When a prosecutor is determining whether to charge you with possession or possession with intent to distribute, two key factors will be explored.
The possession and intent to distribute heroin or cocaine has the most severe charges. If a person is found to have more than 5 oz. of this substance on their person, they will face 1st-degree criminal charges, which are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines as high as $500,000. Under New Jersey law, a convicted person must serve at least a 1/3 of their sentence before they would be eligible for parole.
The possession of methamphetamine, controlled substances, and other drugs also include harsh penalties including expensive fines and lengthy prison terms. As with marijuana, charges are based on the amount of drugs found on a person and where the person was arrested. Extenuating circumstances such as whether the arrest came from an undercover operation or whether the person was actively selling drugs to a minor or pregnant woman can also impact the seriousness of the charges.
In New Jersey, you can be charged with possession with intent to distribute, if the amount of drugs on the person is considered more than enough for recreational use. Usually, less than half an ounce of marijuana or a single Ecstasy tablet will not attract an intent to distribute charge. But, that is not the case with more serious drugs such as methamphetamine, crack cocaine, or heroin. A person caught with even small amounts of drugs can have a simple possession charge turned into a possession of drugs with the intent to distribute charge, which is a much more serious crime.