Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, also known as “CDS” or drugs, is one of the most commonly handled charges in both Superior and Municipal courts in New Jersey. This is because controlled dangerous substance refers to all types of narcotics including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and Prescription Drugs Offenses. These charges can differ widely and can either be indictable offenses (felony charges) or misdemeanors (disorderly persons offenses) depending on the type of drug and amount or total weight confiscated. Moreover, New Jersey has a Drug Schedule for Controlled Dangerous Substances which grades the seriousness of each narcotic on a scale of 1 – 5 using roman numerals. Under the general possession statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, it is unlawful for any individual to be found in possession of a drug (CDS) without a valid prescription. Also taken into consideration with the drug offense is the location in which the crime was committed. Many times individuals will be arrested for possessing or selling drugs in an area that happens to be in close proximity of a school zone or public property (e.g. public park or housing facility) and therefore it is common for them to be charged with more serious crimes such as Distribution of CDS within 500 feet of a Public Park or Housing Facility and/or Intent to Distribute CDS within 1000 feet of a School. It is not a valid defense that you were not aware that you were in a certain location at the time the offense occurred. Proetta & Oliver handles numerous drug cases throughout New Jersey including Roselle Park, Union, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Clark and Cranford, and Scotch Plains. Our lawyers are highly experienced in handling complex cases involving controlled dangerous substances and are ready to assist you in finding an appropriate resolution to your case. For more information or to consult with an experienced drug (CDS) defense attorney, contact us at our Cranford office at (908) 838-0150.
New Jersey Possession CDS Law 2C:35-10
The New Jersey statute for possession of a controlled dangerous substance is provided in pertinent part below for your convenience:
2C:35-10. Possession, use or being under the influence, or failure to make lawful disposition
a. 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 or order form from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by P.L.1970, c. 226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.). Any person who violates this section with respect to:
(1) A controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule I, II, III or IV other than those specifically covered in this section, is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $35,000.00 may be imposed;
(2) Any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule V, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $15,000.00 may be imposed;
(3) Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or more than five grams of hashish is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be imposed; or
(4) Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or five grams or less of hashish is a disorderly person.
As the above state clearly illustrates, the penalties for each offense involving CDS possession entirely depend on drugs found and the total amount or weight. While the above statute deals with general possession of a controlled dangerous substance, there are separate penalties under 2C:35-5 for distribution of CDS such as Distribution of Marijuana, or Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Heroin Distribution. These penalties can carry mandatory prison incarceration depending on the facts. If you have been charged with a CDS offense it is always in your best interest to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Proetta & Oliver we have successfully handled thousands of criminal charges for our clients including countless drug possession and distribution cases. We represent clients throughout New Jersey including Westfield, Rahway, Linden, Summit, Kenilworth, Springfield, and Roselle. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, then contact us at (908) 838-0150 for a free consultation with one our defense attorneys. We have representatives available 24/7 to answer your call.