Possession of a Controlled Substance
New Jersey Immigration Crimes Attorney
An immigrant that has been convicted of
possession of a controlled substance can face severe penalties, including immigration consequences, such as
deportation. Unfortunately, these can be permanent life-changing consequences.
U.S. immigration law, possession or distribution of controlled substances is not to be taken
lightly. That is why it is vital to obtain legal representation from an
immigration attorney to determine what the best course of action is to
avoid conviction and penalties.
What Are the Penalties for a Drug Conviction?
In order to be found guilty for drug possession, the defendant must knowingly
and unlawfully possess the controlled substance and be aware that the
substance could be used unlawfully. Also taken into account are the amount
of drugs in possession, the type of drug, and the location where the arrest
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 punishes the possession of a controlled substance in
New Jersey, stating that:
- It is unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to
possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance
or controlled substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly,
or pursuant to a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner,
while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as
otherwise authorized by P.L. 1970, c.226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.).
- Any person who violates this section with respect to:
- A controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule
I, II, III or IV other than those specifically covered in this section,
is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding
the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S. 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $35,000.00
may be imposed;
- Any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule
V, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree except that, notwithstanding
the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S. 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $15,000.00
may be imposed;
- Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana, including any adulterants
or dilutants, or more than five grams of hashish is guilty of a crime
of the fourth degree, except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection
b. of N.J.S. 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be imposed; or
- Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana, including any adulterants
or dilutants, or five grams or less of hashish is a disorderly person.
The consequences to an immigrant convicted of drug offenses include some
of the following:
- Ineligibility to obtain lawful permanent residency (Green Card)
Inability to become a
- Inadmissibility to the United States
- Deportation from the United States
- Mandatory detention
Defense Against Drug Crimes & Deportation
The consequences for drug crimes are unforgiving. However, there are several
ways to ensure that you get a fair sentence or get unfair charges dropped.
In order to deport an immigrant, there needs to be a conviction to a crime
of moral turpitude or a crime that contains the elements of possession
of a controlled substance.
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude
Drug crimes are often considered crimes of moral turpitude. The legal definition
of a crime of moral turpitude is an offense that has some degree of recklessness,
willful and deliberate act that the general public might consider to be
reprehensible or shocking to the general public.
These are the following conditions that could lead to deportation:
- Committing a crime of moral turpitude within 5 years of being admitted
to the U.S., and you have received a prison sentence of 1 year or more
- Committing 2 or more crimes of moral turpitude that did not stem from a
single criminal act
Drug-related crimes, including possession of a controlled substance are
not typically considered to be “crimes of moral turpitude,”
and are categorized under separate types of grounds for deportability.
A drug-related crime that is considered an aggravated felony, for example,
would be grounds for removal proceedings. Another example of what would
make a conviction for a drug crime or possession would be if the non-U.S.
citizen had an addiction or was considered a drug abuser.
criminal immigration lawyer may defend his client by negotiating a plea agreement to a lesser included
offense or even a different charge that does not contain the elements
of drugs possession. Other options may include alternative sentencing
programs. Also, a
waiver is available if the immigrant was caught in possession of 30 grams or less.