The DEA classifies cocaine as a Schedule II drug, indicating that it is dangerous and has a high potential for abuse, as well as physical and psychological dependence. As cocaine possession is considered an indictable offense, the state of New Jersey takes cocaine laws very seriously, and the penalties for possession and distribution are severe. If you are arrested on a cocaine possession or distribution, you need legal counsel you can depend on. The lawyers at Schneider Freiberger are experienced in dealing with cocaine charges and will protect your rights while working to get the best result possible.
‘Simple’ Cocaine Possession Penalties
As with marijuana, cocaine penalties in New Jersey increase depending on the amount you are found in possession of and the area the arrest takes place in. Possession of less than half an ounce is referred to as ‘simple possession.’
- Possession of less than half an ounce
- A Third-Degree crime
- A fine of between $35,000 and $75,000.
- A maximum prison sentence of five years in New Jersey State Prison.
- An additional 100 hours of community service if you are within 1000 feet of a school property.
- Loss of driver’s license.
- Mandatory drug education and rehabilitation programs.
If you are charged with ‘simple possession’ in New Jersey, it is possible to qualify for pretrial intervention (PTI), which forgoes prosecution and a criminal record in exchange for successfully completing a probationary period. You may be qualified for this if:
- You have never had pretrial intervention before.
- You have no prior indictable charges to which you have pled guilty.
- Your charge does not include sale or intent to distribute cocaine.
Cocaine Possession with Intent to Distribute
Possession of more than half an ounce of cocaine increases the penalties significantly.
- Possession of between half an ounce and five ounces with intent to distribute
- A Second-Degree crime
- A fine of up to $150,000.
- A maximum prison sentence of ten years.
- Possession of more than five ounces with intent to distribute
- A First-Degree crime
- A fine of up to $500,000.
- A maximum prison sentence of twenty years.
Note that these penalties are for first offenses and can increase with subsequent offenses, and can also increase if you are charged with distribution in a school zone or public park.
If you are arrested for a cocaine offense, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible to minimize the penalties and ensure your rights are observed. Contact Schneider Freiberger today to get started on your cocaine possession or distribution defense.