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Prescription Drug Charges

Defense Attorney for Prescription Drug Possession and Distribution in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Monmouth County NJ Prescription Drug Charges Lawyer
Courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The abuse of prescription drugs is an ever-increasing problem in New Jersey - a fast-moving comet of trouble with a tail of theft, fraud, hospitalization, endless court cases, rehab and death from overdose. According to New Jersey Consumer Affairs, the number of admissions to drug addiction treatment programs caused by prescription drugs increased ten-fold from 848 in 2001 to 8,676 in 2011. And along with that, the abuse of opiates in prescription drugs is responsible for two-thirds of all drug-related deaths.

The courts are lenient and forgiving until they aren’t. If you or a loved one has been accused of abusing prescription drugs, the first person you should speak to is Monmouth County prescription drug attorney Tara Breslow-Testa. The majority of the cases she tries involve drugs, and she has defended thousands of drug crimes and understands the system inside and out. If you are a first-time offender and your crime was third or fourth degree, Tara knows how to get your case diverted to Drug Court or Pre-Trial Intervention.

If you or a loved one is being investigated or has been arrested for the possession or distribution of prescription drugs, call Tara Breslow-Testa at (732) 784-2880

Top 10 Abused Prescription Drugs

It’s hard to calculate the increase in crime and theft and fraud from the use of prescription drugs, as they are highly addictive, forcing addicted abusers to go to extreme measures to obtain them: theft of prescription drugs or prescription pads, prescription drug forgery, or prescription drug fraud.

The abuse is most troubling with New Jersey youth, who are getting access to drugs for pain relief, anxiety and attention deficit disorder.

These are among the Top 10 Most Abused prescription drugs in New Jersey and across the country.

  1. Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
  2. Xanax (Alprazolam)
  3. Adderall (Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine)
  4. Ritalin (Methylphenidate)
  5. Vicodin (Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen):
  6. Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen)
  7. Valium (Diazepam)
  8. Ambien (Zolpidem)
  9. Promethazine/Codeine Syrup
  10. Phenobarbital
Prescription Drug Charges in the State of New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5

New Jersey law defines a prescription drug as “any substance which under Federal or State law requires dispensing by prescription or order of a licensed physician, veterinarian or dentist.”

Possession for no Financial Gain

Under section N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, possession of four or fewer units or pills of a prescription drug, or distribution of four or fewer units or pills of a prescription drug for no financial gain, is a disorderly persons offense, punishable by up to six months in the county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

For first-time drug offenders, these cases may be resolved through enrollment in the Conditional Discharge Program, which involves completion of a probationary period after which the charges are dismissed entirely. You can only complete Conditional Discharge one time in your life, but doing so allows you to avoid a conviction on your criminal record.

Possession of Prescription Drugs for Distribution

When someone is accused of possession of prescription drugs for distribution for financial gain, the possible penalties become more severe.

Distribution or possession of four or less units or or pills with intent to distribute for financial gain is a fourth degree crime, punishable by a sentence of up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.

Distribution or possession of between 5 and 100 units or pills with intent to distribute is a third degree crime, punishable by a sentence between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $200,000.

Lastly, distribution or possession of 100 or more units or pills with intent to distribute is a second degree crime, which may result in a sentence to serve between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $300,000.

Presumption of Incarceration

In New Jersey, second degree charges come with a “presumption of incarceration” meaning that the conviction of even a first-time offender has mandatory prison time.

However, third and fourth-degree crimes have a presumption of non-incarceration, which means a first-time offender can be detoured into Drug Court or Pre-Trial Intervention - in essence, a second chance.

But this second chance comes with strict rules that have to be followed to the letter - or the court loses its sympathy and patience.

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.

Better Call Tara

With many years of knowledge and experience, including service as a public defender and criminal judicial law clerk, Ms. Breslow-Testa is who you want in your corner when dealing with aggressive prosecutors and heard-it-all judges.

When she takes on a case, Ms. Breslow conducts a thorough investigation to spot procedural errors, inadmissible evidence, mistakes in probable cause and search and seizure and other potential grounds for a dismissal.

When a dismissal is an unlikely outcome, she negotiates for downgraded charges, lesser sentences, and enrollment in diversionary programs such as Drug Court and Pre-Trial Intervention, which allow her clients to avoid prison and charges on their criminal records.

If you have been charged with possession or distribution of prescription drugs, contact Monmouth County prescription drug lawyer Tara Breslow-Testa for a cost-free consultation: (732) 784-2880