The state of New Jersey has been dealing with serious issues with drug addiction in recent years. Heroin, opiate and opioid use is rising. Methamphetamine also remains a common drug of abuse. The majority of people who use meth do so because of an addiction to the substance. These individuals would likely benefit more from attempts at rehabilitation rather than incarceration.
Unfortunately, New Jersey, like most states, treats addiction like a criminal problem. This is why, those arrested for possession of meth, need an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An attorney can review the details of your situation, including any applicable criminal record, to see what options are available. In some cases, law enforcement fail to follow protocols, which can result in evidence or even an arrest getting dismissed by the courts. In other cases, there may be extenuating circumstances that your attorney can present to the courts on your behalf. Whatever the details of your situation, your best hope for a positive outcome results from working with an attorney who understands New Jersey drug laws and enforcement.
First time arrest can still lead to prison time
Even if you don't have a previous criminal record, possession of methamphetamine charges can change your life. It's a third degree criminal offense to get caught in possession of methamphetamine in any amount. Those who plead guilty or get convicted in court could face between three and five years in prison, as well as a fine of $35,000. If you got stopped or arrested within 1,000 feet of a school, you'll also likely face 100 days of community service. If law enforcement suspect you are under the influence in public, that could result in another six months in jail and fines.
Possession of paraphernalia for the consumption of methamphetamine could also carry a separate charge. All of these together could result in a long jail sentence. When you get out, that drug conviction will keep you from getting many jobs, the best housing options and even federal student aid if you want to go back to school. Given the popularity and availability of methamphetamine in New Jersey, law enforcement and the courts take whatever steps necessary to deter future offenders. That often means handing down the maximum sentence and penalty, even to first time offenders without other charges.