Possession of a CDS is illegal in the state of New Jersey. You may be wondering, what exactly is a CDS? CDS stands for “controlled dangerous substances.” Many drugs are considered CDS, including heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, anabolic steroids, and more. Even possessing something like painkillers could be illegal if a physician didn’t prescribe them for you. Up until recently, possession of marijuana was also illegal. At the end of last year, New Jersey changed their laws so that possession of marijuana up to a certain amount was no longer against the law.
If you are facing possession of CDS charges, the best thing to do is contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney. An attorney like Leon Matchin will walk through your case with you. He can create a defense to have your charges dismissed or at least downgraded, so that you face less severe consequences.
Possession of CDS & New Jersey Law
New Jersey law lays out the rules and regulations regarding possession of CDS in Statute 2C § 35-10. The law states: “It is unlawful for any person knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription order form from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice…”’
This law clearly defines that possessing CDS is illegal unless a medical practitioner has written you a prescription for the substance. Also, the law mentions a controlled substance analog, which is an unknown term to many people. A controlled substance analog as defined by drugs.com is “a substance which is structurally or pharmacologically similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II substance.” An example of a controlled substance analog is a “designer drug.” The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) breaks out drugs into different schedules based on factors such as how likely they are to be abused or how likely they are to cause addiction. Here’s how DEA breaks down the schedule:
- Schedule I CDS – Not accepted for medical use, high potential for abuse (ex: heroin).
- Drugs that are schedule II CDS – High potential for abuse, severe psychological or physical dependence (ex: cocaine).
- Schedule III CDS – Potential for abuse less than Schedule I & II (ex: anabolic steroids).
- Drugs that are considered Schedule IV – Low potential for abuse relative to Schedule III (ex: midazolam).
- Schedule V – Consistent primarily of mixtures containing limited quantities of other scheduled material (ex: Motofen).
Consequences of CDS Possession Charges
Now that you know how the DEA classifies CDS, it’s time to understand the consequences and penalties associated with a CDS possession charge. If the possessed drug is Schedule I, II, III, or IV, this becomes a third-degree crime. The consequences include 3-5 years of jail time and fines up to $35,000. If the possessed drug is a Schedule V drug, it is a fourth-degree crime. The consequences for the fourth-degree charge include up to 18 months in prison and fines not to exceed $15,000. If the drugs were within 1,000 feet of a school property or school bus, an additional consequence of community service hours would be given. The punishments for subsequent offenses include higher fines and more extensive jail time.
Potential Defenses for CDS Possession Charges
An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney will base their defense on the evidence in your case. Many potential defenses exist for CDS possession cases. One common defense is unlawful search and seizure. This defense is common when the CDS is in a motor vehicle. As a result, if the drugs are not out in plain sight, a police officer must have a warrant or the driver’s permission to search the vehicle. Another defense is that the drugs were for medical use. Your attorney can help you contact your doctor and get the necessary documentation to prove that you weren’t illegally using the drugs. Sometimes you might get arrested even when the drugs are not yours. Perhaps a roommate, friend, sibling, or other acquaintance left them in your car or apartment. An attorney can help prove this situation in court.
As you can see, there are a lot of options. Getting a possession of CDS charge is not the be-all-and-end-all. There are ways to have the charges dropped or downgraded. For example, your charge of CDS possession in your vehicle can go from a criminal charge to a simple traffic violation if your attorney proves that there was unlawful search and seizure or that the drugs weren’t yours. Be sure to discuss every detail of your situation with your attorney, as they will need as much information as possible to build your case.
How a New Jersey Attorney Can Help You Fight CDS Possession Charges
Being charged with possession of CDS can be scary and overwhelming. After all, it is a criminal charge that comes with jail time and high fines. Fortunately, with the help of a New Jersey criminal defense attorney like Leon Matchin, you have options. Don’t stress about potential consequences before you talk through your case with Leon. His years of experience and success in the courtroom will instantly put your mind at ease. He will fully explain the law, discuss potential consequences, and figure out the best defense to use in court. For more information about New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin and how he can help with possession of CDS charges, contact him right away by phone at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected].