Drug Defense Attorney in Mercer County

Data from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services show that statewide there were more than 82,000 individuals that entered substance abuse treatment programs in 2018. Roughly 3,600 of these were residents of Mercer County. Law enforcement across the state continues to battle drug-related crime and can impose increasingly harsh penalties on offenders.

Possession of Drugs (2C:35-10)

Knowingly having possession of a controlled dangerous substance that was not prescribed by a physician is prohibited. Controlled substances are those classified in Schedule I, II, III, IV, and V, which encompasses “street drugs” such as methamphetamine, cocaine, etc.

Significant penalties may be imposed on offenders. The charges vary based on the classification of the substance and the quantity possessed. The following is a summary of the penalties for drug possession:

  • Heroin, cocaine, and Schedule I through IV are third-degree offenses
  • Any Schedule V drugs are fourth-degree offenses
  • Possession of 50 or more grams of marijuana or five or more grams of hashish is a fourth-degree offense
  • Possession of fewer than 50 grams of marijuana or fewer than five grams of hashish is a disorderly person offense

Manufacturing or Distribution (2C-35-5)

It is illegal to manufacture and/or have the intent to deliver or distribute controlled substances. The following chart outlines the penalties.


1st Degree

2nd Degree

3rd Degree

4th Degree

Heroin or Cocaine

5 oz +

½ oz to 5 oz

Less than ½ oz


Schedule I or II


1 oz +

Less than 1 oz



100 mg +

Less than 100 mg




5 ounces +

½ ounce to 5 oz

Less than ½ oz



25 lbs or 50+ plants

5 to 25 lbs or 10 to 50 plants

1 oz to 5 lbs

Less than 1 oz

Drug Paraphernalia Charges (2C:36-1)

Having possession, manufacturing or distributing drug paraphernalia is also prohibited. They are dozens of potential objects, materials or devices that may constitute paraphernalia. These include any “equipment, products, and materials” used in conjunction with a controlled dangerous substance. Based on the circumstances, these are charged as either fourth-degree or disorderly person offenses.

Penalties of Imprisonment

A first-degree offense is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison. A second-degree offense is punishable by five to 10 years. A third-degree offense is punishable by three to five years. A fourth-degree offense may be punishable by up to 18 months. It is unlikely that a disorderly person offense would result in incarceration, but up to six months is possible.

New Jersey Diversionary and Rehabilitation Programs (2C:35-14

Laws were introduced that allow individuals charged with drug-related crimes that have a “presumption of incarceration” or “minimum period of parole eligibility” to be placed on probation. The conditions of the probation involve the offender in submitting to a state-approved substance abuse treatment program.

Mercer County Drug Court

The Superior Court in Mercer County established a Drug Court in 1999. This is a diversionary program for nonviolent drug offenders composed of “four phases of intensive drug and alcohol treatment and recovery.”

Legal Representation for Drug Charges in New Jersey

Those who are convicted of serious drug-related criminal offenses may face significant penalties including lengthy jail sentences. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has been representing clients in these and similar matters for many years. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.

​​​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.