Distributing Drugs in a School Zone
Freehold NJ Marijuana Distribution in School Zone Lawyer
It is well known by now that New Jersey as a whole has a serious problem when it comes to the abuse of drugs. Whether that be heroin, cocaine, marijuana, Molly, mushrooms, PCP or prescription drugs like Xanax, Oxycontin or Valium. One of the main ways to combat that problem is to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone and everyone that is alleged to be distributing drugs. In fact, harsher laws were created over years to give the State more leverage when it comes to prosecuting these types of charges. Those laws include the distributing of drugs within a school zone, the distributing of drugs in a park zone, leader of a drug trafficking network and Brimage. Whether you are a college student selling some marijuana at Monmouth University or you were totally unaware of the fact that you were actually in a school zone, the penalties for distributing drug in a school zone are severe and pursuant to Brimage, they require mandatory incarceration.
If you have been charged with distributing marijuana in a school zone, possessing heroin with the intent to distribute in a park zone or the simple possession of marijuana under 50 grams, the lawyers at Proetta & Oliver can help. Our Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys will aggressively challenge the evidence presented against you in order to achieve a favorable outcome. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about your options then please contact us at (732)858-6959. We can sit down and discuss the specific facts of your case and formulate a game plan that works best to achieve your needs. We have been representing clients charged with various different drug offenses in towns throughout Monmouth County for years now. We serve all of Monmouth County including towns like Freehold, Asbury Park, Holmdel, Middletown, Ocean Township, West Long Branch, Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Belmar, Howell, Keansburg and Union Beach. These are serious charges and you should not go about them alone, let one of the attorneys at Proetta & Oliver help. Now here is some key information on distributing a controlled dangerous substance in a school zone in New Jersey.
Asbury Park NJ School Zone Drug Distribution Attorneys
As touched upon earlier, additional laws have been enacted over the years in an effort to combat the drug issues that New Jersey as a whole suffers from. One of those laws was the distribution of a controlled dangerous substance in a school zone. This offense is governed by NJSA 2C:35-7. The statute in essence seeks to give prosecutors the ability to tack on additional charges to anyone alleged to have distributed drugs within 1000 feet of a school zone. It states in pertinent part that:
Any person who violates by distributing or dispensing a controlled dangerous substance while on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of any school property or school bus, or while on any school bus, is guilty of a crime.
So in order to be convicted of distributing drugs in a school zone, the State must prove:
- The evidence in question is a controlled dangerous substance (CDS);
- That the Defendant distributed the CDS;
- In doing so, the Defendant acted knowingly or purposely; &
- The distribution occurred within 1000 feet of any:
- On or within 1,000 feet of any school property;
- On or within 1,000 feet of a school bus.
What is a School Property?
A school property has been defined as:
- Any property that is used for school purposes; &
- That is owned by or leased to any:
- Elementary school,
- Secondary school or
- School board.
Pursuant to State v. Ivory, the jury themselves must determine whether or not the property in question qualifies as a school property. In other words, they will have to decide what the actual purpose of the property is. They will look to see if “regularly, consistently, and actually used for school purposes, and whether the property’s appearance would give an objectively reasonable person reason to know that it was used regularly, consistently, and actually for school purposes.”
It is also important to note here that it will not be considered a valid defense to this charge that no children were present on the school property at the time of the offense, or that the school was not in session at the time of the offense.
How to Defend School Zone Distribution Charges in NJ?
It will be considered an affirmative defense to a school zone charge that the entire crime took place within a private residence. Like all affirmative defense, the burden shifts to the defense to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following elements:
- That the offense took place entirely within a private residence;
- That during the commission of the offense no one under the age of 18 was present; &
- The offense was not committed for profit.
This affirmative defense only applies to the drug distribution charge in a school zone. It will not be considered a valid defense if the Defendant is also charged with distributing drugs under NJSA 2C:35-5.
Will I go to Jail for Distributing Drugs in a School Zone in NJ?
Anyone charged under this section of the New Jersey criminal code will be facing a third degree felony offense. A crime of the third degree is punishable by anywhere from three to five years in a State Prison, a fine up to $35,000, a felony criminal record, community service, license suspension, court mandated drug treatment, probation and a license loss. Although most third degree crimes retain a presumption against incarceration, the Brimage Guidelines mandate mandatory incarceration of this type of offense. Brimage Guidelines were enacted in an effort to create uniformity within the way each county prosecutes individuals arrested and charged with distributing drugs. For more information on Brimage and how the guidelines could affect your case, please contact our office at (732)858-6959.
Drug Distribution Defense Lawyers in Howell NJ
As you can see from reading above these are very serious offenses in New Jersey and they carry life changing consequences if convicted. These types of charges should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute or marijuana distribution, in Monmouth County, we can help. The attorneys at Proetta & Oliver have been defending clients accused of this type of offense in courts throughout Monmouth County for years. We serve towns like Hazlet, Manalapan, Freehold Township, Asbury Park, Middletown, Keyport, Atlantic Highlands and Marlboro. Our attorneys are available immediately for a free consultation.