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William A ProettaReviewsout of 30 reviews Keith G OliverReviewsout of 55 reviews

Are Drug Charges Considered a Felony or a Misdemeanor in NJ?

Need a Lawyer for felony Drug Charge in Somerset County

Have you Been Arrested for a Drug Offense in Somerset County?

As one would imagine, not all drug related offenses are treated the same in New Jersey. First and foremost, it is important to discuss that in New Jersey, a felony offense is considered an “indictable offense” and a misdemeanor is considered a “disorderly persons offense“.   Typically, the type of drug in question will dictate not only the level of the offense (i.e. indictable vs. disorderly persons offense) but it will also dictate the degree of the indictable offense (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th). Furthermore, it will also dictate what court has original jurisdiction to hear the charges as well. For example, all drug offenses that are considered disorderly persons offense will be litigated in the local municipal court in the municipality where the incident happened. Conversely, all indictable drug offenses will be transferred from the local municipality to the county courthouse.

Charged with a Disorderly Persons Drug Offense in Somerville, New Jersey?

By far the most common drug related charge classified as a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey is possession of marijuana under 50 grams. This offense is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10A(4). Some of the other common disorderly persons offense drug related charges include: possession of drug paraphernalia (N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2); failure to turn over a CDS (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(c)); possession of THC Oil ( N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10A(4)); loitering for the purpose of obtaining a CDS (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1) and possession of certain prescription drug (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-24). A conviction for every disorderly persons offense drug related charge except loitering for the purpose of obtaining CDS subjects an individual to the following penalties:

  • 6 Months in the County Jail
  • A $1,000 Fine
  • Drug Enforcement & Demand Reduction of $500
  • Forensic Laboratory Fee of $50
  • Probation
  • Victims of Crimes Compensation Fund fee of $50
  • Safe Neighborhood Services Fund fee of $75
  • 6 Month Loss of License
  • Law Enforcement Training & Equipment Fee of $30
  • Court Ordered Rehab

Depending on the individuals prior criminal history, they maybe able to take advantage of the Conditional Discharge Program. For more information on this program, including eligibility, please click the link.

Facing a 3rd Degree Drug Possession Charge in Somerset County?

Almost every other drug possession charge besides marijuana is considered a third degree indictable offense in New Jersey. Therefore, regardless of whether the individual is caught possessing Heroin, Cocaine, MDMA, Oxycontin, Xanax, Ecstasy, Crack Cocaine, Crystal Meth or Percocet they will be charged with a third degree felony. As touched upon earlier, anyone charged with a third degree drug related possession offense in New Jersey will have their charges transferred from the local municipality to the county courthouse. So, for example, if an individual is arrested for the possession of heroin in Bridgewater, they would have their charges transferred from the Bridgewater Municipal Court to the Somerset County Superior Courthouse, which is located in Somerville. For the most part, all third degree drug related offenses will be governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10A(1). Anyone convicted of a third degree drug possession charge in New Jersey will be facing the following penalties:

  • 3 – 5 Years in a State Prison
  • A $35,000 Fine
  • Drug Enforcement & Demand Reduction of $1,000
  • Forensic Laboratory Fee of $50
  • Probation up to 5 Years
  • Victims of Crimes Compensation Fund fee of $50
  • Safe Neighborhood Services Fund fee of $75
  • 6 Month Loss of License
  • Law Enforcement Officers & Equipment Fee of $30
  • Court Ordered Rehab

Similar to anyone charged with a disorderly persons offense, anyone charged with an indictable drug possession charge in New Jersey might be able to take advantage of either the Pretrial Intervention Program or Drug Court. For more information on these programs, please click the link.

Charged with Distributing or Possessing With Intent to Distribute Drugs in Somerset County?

Unlike drug possession charges, all drug offenses that involve the manufacturing, distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute will be considered indictable offenses. The degree of the drug distribution charge will be dictated by the type of drug, the quantity of the drug as well as the location of the incident (school zone / park zone). The potential degree for a drug distribution charge can range anywhere from a fourth degree marijuana distribution charge to a first degree drug distribution charge. The potential penalties between the degrees can be life changing. They can range from up to eighteen months to twenty years in a State Prison. For more information on drug distribution charges in Somerset County, please click the link.

Facing a Felony Drug Charge in Hunterdon County

As you can see from reading above, drug possession and drug distribution charges can become very complex. If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of marijuana, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of cocaine or any other drug related offense, including possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle in Somerset or Hunterdon County we strongly urge that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation today with one of the criminal defense attorneys at Proetta, Oliver & Fay, then please contact our office at 908-533-1064. We serve all of Somerset and Hunterdon County, including Readington, Somerville, Manville, Union Township, North Plainfield, Bernards, Clinton, Raritan, Hillsborough and Franklin.

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