Passaic County Drug Trafficking Defense Attorneys

If you have been charged with drug distribution or the intent to distribute drugs in Paterson, N.J., or elsewhere in Passaic County, it is important to take immediate action to avoid the severe penalties that follow a conviction on controlled dangerous substances charges in Passaic County. Before speaking to police and before assuming that you cannot beat the drug distribution case against you, speak to an experienced attorney to understand your defense options.

If you have been indicted or have a loved one being held on drug distribution charges in Paterson, we urge you to contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall as soon as possible. Our firm comprises a team of talented criminal defense attorneys with a track record of success representing clients arrested on drug distribution charges in Paterson, Wayne, Clifton, and elsewhere in Passaic County.

The unique qualifications that our legal team offers include:

  • More than 200 years of combined experience handling drug-related charges in New Jersey
  • Ten seasoned criminal trial lawyers whose practice is dedicated to defending the accused
  • Attorneys who are former county and municipal prosecutors who have served as directors of the Major Crimes Bureau, Special Operations, Domestic Violence Unit, Guns Task Force and even an entire Trial Division who apply their experience to help clients
  • Certified criminal trial attorneys, as designated by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, indicating specialized knowledge in an area of law
  • Countless criminal trials resulting in dismissals

To speak to a drug distribution defense attorney on our team immediately, call (877) 450-8301 to reach our Paterson, Clifton or Wayne office. Our lawyers are available 24/7 to help you, and initial legal consultations are always free.

Penalties You May Face for Drug Distribution Charges in New Jersey

New Jersey law imposes stiff penalties for manufacturing or distributing controlled dangerous substances and for illegal possession of drugs with the intent to distribute. The law does not distinguish a first offense from subsequent offenses. New Jersey’s penalties for drug distribution are based on the drug and the quantity of drugs under the defendant’s control at the time of arrest or indictment.

Prescribed penalties for specific types of drugs such as marijuana, LSD, heroin also apply to the drugs’ counterfeits or analogs. The weight of the drug includes anything used to dilute or cut the drug.

Depending on the drug and the amount seized, a drug distribution charge may be a first-, second-, third- or fourth-degree indictable offense. Conviction could result in a penalty ranging from 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Sometimes, police in Passaic County will add an unwarranted drug distribution charge such as intent to distribute to simple possession charges just to intimidate the defendant.

If there is a threat of deadly force or other violence connected to a drug distribution charge, the potential prison sentence and fine will be more severe. New Jersey law also increases penalties available for dealing drugs in a:

  • School zone or school bus
  • Public housing project
  • Public park

Below are specific penalties under New Jersey’s drug distribution laws, including intent to distribute. The terms of imprisonment and fines double for distribution of controlled dangerous substances to minors or pregnant women.

Marijuana, Hashish

25 pounds or more of marijuana, 50 or more marijuana plants (regardless of weight), or 5 pounds or more of hashish

  • First-degree indictable offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $300,000 fine. One third to one half of the sentence must be served before parole becomes available.

5 pounds or more but less than 25 pounds of marijuana, 10-49 marijuana plants (regardless of weight), or 1 pound to less than 5 pounds of hashish

  • Second-degree indictable offense punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

1 ounce or more but less than 5 pounds of marijuana or 5 grams to less than 1 pound of hashish

  • Third-degree indictable offense punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Less than 1 ounce of marijuana or less than 5 grams of hashish

  • Fourth-degree indictable offense punishable by 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

LSD, Phencyclidine (PCP), Psilocybin (mushrooms)

100 milligrams or more

  • First-degree indictable offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. One third to one half of the sentence must be served before parole becomes available.

Less than 100 milligrams

  • Second-degree indictable offense punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine (Meth)

5 or more ounces

  • First-degree indictable offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine ($300,000 for meth). One third to one half of the sentence must be served before parole becomes available.

More than half an ounce but less than 5 ounces

  • Second-degree indictable offense punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

Less than half an ounce

  • Third-degree indictable offense punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.

Unlawful distribution of Schedule I, II, III or IV drugs not specifically addressed by New Jersey law is a third-degree indictable offense punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Unlawful distribution of Schedule V drugs (medicines with the lowest potential for abuse) is a fourth-degree indictable offense punishable by 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Any conviction for a drug distribution crime in Passaic County will disrupt your life immediately and jeopardize your future. The punishment for a higher-level drug distribution offense will likely include time in prison. This is what makes it crucial to be represented by an experienced Patterson drug distribution defense attorney who understands the stakes and has the ability, resources and dedication to fight for the best possible outcome for you.

Insightful Defense Against Drug Distribution Charges

At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our Passaic County drug trafficking defense attorneys offer reliable and aggressive defense guidance to clients facing drug distribution charges in Passaic County courts. As former prosecutors and former public defenders, we are well versed in New Jersey drug laws and the tactics that police and prosecutors use. Our experience on both sides of the criminal justice process allows us to conduct a thorough examination of your drug trafficking case and to provide legal advice based on experience about your defense options.

If you have been charged with drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute, police may have allegedly found a large quantity of drugs, cash and/or paraphernalia under your control, which they assumed to be for packaging and distributing drugs. You may have been under surveillance or reported to police, or evidence in another case may have led police to investigate you.

However, there are potentially many opportunities to challenge drug distribution charges filed against you and to have the case dismissed or the charges reduced. The circumstances surrounding drug distribution charges are often complex. It is not unusual to find that police did not have all of the facts when they made an arrest or sought an indictment.

To help you mount the best defense against allegations of selling drugs, we will examine the events before and after your arrest. We will review your statement, other witness statements, police reports and other evidence. Potential flaws in a criminal case include:

  • Illegal arrest
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Failure to warn of Miranda rights
  • Mistaken identity / improper suspect lineup
  • False witness testimony
  • Faulty or fabricated evidence
  • Problems with chain of custody of drugs seized as evidence
  • Faulty testing and identification of drugs or drug quantity
  • Inability to establish possession or control of drugs seized upon your arrest
  • Inability to establish intent to sell or distribute the drugs seized
  • Racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or other bias
  • Other police and/or prosecutorial misconduct.

The information and evidence we gather while investigating your case may allow us to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of your charges or to pursue alternatives to conviction as allowed under New Jersey law.

If your case goes to trial, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If a court trial is necessary, we will use evidence we gather as well as our extensive litigation experience to rebut and raise doubt about the prosecution’s case.

Pretrial Intervention and Diversion Programs for Passaic County Drug Distribution Cases

While New Jersey imposes harsh penalties for possession and/or distribution of drugs, the state also provides defendants some opportunities to seek rehabilitation and avoid incarceration. In addition, Passaic County courts and prosecutor’s calendars are crowded. Prosecutors are often receptive to making a plea deal to avoid the time and expense of going to trial. These negotiations are aided by the professional relationships our attorneys have built up with prosecutors in Passaic County courts over our decades of legal practice.

If you are a first-time offender and there is no violence associated with your drug distribution charges, you may qualify for a diversionary program. However, these are strict probation programs with specific requirements on the individual’s time and lifestyle, including close supervision by court officials.

The programs outlined below are meant for people who are serious about dealing with a drug problem and associated behavioral issues and discontinuing a path toward a criminal lifestyle. The failure to meet the requirements of the diversion program can result in immediate imposition of the full sentence, as if you have been convicted of all charges that had been filed against you.

The state’s three programs are:

  • Drug Court. An approved referral to Drug Court requires agreement to undergo frequent drug testing and court appearances, along with successfully completing a rehabilitation program (typically 90 days) and participating in a 12-step recovery program. Drug Court participants are supervised by a drug court judge plus court staff, attorneys, probation officers, substance abuse evaluators and treatment professionals assigned to the defendant’s case. Drug Court participants are also provided access to counseling and other resources related to healthcare, education and job training. Drug Court may not be available if your arrest included possession of a firearm or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or an analog to a juvenile near or on school property.
  • Pretrial Intervention (PTI). This probation program requires an average of 1 to 3 years of court supervision, which requires regular status update appearances. A judge may also require psychological and/or drug and alcohol evaluations, rehabilitation and random urine testing. Charges are dismissed once a defendant successfully completes all conditions of PTI.
  • Veterans’ Diversion Program. This program is available to active and retired members of the military, including the reserves, who have been charged with a nonviolent crime if they have been diagnosed with a mental illness. The veteran may also be eligible if law enforcement, family members or friends say they have exhibited symptoms of mental illness. The prosecutor decides how long the veteran remains in the program. Support services in the program include behavioral health and addiction counseling. Participants avoid trial and, upon successful completion of the program, may have the charges expunged.

Our legal team will work with you and prosecutors to achieve the most favorable outcome for you available in your drug distribution case. Having an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney who has professional connections in Paterson and Passaic County serving as your advocate provides you with the best opportunity to avoid a conviction and harsh punishment.

Contact A Drug Distribution Charges Attorney in Passaic County

The criminal defense attorneys of the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have more than 200 years of combined experience defending New Jersey residents against criminal charges, including drug distribution charges. Our knowledge and experience allow us to offer aggressive and effective defense against even the most damaging drug sales cases. Our longstanding relationships with Passaic County prosecutors ensure that our attorneys’ proposals are given fair consideration when we offer reasons to dismiss charges, reduce charges or defer charges in favor of probationary programs.

Our drug distribution attorneys represent defendants facing charges that originate in Paterson, Little Falls, WayneClifton, Hawthorne, Haledon and Passaic City. Before answering police questions, call toll free (877) 450-8301 or contact us online as soon as possible to learn how we can help combat the charges against you.