Facing a drug crime is a serious situation for any defendant in New Jersey. If the accused is convicted of the alleged drug crime, it is likely they will face a gamut of penalties and consequences. This is especially true if the charges include a felony drug possession. Although any type of drug charge — even a simple drug possession charge — should not be taken lightly because a defendant can still face criminal penalties as well as personal hardships.
Drug possession charges range and are based on the type of drug, the weight of the drug and whether the accused has any prior convictions on the person’s record. Because felony drug crimes are considered serious, especially those involving defendants who are allegedly using, many states have instituted a program for felony drug defendants. This is commonly known as drug court.
Drug court aims to rehabilitate defendants, especially if they are discovered to be repeat offenders. Instead of taking the defendant to trial, the defendant could agree to spend 12 to 15 months attending treatment sessions, undergoing random drug tests and regular appearances before the drug court judge. If a defendant fails to appear or fails a drug test, the person is arrested and often faces a brief jail sentence.
While drug court could help keep a defendant out of jail and avoid addition harsh penalties, there are other defense options those accused of drug crimes could use to reduce or dismiss penalties. Depending on the situation and the defense claims a defendant brings up, the accused could face sentences ranging from fines and community service hours to probation or lengthy prison sentences.
Because a drug possession conviction could result in harsh penalties, those accused of a drug crime should take the time to understand their situation and options. The accused has the legal right to defend against the charges they faces, and should consider gaining legal advice about possible defense strategies.