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Former State Prosecutor and Criminal Trial Attorney

Former State Prosecutor

Former Atlantic County Prosecutor

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Experienced for over 30 years

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Skilled Atlantic County Criminal Attorney Represents Clients Accused of Prescription Drug Offenses in Atlantic City


If you’ve been arrested and charged with a drug crime such as possession of illegal prescription medications or prescription fraud, you need to understand the severity of drug crime charges in New Jersey. Do not fall victim to the mistaken belief that prescription drug offenses are treated less seriously than offenses that involve marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other “hard” drugs. In many cases, the penalties for illegal prescription drugs are just as significant as the penalties for marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

A knowledgeable attorney can help you through this matter and ensure that your rights are protected at every step of the legal process. Contact John W. Tumelty, founding partner of the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty. He is a former state prosecutor and a former assistant county prosecutor who prosecuted major drug crimes in South Jersey. Now he defends clients against a variety of drug crime charges, including possession of illegal prescription medications, prescription fraud, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. You can rely on him to help you fight your prescription drug charges in NJ.

How Severe Are the Prescription Drug Penalties in New Jersey?

Prescription drugs are classified as controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in New Jersey. This means that the State of New Jersey recognizes the serious health risks posed by prescription drugs. Whether you’ve been arrested for illegal possession of painkillers, cough syrups, sleeping pills, antidepressants, or allergy medication, the penalties can be significant. Some of the most commonly used prescription drugs that can result in criminal charges in New Jersey include:

  • Adderall
  • Ambien
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Ritalin
  • Roxicontin
  • Suboxone
  • Valium
  • Vicodin
  • Xanax

NJ Drug Laws are Complex; Mr. Tumelty Will Explain the Facts

The heavy regulation of these and other prescription legend drugs has resulted in significant penalties at both the federal and state levels. In New Jersey, possession of prescription drugs is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5. Here are the facts:

  1. The statute explicitly prohibits a person from carrying certain prescription drugs without a valid prescription.
  2. By law, only licensed physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and pharmacists may possess or distribute these drugs.
  3. If you are caught in possession of prescription drugs but without a valid prescription from a doctor, you can be arrested and potentially charged with a felony drug offense.

The penalties for possession of prescription drugs vary, depending upon the amount of drugs. Mr. Tumelty appears in courtrooms throughout Atlantic County and Cape May County on a daily basis, placing him in direct contact with local prosecutors and judges. He is your best defense when it comes to fighting your prescription drug charges.

If you are the parent of a minor who has been arrested for possession of prescription drugs, you need to take into consideration the adverse impact that a drug crime conviction can have on your child’s future. A drug crime conviction on your child’s permanent record can make it extremely difficult for them to gain admittance into school or secure a job later in life.

What are the Penalties for Prescription Fraud in New Jersey?

NJ law prohibits a person from using fraud, forgery, deception, misrepresentation, or subterfuge to obtain prescription drugs. It is against the law to forge prescriptions, alter prescriptions, or engage in “doctor shopping” by attempting to obtain multiple prescriptions from different doctors. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-13 classifies prescription fraud as a third degree felony. This means that the penalties for prescription fraud in New Jersey may include a term of incarceration of between three and five years in state prison, as well as a fine of up to $50,000. These severe penalties can apply even if you are charged with trying to have someone else fill a prescription on your behalf.

Experienced New Jersey Prescription Fraud Lawyer Fights for Your Legal Rights and Helps You Avoid Significant Drug Crime Penalties

Since painkillers tend to be extremely powerful, it is very easy for a person who has been legally prescribed a pain medication to become addicted. Unfortunately, many NJ prosecutors do not always make allowances for situations in which prescription drug possession was motivated by addiction. That’s why you need a skilled local criminal defense lawyer who is capable of persuading the court that you do not deserve to go to jail.

Mr. Tumelty is a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer whose entire practice is devoted to criminal defense and DWI defense. He has a track record of success in securing acquittals or dismissals for clients accused of prescription drug crimes in South Jersey, including Cape May and Atlantic counties. He has also helped numerous clients avoid prison by gaining admission into alternative sentencing programs that allow the clients to receive drug treatment and counseling instead of the most severe penalties. Contact Mr. Tumelty anytime to discuss your charges, or you can fill out the online contact form to schedule an appointment at his conveniently located Marmora or Somers Point office.

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