Out-of-State Prescription Laws in New Jersey
Traveling over state borders with medication can be a little risky, even when the medication you are carrying is legally prescribed. But when someone is caught carry medication that does not belong to them, it is considered a major crime, and can be punishable by jail time. In most cases though, people are able to carry prescription drugs over state lines, as long as they can prove the prescription is in fact theirs, and has been prescribed to them. Knowing your rights when traveling with a prescription medication can be very important, especially if you have been convicted of an illegal possession of a prescription drug.
In New Jersey, like most other states, you are allowed to bring in medication from another state as long as you have a prescription under your name for the drug you are carrying. In some cases, though, someone may have trouble proving the prescription is theirs, and this can lead to some problems with law enforcement. For example, under N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-24, if you don’t keep your prescription medication within the original container, you can be charged with a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. However, if you are able to provide a police officer with the name and address of the pharmacist or doctor that prescribed you the medication, and if you have no more than a ten day supply of the medication on you, then (depending on the drug) you may be safe from conviction of illegal possession. But this is a big risk to take. If you are traveling with your prescription medication for any reason, it would be in your best interest to keep it in its original container which lists all of your personal and identifying information.
On the other hand, if you are found to have knowingly possessed a prescription drug without a valid prescription, then you could be facing some pretty serious penalties in New Jersey. If you are caught carrying an illegal prescription in the amount of four or fewer dosage units, than you will be charged with a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey (which is equivalent to a misdemeanor crime). However, if an officer finds that you contained the same amount of drug with the intentions of distributing it, then you can be charged with a fourth degree crime. Fourth degree offenses generally lead to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000. If you are accused of distributing for financial gain or possessing with the intent to distribute five to 100 doses of a prescription drug, you can be charged with a Third Degree crime and a fine up to $100,000. If you are found guilty of intent to distribute for financial gain or possesses with the intent to distribute 100 or more doses of a prescription drug, you can be charged with a Second Degree crime and a fine up to $300,000.
A more recent issue having to do with bringing prescription medications over state lines, has to do with medicinal marijuana. It can be a challenge to travel to New Jersey for medical marijuana patients. This is because even with a prescription, medical marijuana patients cannot legally bring their prescription into the state. According to unitedpatientsgroup.com, patients should note these guidelines:
- States without medical marijuana laws, like New Jersey, can arrest patients under possession laws, even if the patient is registered in their home state.
- Federal authorities can arrest patients under federal drug trafficking laws if medical marijuana crosses state lines.
In states like New Jersey – that do not accept marijuana as legal – this means that you cannot take marijuana into that state; period. Simply put, if you are being prescribed medical marijuana and plan on leaving the state it is prescribed in, you should be sure to check with the state or states that you plan on visiting before traveling with your prescription. New Jersey is one such state that will not allow you to travel with your prescription at all.
If you or a loved one has been charged with illegal possession of a prescription drug, it is important to contact an attorney right away to discuss your legal options. At the Law Offices of John Tumelty, Mr. Tumelty is a sole practitioner and personally handles every case that comes into his office. He will personally be by your side during the entire case working toward an expeditious and favorable resolution for you. For a free consultation, you can call Mr. Tumelty’s office toll-free at 609-390-4600 or send him an e-mail via his online contact form.