Camden County Prescription Drug Lawyers
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 makes it a crime of varying degree and severity to illegally possess or distribute a prescription legend drug. For purposes of this law, “prescription legend drug” means any substance that requires a prescription in order to be dispensed. When someone possesses or distributes Xanax, Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Suboxone or another prescription drug without a valid prescription, they violate N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5. This exposes them to a criminal record and other serious penalties. If you are facing a charge for possession or selling a prescription legend drug, our attorneys are equipped to effectively represent you. Our Cherry Hill NJ Law Office includes former county and municipal prosecutors with over 100 years of experience combined. Whether your charge is at the Camden County Superior Court or in a municipal like the one in Pennsauken, Haddonfield, Lindenwold, or Voorhees, we are prepared to put our knowledge and skills to work in order to reach the very best outcome of your prescription drug case. Call our Cherry Hill Criminal Firm at 856-662-8300 for an immediate free consultation.
Possession of a Prescription Legal Drug
Although N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 applies to possession of just about any prescription drug, there are certainly some medications that come up more than others. Opiate based pain medication and nervous system depressants would definitely fall within this category with Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Valium, Xanax and Nembutal being the biggest players. Knowingly possessing four or fewer dosage units without a prescription is a disorderly persons offense. Using or being under the influence of an illegal possessed prescription legend drug is also a disorderly persons offense. It is a fourth degree crime to possess five or more pills or dosage units. A disorderly persons offense for violating N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 results in up to 6 months in the Camden County Jail, a $1,000 fine, and/or probation. Fourth degree possession of prescription drugs carries a 18 month prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000. A conviction under 2C:35-10.5 also subjects an individual to a 6 month driver’s license suspension.
Selling, Distributing or Possessing Prescription Drugs With The Intent to Distribute
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 makes it a second degree crime to distribute or possess with intent to distribute 100 or more pills/dosage units of a prescription legend drug. The grading is reduced to a second degree crime for distribution of at least five but less than 100 units of a prescription drug. If someone sells four or less dosage units of a prescription drug, the violation is a fourth degree crime. It is also a fourth degree crime to obtain or attempt to obtain possession of a prescription legend drug through forgery or deception. The following penalties apply to these charges:
- Second Degree Crime. Second degree distribution of prescription drugs results in incarceration for a period of 5-10 years and a fine as high as $300,000.
- Third Degree Crime. Possession with intent to distribute prescription drugs in the third degree carries a maximum fine of $200,000 and 3-5 years in state prison.
- Fourth Degree Crime. There is a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail for selling prescription drugs in the fourth degree.
In addition to the fine and jail time, there is a 6 month driver’s license suspension that applies under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5.
Defenses To A Prescription Drug Offense
There are a number of affirmative defenses to possession and distribution charges under 2C:35-10.5. The first defense absolves individuals who are licensed to issue prescriptions. If they are acting within the scope of their authority, this will serve as an affirmative defense to this charge. The second affirmative defense is that the accused possessed the drug in accordance with a valid prescription. The third and final affirmative defense is termed a “de minimis infraction.” This defense is only available in cases of third degree distribution and applies if the accused can establish the following: (1) his/her conduct involved no more than six dosage units distributed within a 24 hour period; (2) the prescription legend drug was lawfully prescribed to the accused; and (3) the units were distributed strictly for the recipient’s persons use.
Cherry Hill NJ Prescription Legend Drug Attorney
Whether your offense is a second degree, third degree, or fourth degree crime, you face the possibility of significant jail time and heavy fines. You cannot afford to face a charge as serious as this at the Superior Court in Camden NJ without an attorney. Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have exceptional qualifications in criminal defense. Our firm has over a century of experience between the criminal lawyers on our staff and this includes not only defense of the accused but also learning the process from the other side as county prosecutors. We have the knowledge and experience needed to deal with any obstacles that may be presented by the police in Gloucester City, Gloucester Township, Magnolia, or Somerdale, as well as how to effectively deal with the court and prosecutors so that the best result can be reached in your case. Please do not hesitate to contact our Cherry Hill criminal lawyers at 856-662-8300 for the guidance you need.