How to Handle the Arrest of a Juvenile Charged with Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs
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New Jersey has several different schedules of drugs listed in the statutory code at N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-5. The schedules in the statute are designed to differentiate between the strengths of various drugs, their side effects and the dangers of consumption by a human without proper supervision. Prescription drugs are those prescribed to you by your doctor for specific reasons. Using these drugs in an improper manner can lead to undesired side effects. However, some people opt to use prescription drugs as a method of getting “high.”
Possession is defined loosely as when a person who actually or constructively possesses a controlled substance (those substances in the schedules) without a valid prescription from a physician. This means that if a juvenile has any controlled substance on his person and does not have a prescription for it he is in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.
As mentioned above, New Jersey groups certain drugs together into schedules based on several different characteristics that liken them to each other. Schedule I is defined as a drug that has a high potential for abuse and includes Marijuana, DMT, Hashish and Psychedelic Mushrooms. Schedule II also has a high risk for abuse but has some medical treatment uses, with severe restrictions. Schedule II drugs are Cocaine, Vicodin, Morphine and Oxycodone. Schedule III drugs have the potential to be abused, have currently accepted medical uses in the United States, and include the following: Anabolic Steroids, Adderall and other Ampetamines, Codeine and Xanax. Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse and also have many medically accepted uses. Schedule IV drugs include Ativan, Ambien and Flunitrazepam (Roofies). Schedule V drugs have very low potential for abuse and include over the counter cough medications.
More information regarding the schedules can be found at N.J.S.A. 24:21-5 thru 8.1.
Juveniles who are charged with illegal possession of prescription drugs must go before the Family Court Division of the State Superior Court in order to determine if they were delinquent. Being adjudicated delinquent by a Family Court is the equivalent as being found guilty of a crime as an adult. After the juvenile has been found delinquent the family court judge will decide the appropriate sentence for the delinquent juvenile. The court considers multiple factors in deciding whether the juvenile will be detained in a juvenile detention facility or some lesser penalty will be imposed. Lesser penalties include community service, participation in work programs, and mandatory attendance of drug rehabilitation programs.
The penalties for adults and juveniles are the same when it comes to possession of controlled substances.
Juveniles who are found guilty of the possession of a Schedule V controlled substance face up to a year of detention in a juvenile detention center and fines up to $15,000. Possession of any drug in Schedules I, II, III or IV is a third degree crime which carries up to two years in detention and fines up to $35,000.
A juvenile can be charged with drug possession with intent to distribute if the juvenile knowingly or purposely possessed a controlled substance, and had under his or her control, with intent to distribute or dispense it a controlled substance. Again, the penalties associated with the charges depend on which drug the juvenile was in possession of.
A juvenile can also be arrested and charged of having drugs in his or her possession while he or she was on school property, or within 1,000 feet of a property used for school purposes. If the juvenile is convicted under this provision, he or she is required to perform at least 100 hours of community service, in addition to any other sentence imposed by the court.
Charges against a juvenile alleging the possession of drug possession in New Jersey are quite serious. At Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC, our juvenile defense attorneys possess the knowledge and skill to handle juvenile drug possession cases and all other New Jersey juvenile defense criminal matters. Gary Grabas, Casey Woodruff and Robert C. Rowbotham are all former Prosecutors. Jon M. Bramnick is a New Jersey Super Lawyer with over 30 years trial experience. If your child has been charged with drug possession in New Jersey it is important to immediately seek the assistance of a New Jersey drug possession juvenile defense lawyer.
If your child has been charged with drug possession offenses in New Jersey and would you like to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our juvenile criminal defense lawyers, we are available 24 hours a day at (908) 322-7000.