NJ POSSESSING, DISTRIBUTING, OR SELLING DRUGS IN A SCHOOL ZONE CHARGES
Possessing, distributing, or selling drugs in a school zone is a serious offense that can have significant consequences. If you find yourself facing charges related to this crime in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Morris County, Union County, Bergen County, Hudson County, Essex County, or Passaic County, it’s crucial to seek legal help from experienced attorneys like Todd Spodek. Our team of lawyers has over 100 years of cumulative experience and includes former prosecutors with significant knowledge about drug cases. We’re available anytime at 212-300-5196 to answer your questions and provide personalized legal advice.
Understanding N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7
New Jersey Statue Annotated (N.J.S.A.) 2C:35-7 outlines the law that governs charges related to possessing and distributing drugs within a school zone. This statute provides that “any person who violates [N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5] by possessing with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance [or controlled substance analog] 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 of the third degree and shall…be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment.” In simple terms, this law states that selling drugs near a school comes with significant punishment, including making it a separate offense with no eligibility for parole.
Elements of Offense
To obtain a conviction for violating N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 charges relating to drug distribution in a school zone require proof of two elements. First off; the conduct must take place on specific areas like elementary schools or high schools properties or within one thousand feet around these schools’ zones during their operational hours or when educational events are planned. Secondly, the area must have actual school purposes.
Presenting a School Zone Map
According to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7(f), involving drug distribution within the 1,000-foot zone requires presenting a school zone map as evidence during trial proceedings. However, the related chart is only valid for this purpose if it was approved as a drug-free zone by resolution or ordinance of the municipal or county governing body.
Lack of Knowledge Irrelevant
Regardless of intent or knowledge of committing crimes in prohibited zones, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 imposes criminal liability on offenders under strict liability statutes even without having prior knowledge that they were selling drugs in a prohibited zone. Hence, if an attempted sale or sale occurred within the school zone but unaware, it suffices under this statute.
Merger Does Not Apply
Offenses relating to distributing controlled substances (CDS) and a school zone charge are separate offenses not subject to merger despite NJ’s laws allowing it. Subsection (c) prohibits merging drug distribution convictions with violations of N.J.S.A.2C:35-7.
Penalties and Sentence for Drug Distribution in A School Zone
If convicted for violating N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 due to drug possession and distribution issues within a school zone in New Jersey, an offender will face serious penalties like imprisonment terms that differ depending on the degree charged against them as follows:
– A third-degree charge results in imposing no more than five years jail time.
– A second-degree charge triggers imprisonments lasting five to ten years.
-A first-degree charge requires lengthy penalties ranging from ten and twenty years.
Additionally, persons accused also risk fines of up to $150,000 if found guilty upon conviction.
Minimum Term and Parole Ineligibility
An individual facing charges may get parole after serving a minimum and maximum term duration after conviction, depending on their crime degree. However, the offense carries a minimum parole ineligibility period ranging between one-half and one-third of the imposed sentence or three years, whichever is greater. Although there are some exceptions with cases that involve an ounce or less of marijuana with a reduced minimal period to one year.
If the defendant’s previous record shows drug possession or distribution convictions, using or threatening violence, possession of firearms,schoolchildren’s endangerment; then there will be no possibility of waiver of mandatory imprisonment terms after considering various factors.
Why Choose Todd Spodek Law Group
Drug distribution within school zones carries severe consequences; however, hiring legal help from experienced lawyers like those at Todd Spodek Law Firm provides you an opportunity for the outcome in such instances. We have successfully dealt with numerous legal cases and can help navigate your case towards a favorable resolution.To learn more about how our team can provide assistance for your charges of possessing, distributing, selling drugs in school zones across different New Jersey countries, please contact us today at 212-300-5196. Let us help safeguard your rights while also ensuring fair legal representation throughout the proceedings.
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