of drug crimes. Ms. Breslow-Testa understands the give and take of drug cases, and she is who you want in your corner and by your side when your future is being adjudicated.

The New Jersey statutes for drug crimes are complicated, dividing Controlled Dangerous Substances into Schedules I - V and sentencing from the first to fourth degree. The sentencing hinges on whether someone possesses CDS for personal use or distribution, and the weight of the drugs they possess. Sentences can be as severe as life in prison and fines up to $500,000.

Tara Breslow-Testa understands the system and has the tools to divert your case to Drug Court, or Pre-Trial Intervention, or have the charges dropped completely because of Probable Cause, Illegal Search and Seizure or other legal technicalities. Police and courts make mistakes, the system is complex, but Tara Breslow-Testa has the skills to navigate you through it to safety.

For a free consultation, call Tara Breslow-Testa at (732) 784-2880.

Possible Charges and Penalties

New Jersey ranks low in overall drug problems in the United States. They want to keep it that way, and one way they keep it that way is to sentence offenders harshly - so they don’t repeat the offense.

These are examples of drug charges as simple as possession of drug paraphernalia up to distribution of heroin:

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2) = up to six months in prison, a fine up to $1,000, and a suspended driver’s license for as much as two years.

Possession of Less Than 50 Grams of Marijuana (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10A(4) is a disorderly persons offense, with a sentence of up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $1000, suspended driver’s license and drug rehabilitation.

Possession of More Than 50 Grams of Marijuana is a fourth-degree offense, with a maximum of 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Possession of Five or More ounces of Heroin is a first-degree crime punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $500,000.

The Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3) “who conspires with two or more other persons in a scheme or course of conduct to unlawfully manufacture, distribute, dispense, bring into or transport in this State methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine, gamma hydroxybutyrate, flunitrazepam or any controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedule I or II, or any controlled substance analog thereof as a financier, or as an organizer, supervisor or manager of at least one other person” can be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

“Innocent until proven guilty,” is a foundation principle in the American criminal justice system, which places the burden on prosecutors to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a person possessed Controlled Dangerous Substances with the intent to consume them, or distribute them. Police must act on a “reasonable suspicion” that a law is being broken before they can stop a citizen or enter their car or their home and search for drugs. This “reasonable suspicion” is held up to strict rules in court and if there are holes, a talented defender like Tara Breslow-Testa can find those holes, and a judge will bar the evidence from being held up in court.

Make no mistake, drug cases that go to court are battle, with aggressive prosecutors in one corner presenting evidence to judges who have seen and heard it all. There is a rhythm and flow and sensibility to drug crime cases that requires a seasoned defender to understand.

Drug Court

Established in 1996 in Camden and Essex Superior Courts - and since extended to all of New Jersey - the mission of New Jersey’s Drug Court is to head off the abuse of drugs and alcohol and ease the related criminal activity that goes with drug abuse. Drug Courts operate within the Superior Court structure and utilize a specialized team of treatment professionals, court staff, probation officers, attorneys and substance abuse evaluators for cases that are nonviolent.

The goal of Drug Court is to keep abusers out of jail and off drugs, and it is possible that Monmouth County drug offense attorney Tara Breslow-Testa can work with Superior Court to have a case deflected into Drug Court - and turn possible jail time and fines into strict supervision.

Controlled Dangerous Substance Schedules I - V

Certain organic drugs and chemical compounds are classified as “controlled dangerous substances” - also known as CDS - when these drugs are known to be abused. They are classified in five categories under New Jersey’s Controlled Dangerous Substance Schedules I - V.

Schedule I substances include hallucinogens and narcotics that are frequently abused and have no acceptable medical value for treatment in the United States. Schedule 1 offenses - possession to distribution - are the most serious. There are several dozen listed, but in general: Acid, hashish, heroin, LSD, Marijuana, MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms, synthetic marijuana.

Schedule II substances do have medically accepted use in the United States but also have a high potential for addiction and abuse - leading to psychological or physical dependence. These are primarily opiates: Amphetamine, including Dexedrine & Adderall, codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Morphine, Oxycodone,

Schedule III controlled substances have less potential for abuse than the drugs listed in schedules I and II. They do have an accepted medical use in the United States and can still lead to high psychic dependence and low/moderate physical dependence: Anabolic Steroids, Buprenoprhine, Ketamine, Testosterone, Tylenol with Codeine.

Schedule IV substances have a lower potential for abuse compared to CDS listed in Schedules I, II and III although they can still cause limited physical and psychic dependence: Alprazolam (Xanax), Clonazepam (Klonopin), Diazepam (Valium). Darvocet (propoxyphene and acetaminophen), Zolpidem (Ambien)

Schedule V controlled substances have low potential for abuse, and have an accepted medical use in the United States - many are sold over the counter: <200 milligrams of codeine, <100 milligrams of dihydrocodeine, <2.5 milligrams diphenoxylate, <100 milligrams ethylmorphine, <100 milligrams opium

Better Call Tara

Monmouth County drug crime attorney Tara Breslow-Testa handles dozens of drug crimes cases every year. She is dedicated to ensuring a defendant’s rights are protected to the limit of the law, and to making sure that police and prosecutors act according to the rules. You want Tara by your side from arrest to sentencing - if your case does go that far.

Your future is in the balance. Contact Ms. Breslow-Testa immediately for a free consultation: (732) 784-2880