Accomplished Former Prosecutors That Defend Clients Charged With Possession, Distribution and Possession With Intent to Distribute Fentanyl Throughout NJ
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that has burst on the scene in New Jersey and nationwide. Its potency is renown (e.g. 80-100 time that of morphine) which makes it an attractive alternative to other opiates. The drug is often used to lace heroin and this practice has resulted in a noticeable uptick in overdoses. These characteristics make possessing fentanyl an extremely risky activity from the perspective of law enforcement. Distribution or possession with intent to distribute fentanyl is even more hazardous. If you have been charged with a fentanyl offense, do not make the mistake of underestimating stakes you are facing. Prosecutors are going to aggressively pursue not only a conviction but imprisonment. You need to invest proportionate effort by hiring a highly skilled defense attorney. This is exactly what our criminal firm can offer you.
We are the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, a powerhouse defense firm with qualifications that are extremely unique. We can offer you:
- Over 200 years of combined experience representing individuals arrested for possession, as well as distribution, of a wide range of controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”)
- 11 lawyers who specialize exclusively in criminal defense
- Former county prosecutors who have served in high level positions like Director of the Drug Task Force, Major Crimes Bureau, Juvenile, Special Operations (i.e. Economic Crimes) and even an entire Trial Division
- Certified criminal trial attorneys
- 12 offices conveniently located throughout the state including in Freehold, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Toms River, Elizabeth, Trenton, Camden, Newark, Mays Landing, Mount Holly, Woodbury and Somerville.
Whether you are facing a possession charge or something more complex like distribution in a school zone, our lawyers have the skill to ensure you reach the very best outcome in your case. An attorney would be happy to put their expertise to work for you. Attorneys knowledgeable in fentanyl related charges are available immediately for a free initial consultation. A lawyer would be happy to speak to you now at 1-877-450-8301.
Fentanyl: What You Need To Know?
Fentanyl is a pharmaceutical pain reliever that is intended to mimic the effect of medications whose active ingredient is opium. Although the drug is typically delivered through transdermal patch or lozenges, street use is in the form of powder or pill. The drawback to users is that the “high” is short lived so the drug is susceptible to overdosing when used improperly. The cds is known on the streets as Apache, China Girl, China Town, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-man, Jackpot, King Ivory, Murder 8, TNT, Tango & Cash.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported 47,600 deaths from opioid overdose in 2017. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention indicates that 28,000 of these deaths was from synthetic opioids like Tramadol and Fentanyl. These statistics have increased over recent years with New Jersey breaking its annual record for overdose deaths for the 4th straight year in 2018. This fact has obviously drawn the attention of county prosecutors whenever someone is arrested on Fentanyl charges.
New Jersey Fentanyl Charges
There are two classes of criminal offense that someone can face when Fentanyl is involved: (I) possession; or (II) distribution/intent to distribute. The headings that follow outline the legal consequences to each variety of Fentanyl offense.
I. Possession of Fentanyl in New Jersey
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1) makes it a third degree crime to possess a Schedule II CDS such as Fentanyl. A conviction for violating this law results in a prison term of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $35,000. A separate statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5, is directed at prescription legend drugs and makes it a fourth degree crime to possess five (5) or move dosage units of Fentanyl and disorderly persons offense to possess less. The period of incarceration is up to 18 months and up to 6 months for each of these grades of prescription drug possession, respectively. An individual can often be charged under either or both of these laws after being arrested for possession of Fentanyl.
II. Distribution & Possession With Intent to Distribute Fentanyl
There are also two basic statutes that come into play when someone is charged with distribution or possession with intent to distribute Fentanyl. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 is the standard drug distribution statute in New Jersey and grades Fentanyl charges in terms of severity based on the quantity involved. Distributing or selling 5 ounces or more of Fentanyl is a first degree crime that carries 10-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. It is a second degree crime to engage in distribution or possession with intent to distribute at least one-half ounce but less than 5 ounces of Fentanyl. The fine is up to $150,000 and the period of incarceration is 5-10 years for second degree distribution of Fentanyl. Selling, distributing or possession with intent to distribute less than one-half ounce of Fentanyl is a third degree crime that triggers up to 5 years in prison and a fine that can reach $75,000.
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 also has the potential to come into play when someone is discharged or indicted for distributing Fentanyl. It is a fourth degree crime to distribute four or fewer dosage units of Fentanyl, a third degree crime to at least five but less than one hundred and a second degree crime to sell or possess with intent to distribute 100 or more doses. The period of incarceration is the same as previously described for each of these grades but the maximum fine is $200,000 for a third degree crime and $300,000 for a third degree crime under 2C:35-10.5.
Enhanced Consequences Where Conduct Occurs In A School Zone. A defendant faces additional penalties when they possess or distribute Fentanyl within 1,000 feet of school property (i.e. school zone) or within 500 feet of a public park. Personal possession in a school zone triggers a minimum of 100 hours of community service. When possession is with intent to distribute or involves distribution/selling in a school zone, this conduct results in an entirely separate and additional criminal charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. For information on this particular offense refer to our page on NJ School Zone Distribution Charges.
Diversion Programs For Someone Charged With A Fentanyl Offense. A first time offender charged with a crime of the third degree or fourth degree is eligible for Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”). There must be prosecutor consent for admission into the program when the charge involves a second degree crime. PTI requires completion of one (1) year of probation and, upon successful completion, the Fentanyl offense is dismissed without imposition of penalties or a criminal record. An individual can also utilize Drug Court as a diversionary program to avoid incarceration and other consequences of a drug charge of this nature.
Fentanyl Offense Defense Lawyers in New Jersey
If you have been charged with a fentanyl related offense, it is important to retain an experienced attorney to thoroughly protect your interests. A lawyer who is accomplished in defending charges for possession and more serious allegations for distributing drugs can guide you through the legal process in a manner that ensures you reach the very best outcome in your case. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can provide you with a free initial consultation to discuss how we can help you in this role. Contact us at 1-877-450-8301 to speak with New Jersey criminal lawyer who is knowledgeable in charges involving fentanyl.