Though New Jersey has a number of laws governing the possession of illegal drugs, the Garden State takes a slightly different approach than most other jurisdictions. Specifically, New Jersey classifies certain drugs as “controlled dangerous substances.” While marijuana falls under the definition of a CDS, it is regulated differently than such things as heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine.
THE NEW JERSEY STATUTORY SCHEME FOR CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES
Under New Jersey statutes, there are five different schedules, or classifications, of illegal drugs. Schedule I includes the most dangerous controlled substances, those with the highest addiction rates and least amount of medical value. The remaining four schedules involve decreasing levels of addiction and/or greater medical importance.
When you have been arrested for possession of any CDS, the first thing you need to do is determine where the drug fits in the statutory scheme. Your potential sentence could vary substantially, based on the nature of the offense. If you are convicted of a Schedule I, II, III or IV violation, the penalties can include three to five years in prison, a fine of as much as $35,000 or both. A schedule V offense can lead to 18 months in prison and a $15,000 penalty. If you are found to possess a CDS within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus, you can also be required to serve 100 hours of community service.
Repeat offenders face significantly stiffer penalties, often double the sanctions, including fines of up to $50,000 and additional prison terms.
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