Possession and Distribution of Imitation Drugs Attorney in Burlington County NJ
It may seem strange, but you can go to jail and pay enormous fines for manufacturing, possessing, or distributing a fake drug in New Jersey. An imitation or counterfeit controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is a substance that appears like a true CDS, such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, or even Viagra. You may have fake powders, pills, gel caps, or any other simulation of a drug. For example, having or selling bread flour and passing it off as heroin or cocaine has penalties as steep as distributing the real thing. Likewise, buying bread flour, thinking it is heroin, is also a crime. It is illegal to have or distribute a CDS without a prescription, and the same goes for counterfeit drugs.
Hiring a tested and proven criminal defense attorney is an intelligent way to go about handling the serious charges you are facing for imitation controlled dangerous substances (CDS). The criminal defense attorneys at Proetta, Oliver, & Fay have what it takes to adeptly defend your case and protect your criminal record, as we are solely dedicated to practicing criminal law in New Jersey and have been doing so for the entirety of our careers. If you have been arrested for possessing, distributing, manufacturing, selling, or otherwise being involved in a crime involving imitation drugs in Burlington County, in towns such as Bordentown, Mount Laurel, Pemberton, Evesham, Riverside, Lumberton, Mount Holly, or Florence, contact our lawyers anytime at 609-850-8284 to talk through the details of your case. We look forward to assisting you in a free consultation.
Counterfeit Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) Offenses in New Jersey
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-11 makes it illegal to possess, distribute, or possess with the intent to distribute any non-CDS substance, or its analog, represented as a CDS. The representation may be expressed or implied by its appearance, sale for value, or packaging. Passing off a non-CDS substance as a real drug for another’s use or distribution is the essence of the crime. So, an individual who tells someone else that they have heroin for sale and pulls out plastic bags or vials of a white powdery substance, the potential buyer can reasonably believe the seller’s words backed up by the typical packaging and appearance as a white, powdery substance as being heroin. Subsection (b) of the law specifically makes it illegal to manufacture, package, or otherwise make a non-CDS look like a CDS or its analog.
It is a third degree crime to possess, manufacture, sell, or distribute a legal substance that is made to look like an illegal substance (CDS) so that a person may reasonably believe the substance is a CDS. Thus, an individual who sells sugar pills shaped and imprinted to look like ecstasy does not need to state that they are selling ecstasy to violate the statute. They simply must make it look like real ecstasy or have someone buy it believing it is.
What is Considered a Violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-11 in NJ?
There are four ways to violate the statute. You can represent a substance as a controlled dangerous substance; represent that someone can distribute the substance as a CDS; convince someone that a substance is a CDS by circumstances, such as packaging, selling, or making it look like a CDS; and make or package a substance to look like a CDS.
Requirements to Prove an Imitation Drug Charge in NJ
To prove a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-11, the state must show possession or distribution of a counterfeit CDS. They can evidence possession or distribution by pointing out that the substance is in a package typically understood as a CDS, such as heroin in vials, balloons, or pills. Another proof may be the exchange of money or other items of value in exchange for the fake substance. So, when 50 pounds of flour sells for $8.50 a bag, but an accused sells a gram of flour for $50.00, a prosecutor can establish the sale of an imitation drug. And finally, when the appearance of the substance looks like a CDS, the state can infer the substance is possessed or distributed to be a CDS.
New Jersey Punishments for Imitation CDS Offenses
A third degree indictable crime for having or selling an imitation CDS comes with a three-to-five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $200,000.00. Most other third degree crime penalties include a maximum fine of $15,000.00. In addition, a court can suspend the convicted individual’s driver’s license for six months to two years or impose probation, community service, drug testing, and drug counseling. These are severe penalties that have long-lasting consequences. However, the law punishes the intent to possess and distribute or possess with the intent to distribute a CDS, even when it is fake. In that way, no one gets away with passing off fake drugs for money just because the drugs are fake.
A third degree drug conviction can prevent you from retaining or getting a job. Many employers do background checks and may not hire or keep someone with a felony conviction but may especially frown on drug-related charges. The drug conviction may suggest you have a substance abuse problem or are untrustworthy for perpetrating or participating in fraud. The same consequences may be true when landlords or admissions officers do background checks for housing or university entrance.
Options for First-Time Offenders Charged with Possessing or Distributing Imitation Drugs in Burlington County
The best possible scenario for an imitation drug charge is a dismissal or some other way to keep your record clear. You may avoid a conviction on your record through the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program offered in the superior court for indictable crimes. PTI is a supervised program for one to three years, depending on your circumstances. The program is available if it is your first conviction. You may be eligible to apply for PTI, so long as your conviction is a non-violent offense graded below second degree (although second degree charges may be resolved by way of PTI when your lawyer can show compelling circumstances). Once in the program, you access all first-time offender resources and education aimed at avoiding further encounters with the criminal justice system.
Facing Imitation CDS Charges when You Have a Record in New Jersey
Drug Court addresses substance abuse and provides resources for participants, including drug counseling, drug testing, and drug rehabilitation and treatment services. Like PTI, a prosecutor reviews an applicant’s crime, background, and other factors to accept or reject an applicant. If accepted, the convicted individual stays out of prison and avoids a criminal record after completing the program. The important benefit of Drug Court is that you don’t have to be a first-time offender to be admitted. Even if you have a past of criminal charges, you can successfully expunge the entirety of your record if you get into Drug Court and finish the program.
However, since the prosecutor or assistant prosecutor determines who gets into diversion programs, you want to submit a complete and convincing application. An attorney at our criminal defense firm can ensure that your application is the best it can be to ensure your acceptance and help you avoid jail and a criminal record.
Let our Mount Holly Imitation CDS Defense Lawyers Assist You
When you face serious imitation drug charges for allegedly violating N.J.S.A. 2C:35-11, you want skilled and confident representation to work on your behalf for the optimal results. You may have legitimate defenses and other alternatives to imprisonment that an experienced criminal defense lawyer at our firm can explain to you. Call for help when you face counterfeit drug charges in Delran, Cinnaminson, Moorestown, Palmyra, Shamong, Springfield, and other Burlington County areas. An attorney can provide you with a cost-free, confidential consultation 24/7 at 609-850-8284.
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