The Former Prosecutors & Skilled Attorneys In Our Jersey City Office Include A Former Drug Task Force Director Who Are Ready To Defend Your CDS Charge
Beyond any charges one may face for possession or distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (“CDS”), a separate offense, which may not be merged, occurs if a controlled dangerous substance is distributed or possessed unlawfully within a school zone. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, a person is guilty of distribution of a CDS if they possess with intent to distribute any CDS 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. The New Jersey legislature has made this a crime of the third degree which, depending on the type of drugs and amount involved, could extend to five years of incarceration and at least one year of parole ineligibility. Our Hudson County NJ heroin distribution in a school zone defense lawyers at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall has the knowledge to successfully protect your rights. Our office has over 100 years of cumulative experience on staff. Our eight Hudson County drug distribution defense lawyers have been representing defendant’s charged with various drug charges in towns like Weehawken, Secaucus, Hoboken, Jersey City, West New York and Bayonne for over fifteen years. If you would like to speak to any one of our eight criminal defense lawyers, please contact our Jersey City office at (201) 309-1800. Initial consultations are always free. Now here is some important information on the offense of distributing drugs in a school zone in Hudson County.
How Can I Avoid Imprisonment for Distribution of Drugs?
While first-time offenders are typically permitted to enter Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”), individuals without a squeaky clean record may be facing a mandatory period of incarceration and parole ineligibility. The period of parole ineligibility directly correlates to the type and amount of drugs involved. Specifically, where the defendant was in possession/distributed less than one (1) ounce of marijuana, the minimum term fixed of incarceration is at or between one-third (1/3) and one-half (1/2) of the sentence imposed or one (1) year, whichever is greater. For all other controlled dangerous substances, the minimum term is fixed at or between one-third (1/3) and one-half (1/2) of the sentence imposed or three (3) years, whichever is greater. Also, Graves Act may have an impact at sentencing if the defendant was in possession of or threatened use of a firearm during the course of committing the distribution of drugs. If convicted, the defendant will also be facing a substantial fine, not to exceed $150,000, in addition to any term of imprisonment. A defendant must also be aware of what is known as the Brimage Guidelines. For more information on Brimage, please click here.
Jersey City NJ Distributing Heroin in a School Zone Defense Lawyer
However, all is not lost. Depending on your advocating skills, the judge may be inclined to waive or reduce the minimum term of parole ineligibility by analyzing specific factors set forth by the New Jersey Legislature. First, the court may analyze the extent of the defendant’s prior criminal record and the gravity of any prior convictions. Second, the may look at the proximity the current offense to a school property and what type of exposure the defendant may have placed nearby schoolchildren in by his or her actions. Lastly, the court will determine whether children were present at or in the immediate vicinity of the location when the offense took place. While drug distribution charges are a specific intent crime, the enhancement for distributing within a school zone does not require any additional mens rea. What this means is that regardless of whether or not you are aware of your location, the Prosecutor may charge you for distribution within a school zone.
Powerful Hudson County Criminal Defense Firm
The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall has eight criminal defense attorneys on staff, making our office one of the largest criminal defense firms in New Jersey, let alone Hudson County. If you or a loved one has been charged with distributing marijuana in a school zone or possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute in a school zone, the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. If you would like to discuss your matter in more depth with any one of our criminal defense attorneys, please contact our Jersey City office at (201) 309-1800.