Pemberton NJ Distribution in a School Zone Attorney
Although most individuals understand the risks associated with selling drugs, few appreciate when these activities are happening within 1,000 of school property. This can be a serious oversight as this area is considered a drug free school zone that is afforded enhanced protection under New Jersey Law. When someone is charged and/or indicted for distributing drugs in school zone, they face a separate charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 on top of the underlying marijuana, MDMA, heroin or other distribution charge. This additional offense applies even if the accused had no knowledge or intention to sell the CDS in a school zone. If you were arrested for selling drugs in a school zone, this is absolutely a situation that requires representation by an attorney and preferably one with considerable experience defending N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 cases. At our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we are lucky enough to have several former prosecutors and defense attorneys with over 20 years in practice. Our team is ready to invest its knowledge and other resources to effectively defend your Mt. Holly, Mt. Laurel, Florence, Bordentown or Medford charge. An attorney in our Mt. Laurel Office is available immediately to address your questions and concerns. Call us at (856) 234-8900.
Distribution of Drugs In A School Zone Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7
As previously stated, a separate criminal charge arises in New Jersey whenever CDS is being sold within a school zone. A similar scenario arises for possession with intent to distribute within 500 feet of a public park. The additional offense we are referring to is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 and provides that:
- Any person who violates subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5 by distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property or a school bus, or while on any school bus, is guilty of a crime of the third degree and shall, except as provided in N.J.S. 2C:35-12, be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment. Where the violation involves less than one ounce of marijuana, the term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. In all other cases, the term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or three years, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S. 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $150,000 may also be imposed upon any conviction for a violation of this section.
You will note from this law that, unlike a regular distribution offense, this charge carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. What this means is that anyone convicted under 2C:35-7 is required to serve some period of imprisonment. The range of incarceration is to be set by the court at one-third to one-half of the prison sentence imposed but never less than one (1) year for cases involving less than one (1) ounce of marijuana and three (3) years for all other drugs. There is also a fine of up to $150,000 that may be imposed.
Selling Drugs in a School Zone Defense Lawyers, Willingboro NJ
Given the severity of the penalties provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, you are well advised to seek an attorney. You will certainly need a lawyer who is skilled and creative in order to avoid jail, obtain a downgrade or dismissal, and/or gain admission into Drug Court. The attorney at our Mt. Laurel firm have this skill set. We know how to identify and persuasively argue search and seizure, Miranda, and other issues in trafficking cases like yours. Call us now to discuss the facts surrounding your school zone arrest in Evesham, Burlington City, Maple Shade, Westhampton or Mansfield. An attorney is available now at (856) 234-8900.