New Jersey Brimage Guidelines

Former Prosecutors With Decades of Experience Defending Clients Charged With Brimage Eligible Drug Offenses in New Jersey

You are probably doing research because you or a loved one is looking for a New Jersey Criminal Attorney to defend charges for manufacturing, distributing or possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”). More specifically, you want to learn how the Brimage Guidelines impact the drug offense filed in your case. The commentary that follows should provide you with a basic working knowledge concerning the Brimage Guidelines. If you have been charged with drug distribution or another Brimage-eligible offense and are seeking representation, the defense team at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall also stands ready to speak to you in free consultation anytime 24/7. Our attorneys can offer you qualifications that are undoubtedly rare, including:

  • More than 200 years of combined experience representing clients arrested for Brimage related offenses in New Jersey like distributing, selling and intent to distribute CDS
  • 10 lawyers whose work is dedicated exclusively to criminal defense
  • Former county prosecutors that have served as Director of the Drug Task Force, Major Crimes, Special Operations (i.e. economic crimes), Juvenile Unit and even an entire Trial Division
  • Certified criminal trial attorneys

An attorney at our firm welcomes the opportunity to discuss how we can help ensure you reach the very best result in your CDS case.  Call 877-450-8301 to speak to a lawyer with the skill needed to help you. We hope you find the information that follows concerning the Brimage Guidelines of assistance.

What Are The Brimage Guidelines?

The Brimage Guidelines are a set of rules that must be followed by prosecutors when negotiating pleas in cases that are subject to mandatory terms of imprisonment under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-12, including:

  • Leader of a narcotics trafficking network
  • Maintaining or operating a CDS production facility
  • Manufacturing, selling, or possessing CDS with intent to distribute
  • Employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme
  • Distributing CDS in a school zone or public park zone

The guidelines were adopted to ensure uniformity in plea negotiations whenever someone is subject to a Brimage-eligible offense requiring imposition of a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility under Chapter 35 of Title 2C. Prior to the New Jersey Supreme Court decision in State v. Brimage and issuance by the Attorney General of these guidelines, there was a significant disparity in what would normally happen in a case in a high traffic urban county like Essex, Camden, Passaic or Hudson versus one that had less 2C:35-12 eligible charges like Somerset, Monmouth or Ocean. The Supreme Court found it fundamentally unfair that a defendant in one county might to afforded probation and someone in another subject to the entire mandatory term of imprisonment called for by law. The Brimage Guidelines are intended to eliminate this unfairness although most criminal defense attorneys in New Jersey would probably tell you that the guidelines have created another tool for prosecutors to attempt to hammer someone arrested on allegation of selling drugs.

How Do The Brimage Guidelines Work?

The guidelines set forth strict rules in terms of ranges of pleas that may be offered in cases where someone is charged with a Brimage-eligible drug offense. These ranges are set forth in the Table of Authorized Pleas adopted by the Attorney General. Where an individuals falls within the range of permissible pleas that may be offered depends on:

  1. The quantity of CDS and degree of crime;
  2. Whether or not a weapon was involved;
  3. Prior criminal history;
  4. Whether the accused is a repeat offender (i.e. has a prior distribution/intent to distribute offense) subject to an extended term of imprisonment under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6f;
  5. Which Brimage-eligible offense applies (e.g. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, 2C:35-7, 2C:35-7.1, 2C:35-4, 2C:35-6 or 2C:35-3); and
  6. The total score for the aggravating and mitigating factors computed in the Brimage Plea Negotiated Worksheet.

The guidelines set forth a range of parole ineligibility that may be offered based on these factors and which escalates as the case gets closer to trial. The mandatory minimum term required under the Brimage Guidelines is always lowest for Pre-Indictment offers and increases incrementally for the Initial Post-Indictment offer  and then the Final Post-Indictment offer.

Is There A Way To Avoid The Brimage Guidelines?

While the guidelines are relatively strict, an individual can obtain a waiver that allows a departure from the mandatory plea ranges. There are several different bases for securing a waiver including the existence of a substantial proof issue at trial and significant cooperation by the defendant. An individual may also be eligible for a departure because they satisfy the Brimage Standardized Waiver. There is absolutely no doubt that you will require the assistance of a highly skilled lawyer if you want to obtain a waiver on any of these bases.

Brimage Guidelines Defense Attorneys in New Jersey

The complexity of a drug case definitely increases when it falls within the Brimage Guidelines. The computation of where someone falls within the range of permissible pleas, whether they are eligible for a waiver and other issues in this realm make it absolutely necessary to secure representation from the very best New Jersey criminal attorney that you can find. We genuinely believe that the lawyers at our firm have precisely what is required to help you. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall to learn what can be done by one of our accomplished lawyers to avoid the Brimage Guidelines in your CDS case.