A 19-year-old New Jersey resident was recently struck with one criminal count for drug possession in the third degree. The drug charges stemmed from an incident in which authorities alleged that they found heroin in the young man’s possession in October 2012.
In another indictment handed down by a grand jury, a 29-year-old New Jersey man was charged with attempting to obtain a drug by fraud. Authorities allege that the suspect attempted to obtain oxycodone through deception, fraud or forgery.
Drug charges vary greatly in their severity and the punishments associated with each type of infraction. While some drug charges amount to no more than a low-level misdemeanor with probation and a possible fine as punishment, other charges can be considered felonies, especially if the suspect is accused of attempting to distribute or sell the drugs.
The choice of specific charges is left to prosecutors, who review the evidence to determine if they have enough to charge a suspect with a serious crime or with a lesser offense. Once the prosecutors have issued the charge, a grand jury may be asked to return an indictment in order for the charges to be certified and the case to move forward.
A criminal defense attorney can become involved at any stage of this process. In some cases, criminal defense attorneys are able to negotiate with prosecutors before charges are officially filed or before the grand jury hands down an indictment. In other cases, the criminal defense lawyer may be helpful in suggesting or negotiating a plea deal in response to an indictment. At each stage of the process, defendants deserve to understand their legal rights and find the best solution to their legal difficulties.
Source: Howell Patch, “Howell resident indicted on drug charge,” Adam Hochron, Feb. 13, 2013