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What is possession with intent in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | Drug Crimes |

State law in New Jersey renders numerous types of behavior with controlled substances illegal. It is a violation to simply possess a controlled substance without a prescription from a physician. There are many controlled substances for which medical recommendations are not even available.

People can only legally possess medication obtained from a licensed professional. Regardless of how someone acquired a controlled substance, they generally cannot distribute or sell the drug to anyone else. It is also against the law to intentionally cultivate or manufacture drugs for personal use or distribution. Occasionally, when police officers find someone in possession of drugs in New Jersey, the state proceeds with not simple possession charges but instead possession with intent charges.

What do those more serious charges typically mean?

The state believes the drugs were not for personal use

At the most basic level, a possession with intent charge is an allegation that the drugs in someone’s possession were not for their personal use. Numerous different factors could lead to the state assuming that someone intended to sell or distribute the drugs in their possession.

Perhaps someone has a history of drug trafficking or is a known associate of those involved in the drug trade. Maybe police officers found paraphernalia like scales and packaging that indicated they intended to distribute the drug to others on demand. Having a large assortment of drugs or a particularly high volume of drugs could also lead to allegations that someone possessed a substance not with the intent to use it illegally but to distribute it to others.

Possession with intent charges are more serious

In general, possession with intent charges are more serious than simple possession charges. Prior criminal charges, the total weight of the drugs and the classification of the drug can all influence the charges and penalties prosecutors pursue.

The penalties possible include higher fines and longer sentences in state custody. The defendant also faces the additional social consequences that come from having a more serious criminal record. While many employers may overlook simple possession charges, offenses associated with drug trafficking tend to have a stronger negative impact on someone’s opportunities in life.

Understanding what sets possession with intent apart from other New Jersey drug charges may benefit those facing prosecution. Defendants who understand their circumstances are in a better position to respond appropriately to the accusations they face.