When someone is arrested for selling marijuana, heroin or another form of controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”) within 500 of a public park, the penalties they face are significantly enhanced. Lawmakers have attempted to provide heightened protection against the distribution of drugs in areas of where children are likely to be present. These measures not only apply to distributing drugs in a school zone but also in proximity to a public park. A conviction for possession with intent to distribute in a public park therefore results in stiffer consequences than would otherwise apply. If you were arrested in South Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Franklin, Somerville, Manville or any other municipality in Somerset County on suspicion of a public park violation, our attorneys can assist you. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall make up one of the largest criminal defense teams in the state and includes several former prosecutors. We have defended thousands of basic to complex CDS trafficking cases over our 100 plus years in combined practice. Call us 24/7 at 908-722-1011 for a free consultation.
Charged With Distributing CDS Within 500 Feet of a Public Park in Somerville
This violation arises out of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 which is captioned “distributing, dispensing or possession of controlled dangerous substances [in] proximity to public housing facilities, parks or buildings”. This law creates a separate criminal offense for selling or possessing cocaine, MDMA or another drug with intent to distribute within 500 feet of a public park or housing facility. The term “public park” is defined as a park, recreational facility or playground that is owned or controlled by a governmental unit. In order to prove the violation, the prosecutor must present a map that shows that the prohibited activities took place within 500 feet of property owned or leased by a housing authority or a public park. A conviction for this offense is a second degree crime except that it is a third degree crime where less than one ounce of marijuana is involved. Second degree distribution in a public park carries a fine of up to $150,000 and 5-10 years in prison. A third degree public park violation can result in 5 years jail and a fine of $15,000. It is no defense to this charge that the accused was unaware that his or her CDS activities were being done within a park or housing project zone. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 does provide for an affirmative defense where the conduct is not “for profit” and does not involve a person seventeen (17) years old or younger.
Somerset County Public Park Violation Attorney
Since all public park charges are indictable in nature, they are only heard at the Somerset County Superior Court located in Somerville NJ or Hunterdon County Superior Court in Flemington. Our staff of skilled criminal attorneys have defended hundreds of heroin and other CDS cases involving allegations of distribution within a public park area. Call us if you were arrested in Readington, Raritan, Hillsborough, Bernards or another municipality in this region. An attorney is available immediately at 908-722-1011 for free consultation.