New Jersey and federal drug crimes include not only street drugs but also illegal prescription drug possession and distribution. Certain types of prescription drugs are classified as controlled substances and are considered just as dangerous as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. It is a crime to possess prescription drugs that were not prescribed by a medical professional or to distribute even legally prescribed drugs to other persons without a valid medical license. In New Jersey, an individual can face criminal charges for unlawful possession, possession for sale, trafficking, manufacturing, or distribution of a prescription drug.
With the epidemic of opioid abuse sweeping the country and causing thousands of deaths and many more ruined lives, the New Jersey legal system is making a serious effort to stop prescription drug abuse, forgery, fraud, and “doctor shopping.” Attorney Adam M. Lustberg offers skilled, aggressive representation that is backed by more than a decade of experience representing NJ residents accused of prescription drug crimes in Fort Lee, Elmwood Park, Fair Lawn, Newark, East Orange, and everywhere else in New Jersey.
Committed to providing clients with individual attention and crafting personalized defense strategies based on the facts of the case.
As more powerful, more addictive narcotic prescriptions have entered the marketplace, the opportunities for illegal prescription drug use and abuse are increasing. The prescription drugs most commonly abused and illegally distributed in NJ include, but are not limited to, Xanax, Vicodin, Valium, Oxycontin, Percocet, oxycodone, hydrocodone, Adderall, Dilaudid, methadone, and fentanyl.
Often, a prescription drug addiction begins innocently when a patient is legally prescribed a narcotic such as Xanax or Vicodin and then becomes addicted to it. When the patient no longer has a legitimate reason to receive an additional prescription, they may begin to illegally obtain the painkiller. The illegal conduct could include changing doctors, called “doctor shopping,” and pretending that the person has a medical issue in order to obtain a narcotic prescription. By switching doctors, the abuser goes to different providers, hoping that their abuse goes undetected.
New Jersey laws governing prescription drug crimes stipulate that nobody shall obtain prescription drugs by fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. The law states that a prescription for a controlled substance can only be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a physician. Further, physicians are prohibited from issuing a prescription for illegitimate reasons.
The further tragedy of prescription drug abuse is that when access is denied, many turn to use of heroin, which is a cheaper, accessible high.
The penalties for prescription drug fraud and doctor shopping depend on various factors. Depending upon the specifics of your case, prescription drug fraud charges may be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. Prescription drug offenders who are facing misdemeanor charges are usually able to avoid any jail time by participating in a pretrial diversionary program such as drug court. Individuals facing felony prescription drug crime charges are subject to significant prison time in New Jersey.
In New Jersey, when you’ve been charged with possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription, the penalties depend upon the dosage units you possessed and whether police believed you intended to sell, distribute, or traffic the prescription narcotics.
If you are charged with knowingly possessing a prescription drug without a valid prescription in the amount of four or fewer dosage units, then you will be charged with a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey (equivalent to a misdemeanor crime). If convicted, the penalty is up to six months in prison and $1,000 in fines.
If found with four or fewer units of prescription drugs that you intended to distribute, the charge is a fourth degree felony crime. The penalties for a fourth degree conviction include 18 months incarceration in NJ state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
4th Degree Illegal Prescription Drug Offense: If you are a first-time offender charged with a fourth degree crime in New JErsey, you may be eligible for pretrial intervention (PTI), drug court, or a diversionary program in which the charges can be dismissed if you successfully complete a period of temporary probation.
3rd Degree Illegal Prescription Drug Offense: If you illegally possessed 5-100 prescription drug units, the penalties include 3-5 years in NJ state prison and a fine of up to $200,000.
2nd Degree Illegal Prescription Drug Offense: If you illegally possessed 100 prescription pills or more with intent to distribute, the penalties are 5-10 years incarceration in NJ state prison and a fine of up to $300,000.
We have years of experience in courts through NJ and NY and a proven track record of success in criminal cases.
Those who abuse prescription drugs typically begin as law-abiding citizens who never intended to illegally use prescription opioids. Unwittingly, when these individuals become addicted and their physician will no longer prescribe the drug they crave, addiction often escalates to criminal activities such as forgery, fraud, or buying illegal prescription drugs from unlicensed traffickers. We understand and have compassion for your predicament.
These tragic cases demand a treatment program rather than incarceration, where the person addicted to prescription painkillers rarely learns the coping skills needed to avoid reoffending.
Adam M. Lustberg is a Hackensack criminal attorney who has successfully defended hundreds of clients who faced illegal prescription drug charges in Hackensack, Fort Lee, Garfield, Newark, Paramus, and elsewhere in New Jersey. As your attorney, he will examine the evidence and circumstances of your case and help you evaluate your strongest legal options. Because a prescription drug conviction can damage your personal life and professional opportunities, it is critical that you hire an experienced NJ criminal defense lawyer who has a documented track record of strong defense strategies and extensive litigation skills.
Adam M. Lustberg will use his vast experience and knowledge of drug crime laws in NJ to achieve the most positive outcome for your prescription drug case. It’s important not to delay. Call Adam M. Lustberg now or fill out the online contact form to begin the battle to ensure your rights.