Tag Archives: possession

From Punishment to Treatment

New Jersey Changes its Heroin Policy

The heroin drug epidemic has reached staggering heights, especially within the state of New Jersey—especially since Camden is one of the locations where you can get it in its purest form. Last year, Camden police officers were equipped with Narcan, an antidote to reverse the effects of an overdose. Since this implementation, the city police have been able to save over 100 people’s lives by using the antidote. Deaths due to heroin overdoses have tripled over the past few years, along with the number of users—this rate is staggering.

The White House initiative regarding the new heroin policy not only provides law enforcement with more of the antidote Narcan, but also funds partnerships between police and public health agencies striving toward treatment for addictions instead of punishment. With previously harsh sentences for those found in possession, this initiative comes to the idea that most users are in desperate need of treatment, not punishment, to help them get their lives back. These public agencies will focus on rehabilitation and therapy to work through the person’s addiction and assist them in becoming free from using heroin.

This initiative focuses on those found by police, whether in response to an emergent situation or those discovered on the streets. The primary mission is to return those individuals to their family, and this means reviving them with the help of Narcan. Under this initiative, officers are to promote treatment and not resort to imprisoning those found within the depths of addiction. With such an increase in users and with that a traumatic rise in overdose-related deaths, it’s no surprise that the White House has initiated this plan in attempts to provide those with an opportunity to seek the help they need. With switch in policy from punishment to treatment, it’s hopeful that more people will reach out for assistance instead of avoiding it for the fear of prison for possession or using of heroin.

Suffering with a drug addiction is not easy. It can be debilitating and can leave a person desperate to find a fix in any way possible. With heightened usage, the person’s body requires more of the drug to feel the same effects, which increases the likelihood of an overdose. If you or a loved one is dealing with drug addiction and have been charged with a related offense, contact me, Robert E. DePersia II, defense attorney. Whether we strategize to plead for a lesser offense or ask for rehabilitation in lieu of jail time, we can explore many different options. Every situation is different, and I am here to assess your personal charge to help you determine what course of action will provide you with the best possible outcome. New Jersey Drug Court provides many offenders with programs to help monitor their addiction to assist them in maintaining their sobriety. Give me a call to talk about your options: (856) 795-9688.

Possession with Intent

Under federal and state law, individuals found with an illegal drug will face charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), which is punishable by fines and imprisonment. The crime becomes mores serious and the penalties are more severe when the drugs in possession are with the intent to distribute. To be convicted of possession with intent to distribute three elements must be satisfied.


First, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was in possession of a controlled dangerous substance. A CDS is any “drug, substance, or immediate precursor in Schedules I through V.” In New Jersey, almost all illegal drugs are considered CDSs, including prescription medications. Tobacco and alcohol are two of the only drugs exempt.

To fulfill the possession requirement, the individual must have knowingly obtained or received the drug or knew of the presence of the controlled substance. In several court cases, the “knowledge” requirement has expanded to “should have known,” which has made it easier fulfill the possession element.

Intent to Distribute

New Jersey defines “distribute” as the act of transferring a controlled substance from one party to another. Drugs do not have to be sold in order for it to constitute as distributed. The prosecution must prove the defendant distributed or planned to distribute the CDS. This means that an individual can face charges even if they only planned to give them to someone else.

If a police officer did not witness the distribution, the quantity of drugs, packaging materials, sums of money, and other drug paraphernalia will be used to determine if the drugs were going to be distributed. If an individual is found with an amount only enough for personal use, they most likely didn’t have intent to distribute and will only be charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute has only occurred if the possession and intent to distribute elements happened simultaneously. An individual cannot be charged with possession with intent to distribute if they are planning on selling drugs but do not have them in their possession yet.


The penalties vary according to the CDS and increased depending on the quantity in possession. In addition to the possible jail time and hefty fines, a drug conviction can have a significant impact on your life. Additionally, the location of the offense can also cause the penalties to enhanced, i.e.: within 100 feet of school or public park.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, it important to protect your rights and freedom by hiring an experienced defense attorney. I, Robert E. DePersia, will investigate all aspects of your case to determine if the state has met all the requirements needed for a possession with intent charge. As an experienced defense lawyer for over 25 years, I will aggressively fight the charges against you to minimize or avoid the consequences. For a consultation, call The Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II today at (856) 795-9688.

Marijuana-From Possession to Penalties

In the State of New Jersey, it is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana. Even insignificant amounts are considered an offense. The penalties vary according to the amount in possession.

Possession of Under 50 Grams

In New Jersey, a simple possession (without intent to sell) of less than 50 grams of marijuana is a disorderly persons offense. When found with marijuana, no amount is too small to avoid arrest—even trace amounts constitute possession of less than 50 grams. Even an individual with a pipe containing no marijuana, only residue will face charges not only for drug paraphernalia, but also for possession of marijuana.

Possession of less than 50 gram is a disorderly persons offense that can result in penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail. Second and subsequent offenders may be subject to more severe consequences. New Jersey allows first time offenders to avoid jail time by participating in the Conditional Discharge diversionary program. Those eligible for the program will be put on probation, which requires them to remain drug-free and arrest-free for a determined period. If the probation is completed without any violations, the original charges will be dismissed.  However, if the defendant fails to comply with the regulations of the probation, the conditional discharge will be terminated and the original charges will proceed to court for prosecution.

Possession of 50 Grams or More

As the amount of marijuana in possession increases, the penalties and charges increase as well. In New Jersey, possession of 50 grams or more of marijuana is considered a 4th degree crime. Unlike a disorderly persons offense, a 4th degree crime is an indictable offense and must be addressed in the supreme court. A conviction of possession of 50 grams of marijuana or more carries penalties of up to $25,000 in fines and a sentence of up to 18 months in a New Jersey state prison.

If you have been charged with possession, you need legal representation to help minimize and possibly eliminate the penalties. In almost all circumstances, police find marijuana on a person through a search. As your attorney I, Robert E. DePersia, II, will determine if the police followed the correct procedures for the search. Any evidence gained through an improper search cannot be used against you in court. To find out how I can help you or if you have any questions, call The Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II today at (856) 795-9688.