Bergen County NJ Juvenile Drug Possession Lawyer
Juvenile and Student Drug Charges Defense Attorney in Hackensack, New Jersey
The war on drugs has been a battle waged for decades, in New Jersey and across the United States. As such, drug policy in New Jersey reflects the voracity with which the State pursues and prosecutes juvenile and adult drug offenders. Unfortunately, you can face serious consequences for possessing even the slightest amount of a controlled dangerous substance. Although charges for marijuana possession and possession of prescription drugs are governed by their own unique provisions, other drugs included in New Jersey’s Drug Schedules, such as heroin, cocaine, MDMA, anabolic steroids, and even cough medicine, are subject to the same stringent regulations. If you are charged with drug possession (possession of CDS) in New Jersey, your future is hanging in the balance. You need an aggressive New Jersey drug charges defense attorney with the knowledge and experience to protect your innocence and ensure that your future is full of endless opportunities.
Alissa Hascup is a renowned New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who is passionately committed to defending juveniles, college students, and young adults facing drug charges and other criminal offenses. As a former prosecutor, Alissa has accumulated a wealth of knowledge that spans both sides of the criminal justice system. Now, she utilizes all of this invaluable insight to successfully defend her clients in courts in Middlesex County, Essex County, Passaic County, Bergen County, and across the state. In fact, she regularly defends college students from universities like Montclair State, Rutgers, TCNJ, and Fairleigh Dickinson, as well as middle school and high school students, and other young adults. Because of her dedication and skill, Alissa was recently named among the 10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in New Jersey, by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. If you are facing drug possession charges in Hackensack, Morristown, Newark, Jersey City, or elsewhere in New Jersey, Alissa is the battle-tested defender you want in your corner. To discuss your case with her today and receive a cost-free consultation, simple contact her offices at 862-257-1200.
Drug Possession in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)
Charges for drug possession, legally defined as possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), are explained in section N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a) of the New Jersey Criminal Code. According to this statute, it is unlawful for any person to obtain or possess a controlled dangerous substance without a valid prescription. Although marijuana is addressed in a separate section of this statute, possession of other controlled dangerous substances, classified in Schedules I, II, III, or IV of the NJ Drug Schedules, is a third degree crime. Some examples of the drugs that may lead to charges for drug possession include heroin, cocaine, and Ecstacy (Molly, MDMA). Additionally, possession of a Schedule V controlled dangerous substance, such as a cough suppressant, is a fourth degree crime. Both third degree and fourth degree crimes in New Jersey are considered felony-level offenses.
Juvenile Charges for Drug (CDS) Possession in New Jersey
If you are a juvenile charged with possession of CDS in New Jersey, your case is subject to the rules and procedures of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice System, which means that you will be required to appear before a Juvenile Court Judge in the Family Division of the Superior Court in your county of residence. You are not entitled to a trial by jury and you are required to have an attorney representing you at these proceedings. In New Jersey, juveniles are “adjudicated delinquent” if they are found guilty, which is similar to a conviction for an adult. If you are a minor adjudicated delinquent of drug possession, the Court will hold a dispositional hearing, at which time they will consider a variety of factors before determining the appropriate sentence. Some of the factors taken into account include: the nature and circumstances of the offense; your age, previous record, and social services received; your unique needs; and your openness to rehabilitation.
In Juvenile Court, the legal standard is the “best interests of the child,” so juvenile judges have broad discretion when imposing sentences in juvenile cases. While a third degree drug possession charge may result in a sentence to serve up to 2 years in juvenile detention and a fine of up to $35,000 and a fourth degree charge for drug possession is punishable by up to 1 year in juvenile detention and a maximum fine of $25,000, detention is not necessarily the outcome in every case. In fact, alternative sentences that are available to juvenile offenders include: release to the custody of your parents, probation, community service, work or education programs, substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, restitution payments, or driver’s license suspension.
NJ Charges for Drug Possession as Applied to College Students and Young Adults
If you are a legal adult (18 or older) and charged with drug possession in New Jersey, your case will be adjudicated in the adult criminal justice system. Since possession of CDS is an indictable felony in New Jersey, you will be required to appear in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court in the county where the alleged offense occurred. For instance, if you were charged with possession of CDS near Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison, you will be required to appear in Morris County Superior Court. The potential penalties for an adult charged with drug possession are as follows:
- Third degree drug possession: 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $35,000
- Fourth degree drug possession: up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $25,000
Notably, both third degree and fourth degree crimes have a presumption of non-incarceration for first-time offenders. This means that if you are charged with drug possession and you have no prior criminal record, you may be able to have your charges dismissed by successfully completing a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention. Of course, your lawyer should thoroughly investigate your case and pursue all available avenues to a dismissal.
Contact Mahwah NJ Juvenile CDS Possession Defense Lawyer Today
Charges for drug possession in New Jersey are serious, whether you are a minor or an adult. With the potential to hinder your life in the future, it is crucial to find an experienced lawyer who can construct the best possible defense. Contact The Law Offices of Alissa Hascup at 862-257-1200 for additional information and a free initial consultation about your case. With office locations in Morristown, Hackensack, Little Falls, and Camden, Ms Hascup appears in courts throughout New Jersey, including in Bergen County, Essex County, Union County, and Somerset County.