Defense Attorneys for Clients Facing Fake Weed Charges in Ocean County, New Jersey
Synthetic marijuana is not like herbal marijuana, neither in its chemical composition or the extent to which the state of New Jersey punishes those convicted of these offenses, despite the similar terminology. It is a manmade chemical substance that can sometimes be illegally found online, in mom and pop shops, and other retail environments. Despite the availability of synthetic weed, the substance and its corresponding chemical compounds are illegal in New Jersey. In fact, anyone found possessing the substance will be charged with an indictable crime. Unbeknownst to many, you face a fourth degree felony crime and up to 18 months in prison for even the smallest amount of synthetic marijuana.
If you have been charged with a drug crime involving synthetic marijuana in the Ocean County, New Jersey area, we urge you to speak with an experienced criminal attorney from our office today. We have years of experience defending clients facing charges for possession, distribution, and intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances in Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, Manchester, Berkeley Township, Seaside Heights, and nearby communities, and we are here to assist you. You can reach us anytime online or by calling (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.
What is Synthetic Marijuana?
Synthetic marijuana is also referred to as K-2, Spice, Genie, Skunk, Bliss, Fake Weed, Yucatan Fire, or Moon Rocks. The substance is made up of various plant materials, but do not be fooled by the fact that the base of the substance is plant matter. The problem with synthetic marijuana is that the plant materials are combined with a mix of chemicals that produce unpredictable highs. There are multiple chemicals used to spray the plants and the DEA has banned at least 18 of these chemicals, making it illegal to possess the drug throughout the country, including in New Jersey.
Banned drugs can be found on the Schedules (lists) of Controlled Dangerous Substances. Substances that are placed on these lists have a recognized potential for abuse (some minimal, some significant), and either some or no medicinal value. Having no medicinal value means that there is no reason to make the substance legal, as it is not accepted for use in treatment in the U.S. This holds true for synthetic marijuana. Due to the availability of synthetic cannabinoids, potential for abuse, and possibly harmful side effects, being in possession of synthetic marijuana will result in criminal felony charges by law.
Additionally, the government likely wishes to protect children from synthetic marijuana, as they are often largely unaware of the harmful effects. Synthetic marijuana may be more harmful to young adults, as the CDC notes that many people, and more specifically, teens, falsely believe that synthetic marijuana is herbal or otherwise a natural substance. Contrary to popular belief, synthetic marijuana is not the same chemically, and it is not criminally charged in the same manner as herbal marijuana either.
Synthetic Marijuana Possession in New Jersey
Laws in New Jersey are called statutes, each of which relates to a specific subject or crime. The statute making it illegal to possess synthetic marijuana is N.J.S.A 2c:35-10.3. According to this law, possessing less than one ounce of synthetic marijuana is a fourth degree offense. For this crime, defendants face prison for up to 18 months, up to $10,000 in fines, a $750 drug penalty, and losing driving privileges in New Jersey for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
Possessing an amount that exceeds one ounce increases the degree of the crime to a third degree. If convicted of a third degree felony offense, those charged face 3 to 5 years in prison and can be assessed $15,000 in fines, as well as a $1,000 drug penalty and license suspension for 6-24 months.
Distribution of Synthetic Marijuana & Intent to Distribute Fake Weed
Based on the particular facts and circumstances, some individuals may be charged with possession with intent to distribute or distribution of synthetic marijuana under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.3a. Possessing less than one ounce is normally a fourth degree crime, but if you possess it with the intention of selling it, or you do manufacture or sell the substance, you will be charged with a third degree crime. And on the off-chance that you allegedly distributed more than one ounce, a charge in the second degree will be filed, for which you face imprisonment for 5 to 10 years, $150,000 in fines, and a mandatory $2,000 drug penalty.
Do I have to go to jail for synthetic marijuana if convicted in NJ?
If you have no prior criminal history, there is a presumption against state prison for third and fourth degree offenses in New Jersey. Therefore, state prison is not a requirement for a first offense. If this applies to your case, you can be given a term of probation for up to 5 years. Pretrial Intervention (PTI) may also be an option if you have not had any previous convictions or previous admissions into a similar program. The charges can be dismissed in less than three years if you complete the terms of your PTI. It is also possible to expunge your record of the arrest and charges six months after you finish the PTI program.
If, however, you are convicted of a second degree crime, the law generally requires a term of imprisonment, regardless of criminal history. This is because there is a presumption of incarceration, unlike crimes of the 3rd and 4th degree. Thankfully however, if you are drug dependent and have no violent history, you may be eligible for Drug Court. Drug court probation will allow you to forgo jail time, provided that you complete all terms of probation successfully. The entirety of your criminal record is automatically expunged when you complete this program as well.
Consult a Stafford NJ Synthetic Marijuana Attorney NJ Today
Our attorneys are well-prepared and capable of handling your charges for synthetic marijuana, whatever they may be. We can discuss defense strategies, PTI, and Drug Court as potential options for you after being arrested in Ocean Township, Stafford, Lacey Township, Surf City, Jackson, or anywhere else in Ocean County, New Jersey. To learn more, all you have to do is take the first step and call our office today. Free consultations are at your disposal. (848) 238-2100.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.