Prescription Legend Drug Violations (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5) – New Jersey Defense Attorney
In New Jersey, it is illegal to possess or distribute prescription drugs and certain medications without a valid prescription. Possessing or distributing prescription drugs is illegal unless they were prescribed by a licensed physician, dentist, veterinarian, or pharmacist. If you are charged with this crime, contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney immediately to advise you of your rights.
Prescription drug abuse has become a serious issue in New Jersey and, in fact, is more common than abuse of non-prescription drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
The amount of drugs in your possession determines the degree of the crime. It is a disorderly persons offense to knowingly possess, actually or constructively, any prescription drug in an amount of four or fewer dosage units unless lawfully prescribed or administered by a practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medicine. In addition, if you have that same small amount, it becomes a fourth degree crime if you have the intent to distribute the drugs.
These charges apply to certain prescription medications including:
You should always carry prescription drugs in the container they came in from the pharmacy or doctor’s office. Defenses to this crime include having a valid prescription for the drug or proof that you were carrying the drugs for a friend or relative with a valid prescription.
Punishment for Violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5
The applicable punishment depends on the dosage of the drug you possessed. If you were arrested for distributing prescription drugs you may face a second degree charge if you possessed over 100 dosages. If the dosage possessed or distributed was at least five but fewer than 100 you face a third degree charge. Both charges could result in prison or jail time. If you possessed four or fewer dosages this is a disorderly person offense that can still result in some jail time. Hefty fines may be imposed, depending on the degree of the crime.