Drugs in a School Zone: Possession, Distribution, Intent to Distribute in Morris County, New Jersey
Morris Township School Zone Drug Charge Defense Lawyers
Drug possession or distribution in New Jersey is an extremely serious crime, but it becomes much more severe when it occurs within a school zone. If you’ve been charged with a drug offense within 1,000 feet of a school, school property or school bus, you are facing harsher penalties, including fines and extensive jail time. This applies to possessing, selling, and intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). It’s important to note that school zone drug offenses are separate from a standard drug charge in New Jersey and they cannot be merged by the prosecution according to the law. If you have been charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 and you value your freedom, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you protect yourself. Drug crime convictions can lead to years of incarceration and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. The skilled Morristown drug crime lawyers at The Tormey law Firm have established a superior reputation in Morris County and across the state. We represent clients in Denville, Jefferson, Mendham, Harding Township, Randolph, and everywhere in between. We urge you to contact us for a free consultation if you have been arrested for a school zone drug offense. Simply call (908) 336-5008 or contact us online anytime for a free consultation with a New Jersey drug defense lawyer.
NJSA 2C:35-7 Distributing, dispensing or possessing controlled dangerous substance within 1,000 feet of school property
School zone drug offenses in New Jersey are governed by section N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. As with all criminal offenses, the prosecution must conclusively prove that you did in fact possess, distribute, or possess a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. In addition, the prosecution must also prove that the offense occurred within 1,000 feet of a school zone or on a school property that is regularly used for school purposes. Being unaware that you were in a school zone is not an acceptable defense against the charge. In addition, the school zone charge is not lessened by the absence of juveniles within the specified zone or because school was not in session.
Penalties for School Zone Drug Charges in New Jersey
If you’ve been charged with drug possession, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute in a school zone, you will have to defend yourself against the underlying drug charge and the school zone offense. In general, the school zone drug offense will be treated as a third degree crime, while the severity of your other drug charge will depend on the specific drug and in the case of distribution, the amount you are charged with possessing with intent to sell. Third degree crimes in New Jersey are punishable by between 3 and 5 years in prison. As for the other drug charges you are facing, you may face hefty fines, mandatory minimum sentences and parole ineligibility if convicted. Prior drug crime convictions will likely lead to even harsher sentences.
Arrested for Selling Drugs in a School Zone?
In many cases involving drug distribution or intent to sell CDS in a school zone, alleged offenders feel pressured into accepting a plea bargain. While this may be an advisable decision, you must understand that agreeing to a plea deal will give you a criminal record, and you may still have to go to jail and/or pay fines and court costs. Before you agree to anything, you should first speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who will have your best interests in mind. With our depth of knowledge of New Jersey’s drug laws, the attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm investigate every element of your case to make sure you are apprised of all potential options and defense strategies.
Contact Harding School Zone Drug Defense Attorneys Today
If you have been arrested for possession or distribution of drugs in a school zone in Morris County, NJ, a drug crime conviction will not only lead to fines and incarceration, but it will also impact your ability to find employment in the future. A guilty verdict will be a devastating blow to your life and your family. It’s imperative that you take the necessary steps to defend yourself by contacting an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who will be able to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, call into question the validity of the evidence against you, negotiate a favorable plea bargain on your behalf, or facilitate your enrollment in a diversionary program like Pre-trial Intervention (PTI).
Don’t assume that you have no legal options. The experienced Morris County NJ drug crime attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm can help. We invite you to discuss your specific drug case with one of our lawyers free of charge. Learn more about how we work to obtain the most favorable outcome for your school zone drug charges by contacting us immediately at (908) 336-5008 or for a free initial consultation.