A common twist in a distribution of heroin case arises where the drugs are sold within 1000 feet of a school zone or 500 feet of a public park. If you have been charged with selling heroin in a school zone under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (“Distribution on or within 1,000 feet of a school property”) or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 (“Violation of N.J.S.a. 2C:35-5, certain locations; degree of crime; terms defined”), you definitely need to take the offense seriously. The following are the important dynamics of these violations that you should know. If you would like to speak to a lawyer at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall in a free initial consultation because you have been arrested for distributing heroin in the City of Camden, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Stratford, Winslow or another municipality, do not hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation.
Distributing Heroin in a School Zone
An additional offense that someone can face for distributing heroin is contained at 2C:35-7. This is a separate third-degree crime that not only results in a fine of up to $150,000 but also a mandatory minimum prison term. More specifically, a defendant found guilty of selling heroin within 1,000 feet of property owned or leased by a school and used for school purposes, must go to prison for at least one-third of the term of imprisonment imposed or three years, whichever is more. An individual sentenced under this law cannot be considered for parole until this period of ineligibility is satisfied. In addition, this violation cannot be merged into a heroin distribution offense under 2C:35-5.
Distribution of Heroin in a Public Park Zone
When someone distributes or possesses heroin with the intent to distribute it within 500 feet of property comprising a public park or housing project, they are exposed to the penalties set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1. It is no defense to this charge that the accused was unaware of his/her presence in a public park or housing project zone. Possession with intent to distribute heroin in this protected area is a second-degree crime. The penalties for this offense include 5-10 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $150,000. It is presumed under the law that a defendant will be sentenced to some term of imprisonment if convicted of this violation.
There clearly is a significant escalation in the complexity of heroin charges when distribution occurs in either a school zone or public park zone. The penalties are much more serious and can easily result in years of incarceration. This is one of several reasons why you should consider calling a skilled attorney like those at our Cherry Hill Criminal Firm. We have defended countless offenses like yours. Whether you were arrested in Pennsauken, Haddon Township, Bellmawr or another town in Camden County, our lawyers have the experience you need.