If you have been accused of drug crimes in Monmouth County, don’t assume the prosecution has a slam-dunk case. An experienced Monmouth County drug crime lawyer can seize every opportunity to fight the charges against you. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our legal team has a long track record of successfully arguing for drug charges to be reduced or dropped altogether. In cases where a plea deal is the best option, we negotiate for minimum penalties for our clients. And if a case goes to trial, we fight fiercely for our clients’ innocence.
Contact us today to discuss the details of your situation with a trusted Monmouth County drug crime lawyer. We will review your case for free and lay out all the possible defenses available to you.
Our Monmouth County Drug Crime Attorneys Put Your Defense First
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our skilled Monmouth County drug crime defense lawyers can support you during this difficult time by:
- Helping you understand the charges – We will explain every aspect of the charges you are facing and their potential consequences. We educate you on what to expect every step of the way, so you can make smart decisions about your defense.
- Arguing to have your charges reduced or dismissed – Our attorneys can evaluate each detail of the charges against you, looking for inconsistencies we can use to have those charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
- Establishing a strong defense case – We are prepared to conduct a thorough investigation, identify compelling evidence in your favor, and consult with witnesses to develop a solid defense on your behalf.
- Recommending diversion programs – If you are a nonviolent first-time offender, you may be eligible to participate in a supervised diversion program as an alternative to criminal prosecution.
- Fighting for the best possible outcome – Whether we are fighting for a case dismissal, acquittal, or minimum sentencing, we always aim to achieve the best outcome for your specific situation.
Are you ready to discuss how we can help you? Contact us today for a free and confidential case review.
Common Types of Drug Crime Cases We Handle in Monmouth County
The trusted drug crime defense attorneys of Keith Oliver Criminal Law frequently handle cases that involve:
- Drug possession – Knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance without a prescription or other legal authorization is a crime in New Jersey. It is illegal to have a controlled substance on one’s person or to have “constructive” possession of the substance, which means having access to it even though the substance is actually elsewhere.
- Drug distribution – It is illegal to knowingly possess or have access to controlled substances with the intention of selling or distributing them. Since proving intent is tricky, prosecutors often assume that possessing large quantities of a substance, money, or drug packaging items is sufficient evidence of the intent to distribute.
- Drug use or being under the influence – It is illegal to be under the influence of a controlled substance with no legal prescription or other authorization.
- Drug paraphernalia – New Jersey forbids anyone from being in possession of any materials designed to manufacture or administer a controlled substance. Common types of drug paraphernalia include pipes, bongs, syringes, certain chemicals, and manufacturing equipment.
- Drug trafficking – When it comes to drug trafficking charges, prosecutors do not have to prove that a defendant had any intention of selling the controlled substances in their possession. Instead, a drug trafficking offense is based on the total weight of the controlled substances found in the defendant’s possession.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Crime Convictions?
Depending on the circumstances, drug crimes in New Jersey may be prosecuted as disorderly persons offenses — which are roughly equivalent to misdemeanors in other states — or as felony-equivalent indictable crimes. The potential penalties for these offenses can vary widely based on the type and quantity of the substance in question:
- Marijuana – Adults in New Jersey who are 21 or older are permitted to have up to six ounces of cannabis at any given time. However, adults 21 or older who are in possession of more than six ounces of cannabis can face up to 18 months in jail and a fine of $25,000. Possession of cannabis by individuals under the age of 21 will not result in criminal charges but instead with a written warning, potential referral to community services, and loss of driving privileges.
- Other drugs in Schedules I-IV – Unlawfully possessing any other Schedule I, II, III, or IV controlled substances aside from marijuana is considered a third-degree crime. Penalties for third-degree crimes include up to $35,000 in fines and three to five years of jail time.
- Schedule V drugs – Unlawfully possessing a Schedule V controlled substance is considered a fourth-degree offense and carries a fine of up to $15,000.
- Drug paraphernalia – Possession of any item made for the growth, manufacture, or consumption of drugs is a disorderly persons offense.
Keep in mind that the consequences of a drug crime conviction can go far beyond fines and jail time. If you are convicted, the Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend your driver’s license, the police could seize your vehicle, and potential employers may think twice about hiring you. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable drug crime defense attorney in Monmouth County the moment you learn you are facing charges.
How Serious Is a First-Time Drug Offense in New Jersey?
If this is your first time facing drug-related charges in New Jersey, you may be wondering whether you can avoid the many consequences that come with a criminal record. Fortunately, New Jersey has several diversionary programs that could offer you a second chance, including:
- The Pretrial Intervention Program
- The Drug Court Program
- The Conditional Discharge Program
The Pretrial Intervention Program and the Drug Court Program are both diversionary alternatives for indictable drug crimes. The Conditional Discharge Program is for disorderly persons offenses. If we successfully get you admitted to any of these programs, you may be able to avoid jail time and keep your record clean.
What Are the Schedules of Controlled Substances Under New Jersey Drug Laws?
Under New Jersey law, drugs are categorized into the following “schedules” depending on risk factors such as their effects on the body and their potential for abuse:
- Schedule I – Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical uses and a high potential for abuse. Common Schedule I drugs include certain opiates, heroin, MDMA, LSD, and psilocybin.
- Schedule II – Schedule II drugs have some accepted medical uses but also a high potential for abuse. Common Schedule II drugs include opium, certain opiate derivatives, methadone, cocaine, and fentanyl.
- Schedule III – Schedule III drugs have some accepted medical uses and a lower potential for abuse than Schedule II drugs. Common Schedule III drugs include methamphetamine, other amphetamines, amphetamine salts, barbiturates, PCP, ketamine, and medications with moderate amounts of codeine or morphine.
- Schedule IV – Schedule IV drugs have accepted medical uses and a relatively low potential for abuse. Common Schedule IV drugs include barbital, phenobarbital, and certain central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
- Schedule V – Schedule V drugs have accepted medical uses and the lowest potential for abuse among the various controlled substances. Common Schedule V drugs include medications with low amounts of substances such as opium, opium salts, and codeine.
There Are Many Defenses to Drug Charges
Every drug crime case is unique, with different evidence and different circumstances. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we tailor our defense strategies to uncover all the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. To that end, we may argue that:
- The prosecution is relying on evidence that law enforcement obtained as the result of an illegal search or seizure.
- The prosecution is relying on drug testing results from faulty lab equipment or flawed test procedures.
- There is no proof that our client had possession, knowledge, or control of the illicit substances in question.
- There is no proof that the substances in question are scheduled drugs.
- Law enforcement illegally searched our client’s home, vehicle, or person without acceptable probable cause.
- Law enforcement used suspicious or unreliable methods, such as a misleading lineup of suspects, to identify our client.
- Law enforcement based their decision to arrest or detain our client entirely on a protected characteristic, such as race or religion.
- Law enforcement neglected to advise our client of their Miranda rights.
Where Do You Post Bail on a Drug Charge in Monmouth County?
The bail system in New Jersey has changed from the standard cash bail process many people used to know. Under the current system, it is no longer possible to secure your release from jail by having someone you know come to the police station and post bail on your behalf.
Instead, the new system is based on risk assessments conducted by pretrial services. If you are charged under a Complaint-Warrant, you must report to a Monmouth County Jail for 24 to 48 hours while your risk assessment is completed. After the risk assessment, the prosecutor’s office will schedule a Central Judicial Processing (CJP) hearing.
During the CJP hearing, the prosecution will either recommend you for release on bail or attempt to have you detained without bail until your trial. If the prosecution wants to have you detained, they will be responsible for proving that you would be a potential danger to the community or flight risk if you are released.
Our Monmouth County Drug Crime Lawyers Stand Ready to Fight for You
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our legal team is committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of people in your position. Contact us today to discuss your case with an experienced Monmouth County drug crime attorney during a free initial consultation.