Fentanyl Defense Lawyers in Burlington County, New Jersey
Fentanyl, created in 1959, is a prescription drug known as Aqtic or Sublimaze, but users also obtain it illegally. Illegal fentanyl possession is a serious crime in New Jersey. However, the charges and sentence depend on how much Fentanyl you had, where, and your criminal history. The amount of Fentanyl and surrounding circumstances determine whether your charges are simple possession or possession with the intent to sell or distribute the drug. Thus, the number of pills may suggest the drugs are for personal use or sale. Additional evidence that the drugs are for sale includes packaging, scales, and other paraphernalia used to sell drugs. These may play a role in the prosecutor’s case if you are charged with distributing, dispensing, or manufacturing fentanyl, for which the penalties are even more severe than mere possession.
Our accomplished criminal defense attorneys at Proetta, Oliver, & Fay defend clients charged with the a wide range of fentanyl offenses in New Jersey, from simple possession of the drug in a small amount, to trafficking and intent to distribute near schools and government facilities. If you are facing fentanyl charges in Burlington County, New Jersey, such as Mount Holly, Pemberton, Evesham, Mount Laurel, Medford, Lumberton, Cinnaminson, or elsewhere in the South Jersey area, contact us today to discuss your case. We offer free consultations and can assist you with solid guidance and defense counsel. Call (609)-850-8284 to speak with a criminal defense lawyer on our team.
What is Fentanyl Used for Legally?
When manufactured by pharmaceutical companies for physician prescriptions, Fentanyl is a shot, patch, or lozenge. After surgery, a patient often needs pain medication. And for lengthy surgeries or intense chronic pain, potent opioids, like Fentanyl, might be the physician’s choice for pain relief. Fentanyl is a highly concentrated pharmaceutical, far more powerful than morphine, that doctors prescribe for patients with extreme pain or tolerance for opioids. Someone who has used opioids for chronic pain may need more potent pain relief to feel the pain-relieving effects of palliative medications. Fentanyl’s potency can help those with severe pain.
How is Fentanyl Illegally Used?
When produced in labs for illegal production, Fentanyl appears as powder, dried liquid on paper, pills, or eye drops and nasal sprays. Users commonly crush pills to snort the drug. While the drug’s powerful effects can cause users to overdose and suffer respiratory failure, the real danger arises when drug dealers mix Fentanyl with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs to boost user highs at a lower cost. When consumers are unaware of the Fentanyl supplement in their drugs, they can overdose, as they unwittingly take in more of the drug than their bodies can handle. Thus, before they can get to a hospital or access an antidote, they overdose, fall into a coma, suffer brain damage, or die of respiratory failure.
How can Fentanyl Cause Addiction?
Since the drug affects the brain areas controlling pain and emotions, those who use it experience extremely pleasurable feelings they cannot get anywhere else, so they become addicted. The drug produces dependency and, at its worst, addiction and overdose. Withdrawing from Fentanyl use can be painful, with severe side effects, and often occurs under treatment with pharmaceuticals from a doctor.
How is Fentanyl Categorized on the Schedule of Drugs?
Due to its addictive properties, the federal government schedules Fentanyl as a Schedule II drug. The Drug Enforcement and Department of Health and Human Services Schedules have five categories of drugs on a scale of decreasing dependency, abuse, and medicinal benefits. While Schedule I drugs are addictive and have no proven medicinal benefits, Schedule II drugs are addictive, despite having known therapeutic benefits. As such, heroin is a Schedule I drug, and Fentanyl is a Schedule II. New Jersey’s Controlled Dangerous Substances Act likewise schedules Fentanyl as a Schedule II drug with methadone and other opioids. New Jersey’s Controlled Dangerous Substances Act is like the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
What is the Law Regarding Possession of Fentanyl in New Jersey?
Fentanyl possession results in third degree criminal charges, according to New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5. So, when law enforcement finds Fentanyl on your person or in your car or home, you face a third degree criminal charge with a three to five year prison sentence and a possible $35,000.00 fine.
What is the Charge for Fentanyl Distribution in New Jersey?
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 governs the sale, manufacture, and distribution of controlled dangerous substances. For a Schedule II drug like Fentanyl, getting caught with over five ounces is a first degree crime. A conviction leads to 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00. The No Early Release Act (NERA) also imposes the additional sentencing factor of parole ineligibility until an inmate services one-third to one-half of their prison sentence.
Possessing with intent to distribute, dispensing, or selling between one-half to five ounces or 100 or more dose units is a second degree crime. A second degree prison sentence is five to ten years with a presumption the convicted defendant goes to prison. A conviction is subject to NERA mandatory minimums and a $300,000.00 fine. Third degree possession intending to distribute or distribution of less than a half ounce or 5 to 99 dose units of Fentanyl is a third degree crime, carrying a fine as high as $200,000.00 and three to five years of imprisonment. Fourth degree Fentanyl distribution convictions result in a maximum of 18 months incarceration for less than five dose units.
What are the Penalties for Possessing Fentanyl with Intent to Distribute Near a School in NJ?
A defendant may be subject to additional penalties for sale or possession in specific locations. For example, possessing Fentanyl near a school zone results in a minimum of 100 hours of community service. Selling near a school or possessing the drug with intent to distribute in a school zone is a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, which is a third degree crime with a fine of up to $150,000.00, a prison term of 3 to 5 years, a presumption of incarceration, and a minimum mandatory sentence. This is in addition to fentanyl distribution charges, which are graded based on the amount of the substance involved.
What is the Punishment for Distributing Fentanyl in a NJ Park?
What Happens if Someone Dies Using Fentanyl that You Sold in New Jersey?
When a drug sale results in an overdose death, the crime rises to a first degree offense of distribution resulting in death under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9. The crime occurs when an accused sells or distributes drugs, someone dies after taking the drugs, which are Schedule I or II drugs, and no other intervening cause occurred that would relieve the defendant of liability. Furthermore, it is no defense that the victim took too much or caused their own death by taking the drugs.
How to Defend a Fentanyl Case in New Jersey
For those facing Fentanyl charges, a talented New Jersey drug defense attorney is a must. Defendants have constitutional rights, and the state must have sufficient proof of all elements of a crime to convict an accused. Our seasoned criminal defense lawyers use lack of evidence, illegal searches and seizures, unreliable witnesses, police misconduct, and many more successful defenses to get our clients’ drug charges dismissed. In pre-trial hearings and proceedings, we often file motions to suppress evidence that the police obtained by violating a defendant’s rights. When the state lacks the evidence they need to prove its case, there is often no choice but to dismiss the charges or lose the case when we achieve a not guilty verdict at trial.
In the case of drug deaths, our defense attorneys may find evidence that the drug user had other conditions or events that caused their death, superseding the drugs’ effects. Moreover, in distribution cases, the state must prove that a defendant’s Fentanyl supply was for distribution and not personal use, so sometimes we can successfully cast doubt on the state’s circumstantial evidence regarding the intention to distribute or sell drugs. Our investigation into the circumstances of your case may yield numerous defenses to the charges, so it is important for us to dive into the facts and evidence involved in your case to find the defenses that may apply.
Call our Mount Holly Fentanyl Possession Attorneys for a Free Consultation
At Proetta, Oliver, & Fay, our criminal defense lawyers fight tirelessly for clients facing drug offenses, including those involving fentanyl in New Jersey. We have a track record of case victories in Burlington County, as well as Camden County, Gloucester County, and other courts in Southern New Jersey. Contact our Evesham Township office to talk to a criminal attorney who is ready to handle your Fentanyl charges and whatever the state may throw your way. Call (609)-850-8284 for a free consultation.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Jersey City, Edison, Middletown, Cranford, Burlington, and Hamilton. All major credit cards are accepted.
525 Highway 73, Suite 104, Marlton, New Jersey 08053 Phone: 609-850-8284 By Appointment Only
100 Horizon Center Boulevard, Hamilton, New Jersey, 08691 By Appointment Only
Point Pleasant Office
3828 River Road,
Suite A, Point Pleasant,
New Jersey 08742
By Appointment Only
180 Kings Highway, Middletown Township, New Jersey 07748 By Appointment Only