Bergen County NJ Possession of a Marijuana with the Intent to Distribute in a School Zone
As if the consequences for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute isn’t bad enough, the consequences can dramatically increase if the defendant is convicted of the same within a school zone. The most common misconception for the offense of distributing a controlled dangerous substance in a school zone, whether it be marijuana, cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, ecstasy, molly or anabolic steroids is that the fact that the school was not in session while the offense was committed will have any bearing on the case. As you will see below this is a very serious offense in New Jersey, one that in addition to lengthy prison sentences, could require a parole ineligibility term. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has been defending individuals charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute in a school zone throughout Bergen County in towns like Fort Lee, Elmwood Park, Bergenfield, Rutherford, Paramus, Englewood Cliff, Ramsey, Garfield, Lodi, Bogota and Montvale for over fifteen years. We have over 100 years of combined experience on staff, making us one of the largest criminal defense firms in the state let alone Bergen County. If you have any further questions regarding your drug charges, please contact any one of our Bergen County Offices for a free initial consultation with any one of our eight experienced criminal defense trial attorneys.
Drug Distribution in a School Zone Lawyers in Fort Lee: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7
b. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:35-12 or subsection a. of this section, the court may waive or reduce the minimum term of parole ineligibility required under subsection a. of this section or place the defendant on probation pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-2. In making this determination, the court shall consider:
(a) the extent of the defendant’s prior criminal record and the seriousness of the offenses for which the defendant has been convicted;
(b) the specific location of the present offense in relation to the school property, including distance from the school and the reasonable likelihood of exposing children to drug-related activities at that location;
(c) whether school was in session at the time of the offense; and
(d) whether children were present at or in the immediate vicinity of the location when the offense took place.
(2) The court shall not waive or reduce the minimum term of parole ineligibility or sentence the defendant to probation if it finds that:
(a) the offense took place 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 while on any school bus; or
(b) the defendant in the course of committing the offense used or threatened violence or was in possession of a firearm.
In essence the prosecutors office must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
- The defendant was in possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or its analog,
- That the defendant either manufactured, dispensed or distributed the controlled dangerous substance;
- The defendant did so on property that was owned by or leased to a primary, or secondary, school or a school bus or within one thousand feet of the property or bus;
- The property or bus was actually used for school purposes; and
- There were indicia from which an objectively reasonable person could know the school property was regularly, consistently and actually used for school purposes.
It should be noted here that it will be considered an affirmative defense if the alleged conduct took place entirely within a private residence and no one under the age of eighteen was present in the private residence during the commission of the offense. In addition, defense counsel must produce evidence which shows that the alleged distributing, dispensing, or possession with intent was not done for profit. Obviously the defense counsel bears the burden of proving this affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence.
Lyndhurst NJ Drug Distribution in a School Zone Attorneys
Penalties for Distributing a CDS with a School Zone:
The offense of distributing a controlled dangerous substance within 1000 feet of a school is third degree crime in New Jersey. If convicted, the defendant may face up to five years in a New Jersey State Prison. In addition, depending on the drug in question, this offense may carry a mandatory prison sentence.
Lodi NJ Drug Distribution in a School Zone Lawyer
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has been defending individuals charged with possession marijuana with the intent to distribute within a school zone in Bergen County for years. If you or someone you know has questions regarding the offense of distributing heroin within a school zone and the potential for parole ineligibility please contact any one of our offices for a free initial consultation.