Everyone knows that possession of illegal narcotics is a very serious crime with penalties that can include court-ordered rehabilitation, jail time, and large fines. But it’s not just real drugs that are out on the street today — increasingly, fake drugs have become a problem, especially drugs that can pass for common controlled dangerous substances. Imitation drugs can be modified to be even more dangerous with unknown ingredients and untested side effects, and if you’re caught with them in New Jersey, you can still face penalties under the state’s drug laws.
Even if the drugs you have in your possession are not on the list of controlled dangerous substances, it’s illegal to possess or distribute fake drugs, and you could be charged with a criminal offense. The reason that fake drugs are treated with the same consideration is that a person who believes he is buying or selling real drugs is still participating in a criminal act, even if the end result is a fake. The same legal logic holds true for people who are deliberately selling imitation drugs and passing them off as the real thing.
New Jersey Laws
In New Jersey, legislators passed N.J.S.A. 2C:35-11, which makes it illegal for a person to have or distribute an imitation drug. According to this statute, there are three separate scenarios in which a person can be found in violation of the law:
- If a person is caught packaging a substance in a way that would typically be used to distribute illegal controlled dangerous substances
- If a person distributes, or attempts to distribute, a fake drug, in exchange for money or other goods
- If a person possesses or distributes a substance that looks similar to a controlled dangerous substance
Any one of these violations can lead to a third-degree criminal charge. It’s important to understand that you can be charged with this crime even if you haven’t positively presented the fake drug as a controlled dangerous substance, because this law includes liability for anyone who distributes or possesses a fake drug under circumstances that would make a reasonable person believe that the substance in question was legitimate.
Penalties for Imitation Drug Convictions
If you are convicted on imitation drug charges, you’ll have a third-degree crime on your record. Crimes at this level can carry penalties of up to five years in jail. In addition, if you’re charged with an imitation drug crime, you can be fined up to $200,000, even though the typical maximum fine for a third-degree crime is $15,000. You could also face a period of license suspension for anywhere from six months to two years.
If you have been charged with possession or distribution of imitation drugs, contact Scott Gorman, an experienced Morristown DWI attorney. Gorman and his team at The Gorman Law Firm can help clients build a defense when facing these charges. For more information on New Jersey’s laws and potential options for your case, call Scott Gorman today.
Published in Categories: DUI / DWI