Matawan NJ Distribution of CDS in a School Zone Defense Attorneys
New Jersey lawmakers are particularly attentive to laws intended to protect children and as such, have implemented a number of laws to enhance penalties for certain crimes committed within a school zone. These charges can range from driving while intoxicated to certain drug offenses, including distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a school zone. Notably, a “school zone” as defined under New Jersey law, is purposefully expansive, to include any property that is owned by or leased by an elementary school or school board, school buses, and any premises utilized for school purposes. In addition, these charges can be levied against any person who commits the offense within 1,000 feet of school property, regardless of whether or not the individual was aware of their proximity to the school in question.
When charged with a school zone drug offense, you are faced with increasingly severe penalties, which must be imposed in addition to any other penalties issued in connection with other charges for which you are found guilty. In other words, if you are convicted of heroin distribution as well as heroin distribution in a school zone, the court may impose one penalty for each charge, which you are required to serve consecutively, meaning one sentence must be completed before the next begins. Further, school zone offenses entail a mandatory minimum period of incarceration, making it unlikely to avoid prison time in the majority of these cases if you are ultimately found guilty.
Clearly, a charge for drug distribution in a school zone has potentially life-altering consequences for you and those you love. When the stakes are as high as these, it is essential to ensure that you are thoroughly protected. The highly knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh have been zealously advocating for clients in Monmouth County for over 50 years. Partner Charles J. Uliano, who heads our criminal department, is among only 43 attorneys (out of 80,000) in the state of New Jersey who hold dual Certifications from the New Jersey Supreme Court in both Civil and Criminal Law. His extensive work in courts at the federal, state and local levels has served as an invaluable asset to our clients, allowing us to address the most complex and serious of cases. To discuss your case with one of our skilled legal professionals, contact our West Long Branch office today at 732-440-3950.
Controlled Dangerous Substances Near or On School Property in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7
The crime of Drug Distribution or Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) in a school zone is outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which provides:
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 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.
Penalties for Drug Distribution in New Jersey School Zones
As delineated in the aforementioned statute, the penalties associated with a conviction for distribution of CDS in a school zone are contingent upon the substance involved in the alleged offense, as well as the quantity of said substance. These potential consequences can be understood as follows:
- Distribution of Less than 1 Ounce of Marijuana in a School Zone: punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 1 year in New Jersey State Prison, as well as a fine of up to $150,000
- Distribution of at Least 1 Ounce of Marijuana in a School Zone: punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 3 years in New Jersey State Prison, as well as a fine of up to $150,000
- Distribution of Cocaine in a School Zone: punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 3 years in New Jersey State Prison, as well as a fine of up to $150,000
- Distribution of Heroin in a School Zone: punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 3 years in New Jersey State Prison, as well as a fine of up to $150,000
It is also important to note that if you are convicted of distribution of CDS in a school zone, you may also be required to perform up to 100 hours of community service. In fact, mere possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a school zone warrants these penalties under New Jersey law.
Contact Monmouth County NJ CDS in a School Zone Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
Although any conviction for drug charges in New Jersey can result in serious repercussions that have the potential to damage your reputation, career, and future opportunities, these consequences becoming increasingly threatening if the offense was committed near or on school property. In order to provide yourself with the best chance of success, it is highly advisable to seek knowledgeable legal counsel. The seasoned attorneys at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh, are well-versed in state law and are always available to answer your questions. Contact us at 732-440-3950 to learn more about how we will work toward protecting your future.