Drug Crimes

Monmouth County Drug Crime Lawyers

Drug Offense Attorneys in New Jersey

New Jersey has some of the toughest drug laws in the United States and our courts are known for imposing severe penalties for even the most minor drug crimes. As experienced Monmouth County Drug Lawyers, we can use our collective backgrounds to your advantage to secure the best outcome possible. A drug crime can be any state or federal crime involving a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). This not only includes illegal street drugs like heroin and cocaine but also prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Oxycodone, Percocet, Roxicodone and many others.

To develop a successful defense strategy against drug charges, you need a qualified, experienced drug lawyer who can thoroughly review the circumstances of your arrest and the investigation against you. Our criminal defense lawyers are former prosecutors and public defenders with vast experience in New Jersey criminal law and procedure. We recognize that addiction can be a disease and we believe in providing those accused with drug charges with the quality defense they deserve. We see too often how a doctor will over-prescribe medication to line their own pockets, leaving the patient with a terrible addiction to pain killers and, later, street drugs.

For quality legal support, contact Shebell & Shebell.

Do not speak to the police without your attorney present

If you are under suspicion or have been arrested or charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, it is crucial that you exercise your constitutional right to remain silent until you have an attorney present. Be polite, but firm. Do not answer any questions or give a statement until you have spoken to a qualified criminal defense attorney. If you or someone you know has been arrested, contact us for a free consultation. As experienced Monmouth County Drug Lawyers, we can work with you to determine if cooperating with the Police may be in your best interest or if you have nothing to gain by giving them a statement.

Types of drug charges

Our lawyers represent clients who have been charged with various drug crimes, including:

  • Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance
  • Possession with intent to distribute
  • Drug distribution
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug paraphernalia possession
  • Manufacturing and/or cultivation of drugs
  • Violation of medical marijuana laws (New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, J.S.A. 24:6I-1 to 24:6I-16).

Classification of Drug Offenses

New Jersey law classifies drug offenses according to their inherent danger and potential for abuse, which is based on the schedules of Controlled Dangerous Substances issued by the DEA. Most known drugs will fall into one of five categories, or “Schedules,” with Schedule I narcotics carrying the highest degree of penalties, and Schedule V being the least dangerous and carrying the least severe penalties.

According to the DEA, Schedule I narcotics have a high potential for abuse and no federally accepted use in medical treatment. Common Schedule I narcotics include heroin, many opiates, ecstasy, LSD, and marijuana. See N.J.S.A. 24:21-5 for a complete list. Although New Jersey now permits the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, it is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic and unlawful use is still met with harsh penalties.

Schedule II narcotics have a high potential for abuse but have some currently accepted medicinal value. Common Schedule II substances include Vicodin, Cocaine, Methadone, Dilaudid, Demerol, OxyContin, Fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin. See N.J.S.A. 24:21-6 for a complete list.

Use of Schedule III substances may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Common Schedule III narcotics include Tylenol with codeine, ketamine (“Special K”), steroids and testosterone. See N.J.S.A. 24:21-7 for a complete list.

Schedule IV and V substances have a low potential for abuse when compared to the drugs discussed above. Most benzodiazepines are Schedule IV drugs, as well as some synthetic opioids. Xanax, Soma, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Ambien, and Tramadol are all Schedule IV narcotics. See N.J.S.A. 24:21-8 and -9 for the complete lists.

Even though the drugs may have different schedules, the penalties will overlap for many of the drugs mentioned above. It is essential to review your charges with an experienced Monmouth County Drug Lawyer to help you through this difficult process.

New Jersey imposes harsh penalties for drug crimes

Penalties for drug offenses vary depending on the type of drug, the quantity or weight of the drug, the offense you are charged with, and whether the alleged offense occurred in a school zone or public park. Some common offenses and their penalties include:


  • Possession is either a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) or an indictable offense (felony), depending on the amount allegedly in your possession. Possession of marijuana over 50 grams in weight is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine of $500 to $15,000.
  • Distribution will be an indictable level offense, possibly punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $750 to $100,000.

Cocaine and Heroin

  • Possession is an indictable crime (felony) punishable by three to five years in prison, and a fine of $1,000 to $35,000.
  • Distribution is a felony punishable by three to 20 years in prison, and a fine of $1,000 to $300,000.

Drug trafficking or being accused of being the leader of a drug network are typically considered the most serious types of drug-related criminal activity in New Jersey. The penalty for a conviction could be life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. In addition to the penalties listed above, most drug convictions are punishable by the loss of one’s drivers license for six months to two years.

Diversionary programs: pre-trial intervention (PTI) and conditional discharge

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to avoid some of these harsh penalties by securing your admission into a diversionary program. Successful completion of one of these programs can help you avoid jail time and keep a conviction off of your criminal record. A clean record is invaluable when searching for employment or promotion.

Exploring all defenses

Never assume that the prosecution has a strong case against you. Often, police officers make errors while conducting their investigations, including:

  • Lack of probable cause for a traffic stop or search
  • Unlawful search and seizure
  • Failure to read you your Miranda rights at the appropriate time
  • Improperly obtained confessions

Our skilled drug lawyers will fight to ensure that unlawfully obtained evidence is excluded at trial and cannot be used against you.

Contact our experienced New Jersey drug crime attorneys

If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with a drug crime, the Monmouth County drug lawyers at Shebell & Shebell will provide effective and aggressive legal representation. We will not rest until we have secured the best possible outcome for your legal situation. For a free consultation, contact our firm.