Prescription drug laws in New Jersey are severe. Merely possessing five doses carries the charge of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, reaching a guilty verdict is not that simple.
If you have a child attending college, the temptation to distribute prescription drugs illegally is very high, unfortunately. However, a guilty verdict for your child is not a foregone conclusion. See below for common defense tactics used to get a charge dismissed. Remember, this is not a guarantee.
What is the de minimis defense?
According to the Child Care Resource Center, a de minimis defense can apply to any minor crime that does not call for a criminal conviction. Factors that determine the significance of a crime include the individual’s knowledge of potential harm, the insignificance of the damage caused, situational factors and the accused’s intentions. A de minimis defense is only applicable to the distribution of small amounts of controlled substances. Any amount greater than six doses over 24 hours is not considered insignificant enough for this defense tactic.
Besides the de minimis defense, the defense has other tactics to lean on. Some questions posed to the prosecution could include if the police had probable cause to search your child, if your child faced racial, ethnic or other biases during the arrest or if the police read your child’s Miranda rights. Any deviation from legal procedure hurts the prosecution’s case and gives your child a better chance.
Despite the defense tactics listed above, a drug charge still holds significant weight. Do not make the mistake of dismissing the severity of your child’s situation. Follow the legal counsel of an experienced attorney and keep your child’s best interest in mind.