Arrested for Drug Possession – What to Expect
Being arrested for drug possession is serious. The degree of severity depends on what type of drug, the amount of drugs and where arrest took place. In most cases there will be fines as well as incarceration.
There are mandatory minimum penalties in New Jersey for drug possession. This means the judge must deliver a sentence fixed by statute, regardless of any mitigating factors. Also you can’t be sentenced to less than the minimum the law requires.
Those subject to minimum sentences are ineligible for parole during the imposed sentence.
An Overview of New Jersey Penalties
Possession of 50 grams or less of certain drugs will result in 6 months in prison and $1000.00 fine.
Possession of more than 50 grams can result in up to 18 months in prison and up to $15,000.00 in fines.
Possession of narcotics or controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy, GBH, etc. will have more severe penalties. Arrest for these can result in 3 to 5 years in prison and up to a $25,000.00 fine.
Possession of large quantities of drugs or the intent to distribute will result in even stiffer penalties.
Possession of drugs within 1,000 feet of school property or a school bus, expect the fine to rise to $150,000.
In addition, there may be the loss of driver’s license, community service, mandatory drug education and rehabilitation.
After your Arrest for Drug Possession
Once you have been arrested and you have been read your Miranda rights, it is best to “remain silent” until your attorney is present. Respond to any and all questions from police that you will not supply any answers or information without the presence of your attorney.
Do not say anything about your arrest or your case to anyone else in jail with you while waiting for your attorney. The police can use anything you say against you in a court of law and often use jailhouse gossip to get information.
After you are arrested, you will be permitted one phone call. Use this to either contact your attorney directly or reach out to a trusted friend or family member who can do this for you.
In most cases, you will lack the legal knowledge or experience to know what is safe to say and what could be used against you. Refrain from answering any questions or giving any information until your attorney arrives.
Should you be unable to afford an attorney, you have a constitutional right to be appointed a public defender. This is will not happen until you appear in court, usually for an arraignment or bail hearing. It could be hours or days before your court appearance. Regardless how long this takes, continue to refuse questioning.
Once Your Attorney is Present
Your attorney will ask about your arrest and recommend a course of action when he or she arrives. Now is the time to speak up. Be completely honest and forthcoming. Discussions between you and your attorney are private. They are not allowed to share what you say with anyone.
In the case of a public defender, there typically isn’t much time between when you meet and appear before the judge. Be honest and as detailed as possible about the circumstances surrounding your arrest and your interactions with the police.
An arrest for drug possession or any other drug related crime carries very serious consequences. It is definitely not the time to go with a “DIY” defense. Whether it be a public or privately hired defender, be sure to obtain legal counsel.
Thomas V. Campo has been studying the law since 1990. With over 20 years of experience in criminal law, he has worked in a multitude of municipal courts and has in depth knowledge on a wide array of criminal and traffic offenses including driving while intoxicated, drug distribution and possession, and aggravated assault.
Knowledgeable, experienced and ready to help with your arrest for drug possession, look no further than Mr. Campo. Schedule a free consultation now.