If you have been arrested for drug possession in New Jersey, it’s important to understand how the state treats possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). New Jersey takes a somewhat different approach than other jurisdictions, establishing five “schedules” that categorize the different types of illegal drugs.
The New Jersey CDS Classification Scheme
The classification system categorizes CDSs based on two factors their likelihood of being abused ‒ and addictive and whether they have any recognized medical value. The quantity of a drug within a formulation is also of concern. Schedule I includes those substances that are considered most dangerous substances that are most likely to lead to addiction and that have little or no recognized ‒ medical value. Schedules II through V reflect decreasing likelihood of addiction and/or increasing medical value:
- Schedule I—This includes what are typically referred to as “hard drugs,” such as heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, peyote, heroin, psilocybin and many others.
- Schedule II—These CDSs have the potential to be highly addictive but have more medicinal value than Schedule I drugs. Schedule II includes methadone, methamphetamines, Percocet, fentanyl, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl and similar substances.
- Schedule III—These drugs have accepted medical value and less risk of addiction. Schedule III includes anabolic steroids, testosterone, ketamine, buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), amphetamines and similar drugs.
- Schedule IV—Schedule IV substances have a low risk of abuse and addiction and have medical value. They are mostly drugs that can lead to psychic dependence, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), zolpidem (Ambien), clonazepam and others.
- Schedule V—These drugs have a very low likelihood of addiction and are often sold over the counter for medical purposes. Schedule V CDSs include drugs with a limited concentration of opium, codeine, or dihydrocodeine and other, similar pharmaceutical products.
The penalties for illegal possession differ based on the type of offense and the amount in possession. For any offense involving a Schedule I-IV CDS, the maximum penalty is $35,000 in fines and five years in prison, or both. For a Schedule V crime, you can get up to 18 months in prison and incur a fine of up to $15,000.
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