Distribution In A Public Park

Camden Public Park Charge Attorneys

The NJ Criminal Code exposes an individual to a separate drug distribution offense when the conduct occurs within 500 feet of a public park or housing project. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1, it is a second-degree crime for anyone to violate 2C:35-5 (“distributing, dispensing or possessing CDS with the intent to distribute) within 500 feet of “a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building.” When someone is convicted at the Camden County Superior Court of violating N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1, they face not only the typical fines and jail that result from distributing drugs but also this additional second-degree offense too. This scenario certainly is not something to be tackled without the benefit of an attorney and preferably one with considerable experience defending more complicated cocaine, MDMA, marijuana, heroin, and other CDS cases. At our Camden County firm, The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we can offer you the benefit of one of the largest defense teams in the state and a staff that includes multiple former prosecutors. Call us any time of day or night at 856-662-8300 for a free consultation.

Public Park Violation In Pennsauken, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township or Another Town In Camden County

To understand this offense, one needs to know how the law defines the public zone protected under N.J.S.A. 2c:35-7.1. For purposes of this law, public housing facility means any dwelling, complex of dwellings, accommodation, building, structure or facility and real property of any nature appurtenant thereto and used in connection therewith, which is owned by or leased to a local housing authority in accordance with the “Local Redevelopment and Housing Law,” for the purpose of providing living accommodations to persons of low income. The term “public park” means a park, recreation facility or area or playground owned or controlled by a State, county or local government unit. Lastly, public building means any publicly owned or leased library or museum for the purposes of this statute. If you are found to be within 500 feet of any qualifying structures, whether it be a public housing facility, public park, or public building, it is no defense to this crime that you were unaware that you were within the 500 foot prohibited zone. Furthermore, a violation of this section cannot merge other charges, including a distribution offense brought in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. This means that anyone caught selling CDS in violation of this law faces the penalties prescribed for this offense and, on top of it, those that apply for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, heroin, marijuana, MDMA or another drug under 2C:35-5. The only affirmative defense to this violation is that the distribution was not for profit and did not involve any minors. It is up to the defendant to prove this defense by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it is more likely than not true. This is a much lesser burden than of the prosecution, namely, to prove each and every element of the crime beyond reasonable doubt.

Penalties That Will Apply To Your Camden, Lindenwold, Winslow or Voorhees Public Park Charge

Distribution of heroin or controlled dangerous substances like MDMA, prescription drugs and cocaine within 500 feet of a public structure (e.g. public park) is a serious offense which can lead to incarceration for between 5 and 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000. The only time that the violation can result in lesser penalties is where the intent to distribute involves less than one ounce of marijuana. In that limited context, a violation of 2C:35-7.1 is a third-degree crime that results in up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000. With penalties as extreme as these, particularly when they are being imposed on top of a normal distribution charge, you cannot afford to proceed without a good lawyer. Here at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have over 100 years of collective experience defending against criminal charges in Camden County, including these types of controlled dangerous substance charges. Our attorneys are skilled in identifying wholes in a prosecutor’s case and how to exploit them to best serve the interests of our clients. To learn what we can do for you or your loved one, call us for a free consultation.