Paramus NJ Juvenile Prescription Drug Charges Lawyer
Juvenile and Student Defense Attorney in Bergen County and New Jersey
Every day, thousands of prescription drugs are prescribed to patients in the United States, intended to treat conditions ranging from anxiety to depression and ADHD. Sometimes, these medications serve as a saving grace for people who desperately need them. In other cases, their powerfully addictive nature leads to prescription drug abuse. Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs, which may lead to prescription drug charges in New Jersey, include: Xanax, Adderall, Ritalin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycontin. When you are found in possession of these or other medications without a valid prescription, or you give some of your medication to someone else, you can face serious consequences. If you or a juvenile, college student, or young adult facing prescription drug charges in New Jersey, it is crucial to have an experienced NJ drug crime defense attorney fighting for your rights and your future.
Alissa Hascup is a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer who is dedicated to representing minors and young people facing charges for prescription drug crimes and other criminal offenses in New Jersey. With offices in Hackensack, Little Falls, Morristown, and Camden, she regularly defends college students from universities like Montclair State, William Paterson, Ramapo, and NJIT, as well as high school students and other young adults. With extensive experience as a former Municipal Prosecutor, Assistant County Prosecutor, and Special Deputy Attorney General, Ms. Hascup uses her unique insight into the way the State prosecutes these cases to formulate the most effective defenses for her clients. In fact, she was recently named among the Top 100 Criminal Trial Lawyers in America, by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Whether you or your child are facing prescription drug charges in Hackensack, Wayne, New Brunswick, Elizabeth, or elsewhere in New Jersey, you need an aggressive legal advocate who will stand up for you. To learn how Ms. Hascup can help, contact her offices today at 862-257-1200. She will listen to your specific case, answer all of your questions, and she always provides consultations free of charge.
Prescription Drug Possession and Distribution in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5
New Jersey Law addresses prescription legend drugs in section N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which prohibits the possession and distribution of prescription medications without a valid prescription from a licensed physician, veterinarian or dentist. The statute delineates different types of prescription drug offenses and the penalties associated with each. Notably, these charges become more severe when possession crosses the line into distribution, as well as when the amount of units or pills increases.
According to NJ prescription drug law, the possession of a prescription drug, or distribution for no financial gain, in a quantity of 4 or fewer units or pills, is a disorderly persons offense. On the other hand, distribution or possession with intent to distribute a prescription drug for financial gain, in a quantity of 4 or fewer units or pills, is a crime of the fourth degree. Further, distribution or possession with intent to distribute between 5 and 100 units or pills is a crime of the third degree. Lastly, distribution or possession of more than 100 units or pills with intent to distribute is a second degree crime.
Juvenile Prescription Drug Charges in New Jersey
If you are a juvenile (a legal minor under the age of 18) charged with possession, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute prescription drugs in New Jersey, your case will be handled in the Juvenile Court System, which is very different from the adult criminal court system. Unlike adult court, your case will be heard and decided by a single Juvenile Court Judge in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county where you live. In other words, if you are accused of a prescription drug crime in Newark, but you live in Paramus, your case will be adjudicated in Bergen County Superior Court. During your juvenile case, you must have an attorney representing you.
In order for a minor to be charged and convicted of a criminal offense in New Jersey, he or she must first be adjudicated delinquent,” which basically means found guilty. When a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent, the standard in juvenile court is the “best interests of the child,” so judges must consider a broad range of factors before imposing a juvenile sentence. Among the factors that judges take into account are: the nature and circumstances of your offense; your age, previous record, and social services received; your unique needs; and the likelihood that you will respond well to reformative measures. It is the court’s priority to rehabilitate juvenile offenders whenever possible, so there are a variety of alternatives to incarceration that are available to juveniles who are adjudicated delinquent in New Jersey.
However, the potential penalties associated with prescription drug offenses are serious for juveniles in New Jersey. Specifically, a second degree crime is punishable by up to 3 years in a juvenile detention center; a third degree crime may result in up to 2 years of detention; and a fourth degree crime carries up to 1 year in juvenile detention. Notably, for disorderly persons offenses and fourth degree crimes, there is a presumption of non-incarceration for first-time juvenile offenders. As mentioned above, there are a variety of alternative sentences for juveniles, including: releasing the juvenile into their parent’s custody, probation, community service, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, work or educational programs, restitution payments, and/or driver s license suspension. If you have an experienced juvenile defense lawyer on your side, he or she can work to secure the best possible result.
NJ Prescription Drug Charges for College Students and Young Adults
If you are 18 or older and facing prescription drug charges in New Jersey, your case will be subject to the rules and procedures of the adult criminal justice process. This means that your case will be adjudicated in the Municipal Court associated with the location where you allegedly committed the offense (if you are charged with a disorderly persons offense), or in the Superior Court in the county where the alleged offense occurred (if you are charged with a second, third, or fourth degree crime). The potential penalties for an adult charged with prescription drug possession or distribution are as follows:
- Second degree prescription drug charges: 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $300,000
- Third degree prescription drug charges: 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $200,000
- Fourth degree prescription drug charges: up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison
- Prescription drug disorderly persons offense: up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000
Obviously, the penalties for an adult convicted of a prescription drug crime are extremely serious. In addition to these, you will have a conviction of your criminal record, which will appear on background checks run by schools and employers in the future. This can significantly hinder your opportunities moving forward, which is why it is essential to have an experienced NJ criminal defense lawyer who can develop the best possible defense.
Contact Hackensack NJ Underage Prescription Drug Charges Lawyer for Answers
If you are a juvenile, college student, or other young adult accused of possessing or distribution prescription medication, the time is now to begin constructing a compelling defense strategy. Contact The Law Offices of Alissa Hascup to discuss your case. With offices conveniently located in Hackensack, Little Falls, Camden, and Morristown, Ms Hascup fights for clients in courts from Essex County to Union County, and Bergen County to Morris County. Simply call 862-257-1200 today for your free consultation.