Possession of Prescription Drugs
Call our criminal defense firm, Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, to speak to a former prosecutor regarding your arrest or charge for possessing a prescription drug like Oxycontin, Roxycontin, or Xanax. Initial consultations are complimentary and we have over 100 years of collective experience defending prescription drug possession cases throughout Ocean County, including the Superior Court in Toms River NJ. If you were arrested in Toms River, Jackson, Berkeley, Lacey, Brick or another town for possession of Suboxone, Oxycodone or another prescription drug, contact our Toms River Office at (732) 286-6500 to speak to a lawyer immediately.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(e)(2), it is illegal for someone to “knowingly possess, actually or constructively” a prescription legend drug unless it was properly prescribed by a doctor, physician or other authorized medical practitioner. For purposes of this law, “constructive possession” exists where the accused is aware of the presence of the prescription legend drug and intends to exercise physical control over it, which in most cases means they intend to take the drug. A prescription legend drug is defined under 2C:35-10.5(e) as “any drug which under federal or State law that requires dispensing by prescription or order of a licensed physician, veterinarian, or dentist…”
Typically, though, the drugs that we are concerned with when we talk about N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5(e) are the drugs that we commonly think of as prescription painkillers or anxiety medication, which have been found to have the highest potential for abuse. Specifically, the drugs that are most often associated with this crime are OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Demerol, Morphine, Xanax, and Diazepam, though there are many other drugs that are made illegal by virtue of their place on the list of prescription legend drugs.
Possession charges, like most other crimes, are based on a grading scale directly related to the quantity of the prescription drug that is found in your possession at the time that you are arrested. A person who is found with four or fewer dosage units of a prescription legend drug, unless of course it has been lawfully prescribed, would be guilty of a disorderly persons charge. This is a misdemeanor offense that would be handled in a municipal court like the one in Jackson, Manchester, Lacey, Brick, Toms River and Berkeley. Although this is not a felony, an individual may be fined up to $1,000 and put in jail for up to six months.
The fines and imprisonment sentences start to become greater when you possess over five dosage units, because the court may determine that you have the intent to distribute. However, assuming that you have five or more dosage units and no intent to distribute, this is a fourth degree felony. Crimes of the fourth degree can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison. While the conviction also necessarily leads to a criminal record, it is possible to file an application for PTI (Pretrial Intervention) and if granted a criminal record may be avoided.
Several affirmative defenses exist for this offense as well. It is an affirmative defense to the charge if you can produce a valid prescription for the drug. It is an affirmative defense to the charge if you are acting within the scope of your employment as a pharmacist, doctor, dentist, etc. There is also a de minimis affirmative defense if three elements are met: (1) the defendant must show that they unlawfully received no more than six dosage units within a 24 hour period, (2) the prescription legend drug must have been lawfully prescribed to the person from whom it was received and (3) the defendant must have possessed the substance solely for personal use.Brick Township NJ Prescription Possession Defense Attorney
The use of all of these defenses requires someone with in depth knowledge about the charges. At Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our lawyers have over 100 years of collective experience defending against possession of prescription drug charges in Ocean County including in Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, Lakewood, Manchester and Stafford. So if you or someone you know has had the misfortune to be charged with this offense, please do not hesitate to contact one of our offices today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney about the particulars of your case. A lawyer on our defense team can be reached 24/7 at (732) 286-6500.
Contact Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, 250 Washington St Toms River, NJ, if you were charged with possession of prescription drugs in Toms River, Berkeley, Jackson, Lacey, Manchester, Brick Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, Lakewood, Manchester, Stafford or another municipality in Ocean County.