Cocaine and crack cocaine possession is the primary drug associated with Federal Drug arrests in the United States (United States office of National Drug Control Policy). According to the drug possession laws of New Jersey, both cocaine and crack cocaine, known as ‘coke’ or ‘rock’ respectively, are
considered scheduled narcotics. The penalties of cocaine possession in New Jersey may vary based on the weight of the drugs involved and the nature of the possession. For example, penalties for simple possession are much different than that of possession with the intent to distribute. Because cocaine
is listed as a scheduled narcotic, an individual charged with possession will be subject to an indictable criminal offense such as felony possession.
Cocaine, whether in its powdered or rock form, is a readily available and highly addictive street drug.
New York and New Jersey law enforcement is often aggressive in charges and arrests dealing with cocaine. Drug Court has been adopted by the state of New Jersey to work toward rehabilitation of non-violent offenders rather than incarceration. Our attorneys will work to get your case heard in Drug Court when possible and appropriate.
Possession of cocaine or crack cocaine can have serious consequences under state law. At the Law Offices of Herbert I. Ellis, P.C., we defend those charged with possession of cocaine and crack cocaine in the New York and New Jersey area. If you have been charged, indicted, or arrested on a cocaine
possession charge, call us for your free consultation today.
Cocaine Possession Law in New Jersey
It is against the law to purposely or knowingly obtain or possess a controlled substance that was obtained without a valid prescription. Penalty for possession of cocaine and crack are based on the weight of the drugs found in possession, the location of the possession, and if the possession was with the intent to distribute or for the individuals personal use.
Simple Cocaine Possession
Simple, or ‘straight’ possession is typically a third degree offense with a maximum penalty of five years
in jail. However, if the accused individual has no prior indictable convictions, incarceration is not usually
sentenced. A Pretrial Intervention, or PTI, is sometimes available to an individual charged with third
degree possession who has no previous record. If the individual has a prior indictable record they are
ineligible for a PTI. In such a case, the penalties are dependent on the prior record, details of the case at
hand, and the arguments made for the suspect and the case may result in incarceration. At Law Offices
of Herbert I. Ellis, P.C., we will work to find the best option for your cocaine possession case for the
minimum penalties possible.
Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute
A charge of possession of cocaine or crack with the intent to distribute has very serious penalties in New Jersey and New York. The New Jersey Drug Distribution Statute states that it is unlawful for a person to possess, manufacture, or distribute a controlled substance or a counterfeit controlled substance.
Penalties for possession with the intent to distribute in New Jersey depend on the weight of the cocaine in the individual’s possession and can often be very severe with long term effects.
-Possession and distribution of less than one half ounce of cocaine or crack (including any dilutants or adulterants) is considered a third degree offense and may be subject to a fine of up to $75,000.
-Possession between one half ounce and five ounces of cocaine or crack with the intent to distribute is a second degree offense with a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in jail.
-Possession of five or more ounces of cocaine or crack in possession for distribution is a first degree crim. The penalty in the state of New Jersey is mandatory incarceration of up to 20 years with parole eligible after one third to one half of the sentenced time has been fulfilled. This
offense may also carry a fine of up to $500,000.
In a situation where a person has been convicted of a first degree offense for distribution of cocaine in the past and is now being convicted of a second or third offense, sentencing can be complicated.
Contacting a knowledgeable attorney will be invaluable in assuring you a fair trial with minimal penalties.
Possession and Distribution in a School Zone
Possession of cocaine in a school zone will have additional penalty in New Jersey. If an individual is convicted of cocaine possession in a school zone, they may be required to perform a minimum of 100 hours of community service in addition to the penalties imposed for the crime, unless the
penalty is a term of incarceration. A school zone is considered on or within 1,000 feet of any property used for school purposed that is leased to or owned by an elementary or secondary school or school board, including school busses. Additionally, it is considered a third degree offense if the individual is convicted of possession with the intent to distribute in a school zone. This offense carries a penalty of imprisonment were the defendant is not eligible for parole for a minimum of three years to one half of the entire sentence, and a fine of up to $150,000. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Herbert I. Ellis, P.C., will exhaust all possible defenses to ensure you the best possible outcome in a cocaine charge involving a school zone.
Distribution In or Near a Public Park or Public Housing Project
Possession, distribution, or possession with the intent to distribute cocaine or crack in or within 500 feet of a public park, public building, or public housing facility is a second degree offense. A public housing facility is any building, dwelling, complex, or structure used for or in connection with the local housing authority to provide housing to those of low income. A public park is any playground, park, or recreation area controlled or owned by local government including the state or the county. Claiming to be unaware of the nearby public area is not a permissible defense.
Any charges involving the possession or possession with the intent to distribute can become very complicated. Without proper legal representation, such complications can result in harsher penalties.
We will work to take advantage of such complications to provide with you the best defense possible for your cocaine charges. For a free legal consultation, contact Law Offices of Herbert I. Ellis, P.C. today.