Drug Defense Attorney in Burlington County

Across the U.S. in 2018, there were an estimated 1.6 million drug-related crimes. Roughly 86% of these offenses were for possession of a controlled substance and 14% involved drug sales, manufacturing or distribution. In 2018, there were also more than 40,000 fatalities across the nation that were drug-related. New Jersey reported that an estimated 3,163 drug overdoses occurred in 2018.

Legislative Findings (2C:35-1.1)

Those who abuse, manufacture, or distribute controlled substances create a “serious and pervasive threat to the health, welfare, and safety” to New Jersey communities. There are also far too many drug-related crimes. The current laws seek to impose particularly rigid penalties on those offenders found to be operating in the distribution networks.

Possession of Drugs (2C:35-10)

It is a crime for an individual to knowingly have possession of a controlled substance (or its derivatives) unless it was prescribed by a licensed physician. The majority of the most dangerous drugs including heroin, cocaine, and any substance classified in Schedule I through IV are charged as third-degree offenses. Schedule V drugs are charged as fourth-degree offenses. Marijuana possession is a disorderly person offense unless the quantity exceeds 50 grams.

Manufacturing or Distributing (2C:35-5)

The law prohibits individuals from manufacturing, dispensing or selling controlled dangerous substances or their analogs. This also applies when an individual has control of the substance and intends to dispense, sell, etc. The severity of the crime is based on the type of controlled substance and the quantity possessed.

Heroin, Cocaine, and Methamphetamine

  • Five ounces or more is a first-degree offense
  • A quantity between a half-ounce and five ounces is a second-degree offense
  • Less than a half-ounce is a third-degree offense

Schedule I or II Drugs

  • One ounce or more is a second-degree offense
  • Less than one ounce is a third-degree offense


  • 100 milligrams or more is a first-degree offense
  • Less than 100 milligrams is a second-degree offense


  • 25 pounds or 50 plants or more is a first-degree offense
  • A quantity between five pounds and 25 pounds or 10 to 50 plants is a second-degree offense
  • A quantity between one ounce and five pounds is a third-degree offense
  • A quantity between five grams and one ounce is a fourth-degree offense

Level of Offense

Maximum Incarceration

Maximum Fine

First Offense

10 to 20 years

Up to $200,000

Second Degree

5 to 10 years

Up to $150,000

Third Degree

3 to 5 years

Up to $15,000

Fourth Degree

18 months

Up to $10,000

Disorderly Person Offense

6 months

Up to $1,000

Diversionary and Rehabilitative Programs (2C:35-14)

The law allows for those charged with drug-related crimes that have a “presumption of incarceration” or “minimum period of parole eligibility” to be placed on probation. The terms of the probation require the offender to submit to a substance abuse treatment program.

Burlington County Drug Court

The Drug Court in Burlington County's Superior Court was established in 2004. Participants receive treatment for substance abuse and are subject to probationary supervision for a period of up to five years.

Effective Legal Representation in New Jersey for Criminal Cases

A criminal conviction for a serious drug charge can have harsh long-term consequences. Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients in these matters using a comprehensive defense strategy. For a consultation, contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.