Understanding Methamphetamine Charges in New Jersey
Methamphetamine (commonly called “meth”), like heroin and cocaine, is considered a dangerous controlled substance under NJ law. The DEA classifies methamphetamine as a schedule II drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological dependence. If you are charged with a methamphetamine related drug charge, it is important to know your rights and how you can minimize the consequences.
‘Simple’ Methamphetamine Possession Penalties
As with many drug charges, the penalties for methamphetamine will vary depending on the amount in your possession. If you are found with less than half an ounce, you will be charged with what is often called “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’ of methamphetamine in New Jersey, it is possible to qualify for pre-trial intervention (PTI), which forgoes prosecution and a criminal record in exchange for successfully completing a probationary period. You may be eligible 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 methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine Possession with Intent to Distribute
Possession of more than half an ounce of methamphetamine 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.
It is important to note that these penalties are for first offenses and can increase with subsequent offenses, and you can also incur additional charges if you are charged with distribution in a school zone or public park.
If you are arrested for a methamphetamine charge in New Jersey, 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 discuss your methamphetamine possession or distribution defense.