Methadone is a legal narcotic, prescribed by a physician to treat drug addictions. The most common addiction it is prescribed for is a heroin addiction. When prescribed in this capacity, it eases withdrawal symptoms, which allows addicts to recover from their addition. It can also be legally prescribed to treat a morphine addiction, for much the same reason.
However, methadone, in and of itself, is highly habit forming and should only be administrated under a doctor’s care. Taking methadone without a prescribed course of treatment and correct dosage from your doctor can lead to an addition every bit as dangerous and as illegal as an illegal drug addiction.
Methadone Charges in NJ: Distribution, Prescription Forgery and Possession
The most common cause of methadone-related charges are when an individual or group of individuals are charged with distribution of or creation of a forged prescription for methadone. In addition, a person can be charged with illegal possession of methadone if it is found on him or her and they are not currently being treated by a doctor with this prescription drug.
Methadone is known by a number of nicknames, code names and street names. Some common aliases for methadone are jungle juice, the done, water, cookies and methadose. People who offer you one of these drugs are offering you illegal methadone which was most likely obtained by fraudulent or forged prescriptions.
Illegal Methadone Charges and Penalties
A third degree methadone charge consists of creating a fraudulent prescription or having on your body less than 100 units of methadone. You can be fined up to $100,000 and may face five years in prison. A second degree methadone charge, which can involve having 100 or more units, a forged prescription and an intent to sell or distribute methadone can result up to ten years in prison. There will also be a fine levied that can be over $100,000 dollars.
Both charges will remain on a criminal record and be treated as drug charges as well as forgery charges in the state of NJ.
Legal Methadone Charges and Penalties
Just because methadone can be legally prescribed by a doctor, it does not mean that there are not consequences for actions committed while under the influence of this opiate based drug. You can be charged with a crime if you sell or distribute your legally prescribed dose of methadone to another person.
Legal Methadone and DWI Charges
Additionally, if you are under the influence of methadone while operating a vehicle, you can be charged with narcotic based DWI. A dose of methadone can remain in your system for up to twenty four hours, depending on the dosage prescribed. Even if you have legally been prescribed methadone, you cannot take it and operate a vehicle. Since you are under the influence of a drug, even though it is a legal drug, it is considered unsafe in NJ for you to operate a car or other dangerous machinery. This would be akin to driving a car while under the influence of alcohol or another illegal drug. Your judgment is impaired and so you are driving recklessly.
DWI charges, including but not limited to the suspension of your license and fines, can be issued for this offense.
Villani & DeLuca are Here to Help
Are you currently taking methadone as part of a prescribed course of treatment by a licensed physician? Contact our offices if you have been charged with a narcotic-based DWI offense.
Have you or a family member been charged with illegal possession of methadone? Have you or a loved one been charged with prescription fraud or forgery of methadone? Have you been charged with selling or distributing your legally prescribed methadone? Have you been distributing illegal methadone? Our office is here to help you fight the charges.
Call Villani & DeLuca, serving Ocean County and Monmouth County, to speak with a lawyer regarding questions you have about methadone and the related charges and penalties. We can lend the voice of experience to your individual scenario.