Possession With Intent in a School Zone Attorney in Paterson NJ
No one could ever doubt the motivation for imposing stiff penalties for those who distribute marijuana, cocaine, heroin or some other form of drugs in a school zone. Police and prosecutors in Passaic County recognize the importance of deterring possession with intent to distribute drugs in a school zone and you can expect aggressive prosecution if you find yourself charged with this offense. If you were arrested for selling CDS near school property under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, there is little doubt that a highly experienced and skilled attorney could provide significant benefit in avoiding the negative consequences of a conviction (e.g. jail). The lawyers at our firm, The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, include multiple former prosecutors and a defense team with over 100 years of success in defending school zone distribution cases. Attorneys are available 24/7 to discuss your case free of charge, so do not hesitate to give us a call.
Explanation of the Law – N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7
This law, and the enhanced intent to distribute penalties provided under 2C:35-7, is triggered where N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 is violated in a school zone. “School zone” is defined as property used for school purposes and owned or leased by an elementary, secondary or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such property. This charge is commonly referred to as a thousand (1,000) foot case. When N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 is violated, an individual becomes subject to a period of parole ineligibility, something that otherwise does not apply in the standard arrest for selling drugs. The period that an individual must serve before they are eligible for parole is set at the greater of three (3) years or one-third of the sentence imposed. The only exception is where the case involves intent to distribute marijuana of less than one (1) ounce, in which case parole ineligibility shall be the greater one-third of the sentence or one (1) year. In addition, a fine of up to $150,000 may be imposed.
Avoiding Parole Ineligibility Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7
The court may waive or reduce the period of ineligibility based on the following factors:
- The defendant’s history of prior convictions and the seriousness of the related offenses;
- The location of the alleged violation in relation to school property and the likelihood that children would be exposed to the drug activity;
- Whether school was in session at the time of the violation; and
- Whether children were present.
A waiver may not, however, be granted if the distribution took place on school property (i.e. as opposed to the secondary 1,000 feet) or was committed while in possession of a firearm or with threat of violence.
Passaic County School Zone Distribution Attorneys
Our highly experienced drug lawyers will challenge police procedures, insisting that your constitutional rights are protected at every stage of the investigation and arrest. Flawed searches and seizures are made the subject of scrutiny to insure that you are provided with every opportunity to defeat the charges. Other obvious issues like whether the intent to sell was actually within an approved 1,000 foot zone and/or whether a confidential informant’s tip was properly relied upon by the police will be thoroughly examined by our lawyers. Give us a call for immediate assist with all of these issues. An attorney is available 24/7 and initial consultations are always without charge.