Drug Defense Attorney in Monmouth County

Across New Jersey in 2018, approximately 3,100 drug overdose fatalities occurred. There were an estimated 221 such fatalities among residents of Monmouth County. Drug problems statewide are also a leading cause of crime, which includes many various violent criminal offenses.

The New Jersey Controlled Substances Act outlines the drug laws and criminal procedural and sentencing guidelines. Controlled dangerous substances are those that are formally classified in Schedule I, II, III, IV, and V. These also include the various “street” drugs such as cocaine, LSD, and ecstasy.

Drug Possession

Possession of drugs is a criminal offense that involves a controlled dangerous substance that was not prescribed by a physician. The penalties for possession are based on the classification of the drug and the quantity involved. For example, drugs including heroin, cocaine, and others in Schedule I through IV are charged as third-degree offenses. Drugs classified as Schedule V or marijuana in a quantity of fewer than 50 grams is charged as a fourth-degree offense.

Drug Manufacturing or Distribution

The law prohibits the manufacturing, dispensing or selling of controlled dangerous substances or their analogs. In terms of distribution, the offense may occur by having possession with intent to distribute. These crimes are charged at different levels based on the type of controlled substance and the quantity possessed. 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

“Special Probation” Provisions in New Jersey Law

The legislators have established provisions that allow certain offenders with substance abuse problems to be transitioned to a “special probation” diversionary program. Offenders must initially undergo a “professional diagnostic assessment” and be deemed as dependent on drugs or alcohol. Those who qualify will participate in an intensive program of rehabilitation.

Summary of Penalties

  • First Degree: 10 to 20 years of imprisonment and a maximum $200,000 fine
  • Second Degree: 5 to 10 years of imprisonment and a maximum $150,000 fine
  • Third Degree: 3 to 5 years of imprisonment and a maximum $15,000 fine
  • Fourth Degree: Up to 18 months of imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine
  • Disorderly Person Offense: 6 months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine

Monmouth County Drug Court

Monmouth County was among the first counties in the state to establish a Drug Court program. Drug offenders are subject to screening and evaluation to determine if they have a substance abuse problem. The program uses a model that consists of four phases. Recent data suggests that the Drug Court decreases recidivism by as much as 26%.

Seasoned Defense Attorney for Drug-Related Criminal Cases

Have you been arrested and charged with a drug-related criminal offense in New Jersey? The Lento Law Firm provides aggressive legal representation for clients that deliver positive outcomes. Please contact the office 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.