There were an estimated 1.5 million arrests for drug law violations in the United States in 2019. Drug trafficking and possession with intent to distribute are different crimes in New Jersey in spite of their similarities. If you face charges of either, it’s important to retain an experienced Morristown criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights.
Which Drugs Are Considered Controlled Dangerous Substances?
There are certain criteria that a drug must meet in order to be considered an illegal controlled dangerous substance. In general, drugs that serve no medical purpose that are at a higher risk of being abused are especially relevant. Drugs that are commonly involved in drug cases include the following:
What Are New Jersey’s Drug Distribution Laws?
In New Jersey, it’s illegal to possess illicit drugs, with some being considered more serious than others. Distribution refers to trafficking or transporting large amounts of illicit drugs across states or even internationally with the intention of selling. In New Jersey, it’s possible to be charged with distribution of drugs even if you simply intend to do so. In other words, you don’t have to actually distribute the drugs to be charged with the crime. If there’s sufficient proof of intent, such as having large amounts of drugs in baggies, a digital scale, or other drug paraphernalia, you can be charged and subsequently convicted.
Even if the drugs in question are those that can legally be prescribed, if you lack a valid prescription or license, you can’t legally possess or distribute them. Even if you have a small amount of a drug, you can be charged with the following:
- Drug distribution
- Drug trafficking
- Manufacturing drugs
- Possession with the intent to distribute
What Is the Difference Between Trafficking and Possession With Intent to Distribute?
The crime of drug trafficking refers to a variety of actions with illegal drugs. Selling, manufacturing, creating, transporting, moving, or distributing drugs all fall under the drug trafficking category. Trafficking specifically refers to any substances that are moved from one place to another and usually involves movement from one state to another or even one country to another. This often involves a much larger setup than simply one or two people. When drug trafficking is done on a large scale, it can be on a national or even international scale with millions of dollars earned from sales.
Possession of drugs with intent to distribute is a crime that also involves manufacturing, distributing, or possessing drugs. However, it involves an intent to manufacture or distribute illicit drugs. This crime is often proven in court by prosecutors when the defendant possesses items that indicate an intent to distribute, such as drugs stored in plastic baggies found in the person’s car.
What Are the Penalties for a Drug Trafficking Conviction?
Punishment for a drug trafficking conviction can be very serious. If you face these charges, don’t take them lightly. Consult with an experienced Morristown criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Penalties can range depending on the circumstances, amount of the drug being trafficked, and more. However, drug trafficking usually carries a charge of a first-degree felony. The following may apply for a conviction:
- Up to 18 months in prison for a fourth-degree felony conviction
- 3 to 5 years in prison for a third-degree felony conviction
- 5 to 10 years in prison for a second-degree felony conviction
- 10 to 20 years in prison for a first-degree felony conviction
There are also fines handed down as part of a defendant’s conviction. You may lose federal benefits and civil rights if you face a conviction for drug trafficking.
What Are the Punishments for Possession With Intent to Distribute?
The punishments you can receive for a conviction of possession with intent to distribute depend on the drugs and the amount that was found. The following can be given for a conviction:
- Up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 or $25,000 depending on the drug for a fourth-degree felony conviction
- Up to 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $75,000 for a third-degree felony conviction
- Up to 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000 for a second-degree felony conviction
- Up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a first-degree felony conviction
If you’ve been arrested for drug trafficking or possession with intent to distribute in Morristown, New Jersey, contact the law firm of Gregg Wisotsky at (973) 898-0161 today.
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