Distribution of Drugs with 500 Feet of a Park or Housing Complex

Hudson County Drug Distribution within 500ft of Public Housing Lawyers

The New Jersey legislature made it a point to penalize certain types of drug possession and/or distribution cases in the State of New Jersey harsher then the norm. For instance, distribution of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a designated school zone enhances the penalties an individual will face as compared to any other general marijuana distribution charge. As will be discussed here, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1, any person who violates N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 by distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while in, on or within 500 feet of the real property comprising a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building is guilty of a crime of the second degree, except where the person is in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, then it is only a crime of the third degree. In a county like Hudson, where there are densely populated metropolitan areas, it is very easy to unintentionally find yourself within 500 feet of a public housing facility, park or other building. Moreover, simply driving by one of these areas with a dime bags can expose you to a third degree indictable offense! Our team of Hudson County, New Jersey heroin distribution defense lawyers at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall understand how severe these charges are and how much attention needs to be paid too them in order to avoid life changing consequences. If you or someone you know has been charged with a marijuana distribution, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute in towns like Jersey City, Harrison, North Bergen, Kearny, Secaucus or Hoboken, we can help. If you would like a free initial consultation with any one of our eight Hudson County NJ criminal defense lawyers, please contact our Jersey City office directly at (201) 309-1800. Now here is some key information on the offense of distributing heroin with in 500 feet of a public housing project.

What is a “Public Place” under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1?

As you may have noticed, these “public places” may seem to refer to a rather ambiguous location. However, the legislature made sure to specifically describe these areas within the statute. Public housing facility is defined as “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”. Public park is defines as “a park, recreation facility or area or playground owned or controlled by a State, county or local government unit”. Lastly public building is defined as “any publicly owned or leased library or museum for the purposes of this statute”.

What may be most troubling for young individuals charged with this offense is that it is irrelevant whether or not you were aware of the fact that you were within 500 feet of a qualifying “public place”. Additionally, a violation of this section of the criminal code cannot be merged with other offenses committed. This means that you can be charged with possession with intent to distribute and with this offense at the same time. In the aggregate, this can lead to long drawn out prison sentences.

What are the Penalties for Possession or Distribution of CDS within 500 feet of Certain Public Property?

Regardless of whether such a defense exists, though, possession or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance within 500 feet of these public structures is a serious offense in Hudson County, which may carry a term of imprisonment anywhere between 5 and 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000, if convicted of the third degree crime. Moreover, these charges may require a term of parole ineligibility if a firearm was used during the commission of the crime.

Hudson County NJ Drug Defense Lawyers

The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall has eight Hudson County criminal defense attorneys on staff, making our office one of the largest in the State let alone Hudson County. If you have been charged with distributing drugs within 500 feet of a public housing project in Hudson County, we can help. If you would like to discuss your matter in depth, please contact our Jersey City office directly at (201) 309-1800.