Arrested for Possessing or Selling GHB?
Gamma hydroxybutyrate acid (GHB) is an extremely potent sedative sometimes referred to as the “date rape” drug. GHB produces euphoric and calming effects in the user. At higher doses it can increase libido, suggestibility and passivity, and lead to amnesia. It also has potentially deadly side effects.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, New Jersey police saw a rise in the use of GHB in dance and night clubs and “rave” parties. The drug’s effects and the fact that GHB dissolves easily in liquids make users vulnerable to sexual assault and led to its clandestine use in “date rape” crimes.
In response to numerous reported assaults facilitated by GHB, the State of New Jersey enacted criminal laws making manufacture, distribution and/or possession of gamma hydroxybutyrate crimes punishable by up to 5 or 10 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000 or $150,000.
If you have been charged with a GHB-related crime, you need the services of an experienced and effective New Jersey criminal defense lawyer. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the expertise you are seeking. Every attorney on our staff has at least 15 years of experience handling drug cases such as GHB offenses. Our attorneys are former New Jersey prosecutors and public defenders who have been on both sides of drug distribution cases throughout the state.
Contact us now at (877) 450-8301 if you have been charged with GHB possession or distribution in New Jersey.
We can start immediately to investigate and build a defense in your case. If there are problems with how you were arrested or how the evidence was handled, we may be able to get charges dismissed. Call or fill out our online form for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey GHB possession and distribution defense lawyers.
What is GHB and What Does this Drug Do?
Gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is known generically as sodium oxybate, a powerful central nervous system depressant used to treat narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a condition that causes severe daytime sleepiness. “Xyrem” is the trade name of the only sodium oxybate-based prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating narcolepsy.
When users take Xyrem at bedtime, it increases deep sleep and the amount of time spent asleep at night, which reduces the number of sleep episodes during the day.
GHB or sodium oxybate is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse. It is strictly controlled in the United States. Only patients who take part in a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy program may receive treatment with Xyrem. Abuse and even approved use can result in seizures, severe difficulty breathing, confusion, depression, loss of consciousness, and even death. It is illegal to prescribe Xyrem for uses other than treating narcolepsy.
Xyrem is a Schedule III controlled substance, which means it has a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.
Illegal Use of GHB, the ‘Date Rape’ Drug
Some people obtain and use GHB recreationally for its effects, which include euphoria, enhanced appreciation for music and dancing, increased sociability and increased libido. The popularity of underground parties and all-night clubs contributed to the widespread illegal use of GHB.
Street names for GHB include “G,” Gamma-OH, Fantasy, Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Liquid Ecstasy, Scoop, Water, and Everclear.
However, GHB can also produce serious side effects, including abrupt, intense drowsiness, decreased body temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, slow respiration, temporary amnesia, sleep-walking, interference with mobility and verbal coherence, seizures, decreased heart rate, coma, and death.
GHB takes effect within approximately 20-30 minutes after ingesting it and peaks within two hours. Many of GHB’s side effects can last for up to eight hours.
Users who are not aware of proper dosages of the drug may unintentionally use it at lethal levels and cause an overdose.
Because GHB is colorless and odorless and dissolves quickly, it can be added to drinks without detection. This has led to some people secretly dosing other individuals.
Recipients become intoxicated and unable to reject sexual advances. GHB became known as the “date rape drug.”
Penalties for Possession and Distribution of GHB in New Jersey
Unless obtained via a prescription from a licensed physician, GHB is illegal to possess in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.2). Obtaining or possessing GHB is a third-degree crime punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.
It is a second-degree crime in New Jersey to manufacture, distribute or dispense, or to possess with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense gamma-hydroxybutyrate (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.2). A second-degree crime is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
If you have been charged with a GHB-related offense in New Jersey, you need to contact an experienced date rape criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
What the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall Can Offer You
As one of New Jersey’s largest criminal defense firms, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has locations across New Jersey. The qualifications that our legal team possesses to ensure a strong criminal defense include:
- Over 200 years of combined experience defending individuals throughout NJ arrested for possession, distribution, and intent to distribute controlled substances like GHB
- Certified criminal trial attorneys
- 12 attorneys who specialize exclusively in defense representation and advocacy
- Trial experience as former county prosecutors and public defenders.
Common Defenses in GHB Possession & Distribution Cases
There are several legal strategies that your defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall may pursue to win a GHB case. The most common approach for dismissal is to challenge the search and seizure that preceded your arrest. We would challenge a motor vehicle stop that was unsupported by a traffic violation. It is also possible that we could contest the officer’s entry into your vehicle and subsequent search of it.
If a search of your apartment or house led to your arrest, the police must have had a warrant for it to be legal in most cases. A warrantless search of your residence is only allowed under very narrow circumstances. If the prosecutor cannot justify the grounds for a warrantless search, the evidence gathered in the search may be thrown out.
We will determine whether your Miranda rights against self-incrimination were violated. Too often, law enforcement officers forget or disregard the requirement to give individuals notice of their right to remain silent. An admission elicited without a proper warning of the consequences of speaking to police cannot be used in a GHB case nor can any evidence resulting from information you may have unknowingly provided.
There are many other potential problems with a GHB possession and/or distribution arrest and prosecution that can lead to charges being dismissed, from improper identification of the alleged suspects to mishandling of evidence. Our defense attorneys will examine every opportunity to contest police actions that led to your arrest on GHB possession or GHB distribution charges.
If we cannot have charges against you dismissed, we can explore having your charges downgraded and obtaining a conditional discharge, a type of probation. To be eligible for conditional discharge, the defendant must not have a prior drug crime conviction and must not have previously entered a diversion program. After completing 1 to 3 years of conditional discharge probation, the criminal charge against the defendant is conditionally dismissed without having made a plea.
New Jersey offers first-time, nonviolent offenders the opportunity to deal with substance abuse issues through three diversion programs:
- Drug Court
- Pre-Trial Diversion
- Veteran’s Diversion Program.
The diversion programs are meant to give offenders a chance to get help turning their lives around. Our attorneys can explain these programs in depth and counsel you as to whether any of the diversion programs is a potential solution in your situation.
Our objective is to identify the outcome for you as we and prosecutors deal with GHB-related charges filed against you. Because of our long-term experience in New Jersey courts and courthouse conference rooms, we have the relationships necessary to ensure that all options available to you are fully considered.
Contact Our New Jersey GHB Defense Attorneys
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are accomplished criminal law attorneys with experience serving as prosecutors and defense attorneys across New Jersey. If you were charged with possession of GHB or arrested for distribution of GHB, our defense attorneys are here to put our knowledge, skills and experience to work for you. Remember, an arrest does not automatically lead to a guilty verdict. We will fight for you.
From our home office in Red Bank, N.J., our criminal defense attorneys defend clients throughout New Jersey. Our criminal defense team is ready to assist you with your case in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Ocean County, Hudson County, Essex County, Mercer County or elsewhere in New Jersey.
To schedule a free legal consultation, call (877) 450-8301 anytime, 24/7, or contact us online.