Controlled Dangerous Substances in Somerset County NJ School Zones

Contact Our Somerville Office To Speak To A Highly Accomplished Somerset County Drug Distribution Lawyer

A charge for distribution or possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute in New Jersey is extraordinarily serious. However, these cases become increasingly detrimental if the alleged offense occurred in a school zone. Under the law, a “school zone” charge is issued in addition to a charge such as marijuana distribution in Somerset County and the penalties associated with each of these offenses must be not be merged. School zone charges, which may apply when the alleged offense occurred within 1,000 feet of a school zone or school bus, may result in a mandatory term of incarceration with a minimum period of parole ineligibility. Further, the State does not consider it a valid defense that the defendant was unaware that he or she was in a prohibited area. Essentially, as enforced under “strict liability,” lack of knowledge is no defense.

With such severe potential consequences hanging over your head, it is essential to enlist experienced and proactive legal counsel. Having successfully represented thousands of clients during our decades in practice, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the knowledge and skill to navigate these tumultuous situations. Our ability to secure favorable outcomes has earned us a coveted reputation and we are often called upon as legal resources by widely circulated publications, including USA Today, The Asbury Park Press, and The Star Ledger. When we hire our firm, you can place your confidence in a team of attorneys who put all of their energy, time, and resources to work for you. There is also no doubting the rare and exceptional credentials of those at the firm, including our:

  • 200 years of combined experience defending CDS distribution charges at the Somerset County Superior Court in Somerville New Jersey
  • Ten (10) lawyers that specialize exclusively in criminal defense
  • Former county prosecutors that have served as Director of the Drug Task Force, Major Crimes, Juvenile Division and an entire Trial Division
  • Certified criminal trial attorneys
  • An office conveniently located directly across from the county courthouse on Grove Street

We realize just how confused and possibly overwhelmed you may be feeling but we know we can help you. Call our Somerville Office at 908-206-4238 to discuss your case, an upcoming initial appearance or detention hearing, or any other issue you may be facing.

Controlled Dangerous Substances Near or on School Property in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7

The law regarding controlled dangerous substances near or on school property is outlined in subsection N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which provides the following:

Any person who violates subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5 by distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog 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, is guilty of a crime of the Third Degree (punishable by a term of incarceration between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison) and shall, except as provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12 (Waiver of Mandatory Minimum and Extended Terms), be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment.

Where the violation involves less than one ounce of marijuana, the term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. In all other cases, the term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or three years, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. A fine of up to $150,000.00 may also be imposed upon any conviction for a violation of this section.

Somerset County NJ Drug Charges in School Zones Defense Attorneys

As dictated by the aforementioned statute, a typical school zone drug offense is classified as a third degree crime, punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison. Notably, these crimes are also punishable by a fine of up to $150,000–an extraordinarily sum for most. In addition, this offense entails a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility ranging from 1/3 to 1/2 of the sentence imposed or 3 years, whichever is greater. In cases wherein the substance involved is marijuana in a quantity of one ounce or less, the minimum term of parole ineligibility is between 1/3 and 1/2 of the sentence imposed or 1 year, whichever is greater.

The court may be compelled to waive the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment if the defense can establish certain mitigating factors, which may include the defendant’s criminal history (or lack thereof) and the presence (or absence) of children at the time of the offense. The potential for a waiver is not available if the defendant commits or threatens to commit an act of violence at the time of the offense or if he or she has a prior conviction for a drug distribution offense.

Contact Our Somerville Office To Speak To A Talented CDS Lawyer Immediately

The significance of charges for drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute in a school zone cannot be under-emphasized. The offense always involves exposure to a state prison sentence and sometimes even a decade or more of incarceration. This is why selecting an attorney who is highly experienced and accomplished is so important.  Contact The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall in Somerville New Jersey and we will immediately begin devising a strategy for effectively confronting the allegations against you.