NJ N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1. SELL OR DISTRIBUTE IN PUBLIC PARK OR HOUSING PROJECT
Facing Legal Action for Drug Possession or Distribution in NJ Public Parks or Housing Projects
Individuals caught violating N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 by possessing or distributing drugs, including controlled substances and substance analogs around public housing facilities and parks are at risk of harsh legal penalties. To avoid confusion regarding the severity of this offense, it is necessary to review all provisions of NJ law using various resources available on this subject.
Penalty Provisions and Other Information
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 specifically makes it illegal to possess or distribute any type of drug in real property comprising public parks or within a 500ft radius from buildings belonging to these properties. Violating subsection a of N.J.S 2C:35-5 by distributing or possessing controlled substances with intent to sell within the designated radius surrounding public parks, buildings, or housing projects is classified as a second-degree crime.
Though the violation consists only of possessing or distributing less than one ounce of marijuana, it still amounts to a third-degree crime. Ignorance of such prohibited conduct occurring within 500ft radius from public housing facilities, parks, or other buildings does not represent a viable defense following an arrest under this section.
A conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 does not merge with convictions for violating subsection a under either N.J.S.2C:35-5 or N.J.S.2C:35-6 nor limit possible prosecution related to contravening offenses found in Chapter Two C.
During trial proceedings conducted as per this section’s requirements, maps recently created by municipal/county engineers designed for determining the boundaries and location of areas within 500 feet proximity range surrounding public building housing projects and/or other official building structures shall constitute prima facie evidence upon convenient authentication processes.
The municipality and county’s governing body must have approved the map as an official record via adopting a resolution or ordinance. However, prosecutors can still introduce and rely upon other evidence and testimonies to substantiate any violation of these offenses as required by relevant NJ laws.
Furthermore, an affirmative defense to prosecution exists for any illegal conduct prohibited by this section that did not involve controlled substance distribution or possession for sale purposes or distributing controlled substances to children under 18 years of age. The defendant must prove their affirmative defense using a preponderance of the evidence requirements.
Understanding Key Terms
To gain better insight into an accused’s situation having breached N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 provisions, it is crucial to understand specific keywords in the challenged statute.
Public Housing Facilities refers to low-income accommodation structures connected structures, buildings or facilities associated with them whose landlords are local housing authorities complying with The Local Redevelopment and Housing Law P.L.1992 c.79(C.40A:12A-1 et seq.).
Public park is used to describe public control areas meant for recreational activities within local, state or county governmental jurisdiction.
The term Public Building refers to all public libraries or museums leased/owned by the government entity concerned.
Seek Competent Defense Counsel Services
Offending NJ code provisions covering N.J.S.A 2C:35-7.1 carries immensely far-reaching implications whenever detected during legal investigations and criminal court hearings phase.
Therefore, immediately seeking out expert legal counsel from seasoned law firms such as Spodek Law Group led by Todd Spodek ensures your rights remain protected all through your trial phases including appeal processes if earlier conviction outcomes do not go your way.
Contact his law offices today and get started with a free comprehensive consultation session tailored entirely towards safeguarding you against possible legal penalties concerning this charge.
Table Showing NJ Legal Penalties Related To Drug Distribution
Charge Quantity Prison Time Fine
Disorderly Persons Offense Less than 1 oz of Marijuana Up to 6 months Up to $1,000
4th-degree Crime More than 1 oz of Marijuana up to 18 months up to $25,000
3rd-degree Crime Less than 1/2oz of Cocaine Up to 5 years Up to $35,000
2nd-degree Crime Between 1/2ounce-5oz of Cocaine Up to 10 years Up to $150,000
1st-degree Crime Over five ounces of Cocaine 10-20 years up To $500,000
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