So, most likely, the offense you have been charged with is Possession of a Dangerous Controlled Substance. Assuming the amount is minimal, the offense would be a third degree felony.
Third degree felonies are punishable by jail time of 3 to 5 years and a fine of up to $15,000. However, the key term here is punishable ( this means that the law allows jail time, but is not required).
In fact, for first time "small amount" offenses, there is a presumption that probation is the best outcome. Probation would be an alternative to jail time. Also, again depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to reach an agreement with prosecutors for a plea deal that involves a pre-trial diversion or deferred prosecution outcome.
Pre-trial diversion/deferred prosecution programs are generally reserved for first time offenders. The program consists of a period in which a person must comply with certain court requirements (i.e., paying any fines/fees, staying out of trouble, completing drug classes, community service, refraining from the use of controlled substances, etc). At the end of the pre-trial period, if all requirements are met, the Court will dismiss the charges. The key distinction between these programs and probation is that probation constitutes a conviction on a person's record, while pre-trial diversion does not constitute a conviction.
So, in essence, while the offense is punishable by jail time, for most first time offenders with small amount of controlled substances, the outcome is usually probation or a pre-trial diversion which allows the person to avoid jail time and possibly avoid a formal conviction on their record.
Any questions based on this?