Possession Charges:

In New Jersey, the penalties for possession of a controlled substance (drugs) vary according to the type of drug and the amount of the drug in your possession.  New Jersey’s drug possession laws are severe.

For Possession of Less Than 50 Grams of Marijuana, under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10A(4), an individual can face a disorderly persons offense, which carries up to 6 months in prison, a fine of $1,000, loss of driver’s license, and drug rehabilitation.  For Possession of More Than 50 Grams of Marijuana, the individual can face an indictable fourth-degree criminal offense, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

For Possession of Narcotics or Controlled Dangerous Substances, under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, which includes cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, acid, ecstasy, GBH, and all other illegal narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, opiates, or depressants, an individual can face three to five years in prison, a fine of $1,000 to $25,000, loss of driver’s license, mandatory drug education and rehabilitation programs.

An individual can be charged with a crime if they are in Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  An individual charged with possession drug paraphernalia under N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2 can face up to six months in prison, a fine of $500 to $1,000, and suspension of their driver’s license for up to two years.

An individual charged with Simple Possession of Unauthorized Prescription Drugs can be charged with a third-degree indictable offense, with maximum penalties of up to five years in prison and substantial fines.

Manufacture, Distribution, and Possession With Intent to Distribute Charges:

New Jersey’s law regarding drug manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute is found in N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.  These charges carry stiff penalties.

For Marijuana, an individual can be charged with a first, second, third, or fourth degree indictable offense, depending on the quantity of the substance.

If the quantity if less than one ounce, it is a Fourth-Degree Offense.

If the quantity is more than one ounce but less than five pounds, it is a Third-Degree Offense.

If the quantity if more than five pounds but less than 25 pounds, it is a Second-Degree Offense.

If the quantity is more than 25 pounds, it is a First-Degree Offense.

For Heroin or Cocaine, an individual can be charged with a first, second, or third degree indictable offense. For more information on possession and distribution of herion, click here.

If the quantity involved is less than ½ an ounce, it is a Third-Degree Crime.

If the quantity is more than ½ an ounce but less than five ounces, it is a Second-Degree Crime.

If the quantity is more than five ounces, it is a First-Degree Crime.

For Psilocybin/LSD, an individual can be charged with a second or first degree crime.

If the quantity involved is less than 100 milligrams, it is a Second-Degree Crime.

If the quantity involved is more than 100 milligrams it is a First-Degree Offense.

Drug Classifications

One of the factors in determining the punishment for a drug crime in New Jersey is the classification of the drug. The FDA is responsible for the classifications of drugs. These classifications, or schedules, are based on the dangers associated with the drug. Another factor in determining drug classifications is the likelihood of abuse. Also, the FDA takes into account any medical benefit the drug may have. Now, we are going to look at the different schedules of controlled substances in the United States.

 

Schedule I Controlled Substances

The FDA considers Schedule I controlled substances to have no acceptable medical use, as well as a high risk of potential abuse. These drugs include heroin, LSD, peyote, ecstasy, and marijuana. However, NJ drug laws take a much lighter stance on marijuana. New Jersey is one of many states that are currently discussing the idea of the legalization of marijuana. A change like this to NJ drug laws shows the divide between the American people and the federal government when it comes to marijuana.

 

Schedule II Controlled Substances

The FDA considers Schedule II drugs to have a high potential for abuse which can lead to physical or mental dependence. However, many of these drugs have legitimate medical uses. Schedule II drugs include hydromorphone, methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. As you can see these drugs are all available by prescription.

 

Schedule III Controlled Substances

The FDA considers Schedule III drugs to have less potential for abuse than Schedule I or II. These drugs can lead to moderate or low physical and mental dependence. Schedule III drugs include buprenorphine, ketamine, and anabolic steroids such as Depo-Testosterone.

 

Schedule IV and V Controlled Substances

The FDA considers Schedule IV and V substances to have a very low risk of abuse and addiction. These drugs are mostly prescription drugs that are relatively safe.

 

NJ Drug Laws: Possession

The FDA classifications are a starting point for NJ drug laws. The more dangerous the substance is, the harsher the penalty is for being caught with it. Also, just because a drug is available by prescription, it isn’t legal. Having prescription drugs in your possession without a prescription is illegal. Many people think that just because a doctor can give you a drug, that means anyone can be in possession of it.

 

Let’s start with marijuana. While NJ drug laws have become laxer on marijuana, this doesn’t mean that you may not face criminal charges. Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana is a fourth-degree criminal offense in New Jersey. This crime carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Smaller amounts of marijuana will most likely result in a simple civil offense and a small fine.

 

Possession of more dangerous drugs including heroin, cocaine, prescription drugs, and ecstasy will result in a penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine up to $25,000, and mandatory drug classes. If drugs are found in your vehicle, you may also receive a suspension of your driver’s license.

 

Possession of drug paraphernalia is also a criminal offense. Anyone who receives a drug paraphernalia charge is subject to up to six months in prison, a $1,000 fine, and suspension of their driver’s license.

 

Having multiple drug possession charges could result in harsher penalties. Also, larger quantities of drugs could result in distribution charges.

 

NJ Drug Laws: Distribution

If you are caught with a large amount of narcotics, you may be subject to distribution or possession with intent to distribute charges. These charges carry stiff penalties and are all felonies.

 

Possession of marijuana between one ounce and five pounds is a third-degree felony, between five and twenty-five pounds is a second-degree felony, and more than twenty-five pounds is a first-degree felony. Cocaine and heroin charges are much tougher because of the danger associated with the drugs. More than five ounces of cocaine or heroin is a first-degree felony in New Jersey. Also, repeat distribution offenses can stiffen punishments.

 

NJ Drug Court

There has been a shift in dealing with drug charges across the nation, and New Jersey is no different. Many first-time offenders are offered the opportunity to enter a drug program that the state has established. The goal is to educate, treat, and limit the likelihood of the offender repeating their crimes. A first-time offenders program may or may not be right for you; you should consult a New Jersey drug crime attorney to determine the best course of action in your specific case.

2C:36-2. Use or possession with intent to use, disorderly persons offense.

It shall be unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog or toxic chemical in violation of the provisions of chapter 35 of this title. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. 

Amended 2007, c.31, s.3.

2C:36-2 Use or possession with intent to use, disorderly persons offense.

2C:36-2. Use or possession with intent to use, disorderly persons offense.

 

It shall be unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog or toxic chemical in violation of the provisions of chapter 35 of this title. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. 

 

Amended 2007, c.31, s.3.

2C:35-10.5 Prescription legend drugs.

8.Prescription legend drugs. a. A person who knowingly:

 

(1)distributes a prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation in an amount of four or fewer dosage units unless lawfully prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication is a disorderly person;

 

(2)distributes for pecuniary gain or possesses or has under his control with intent to distribute for pecuniary gain a prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation in an amount of four or fewer dosage units unless lawfully prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree;

 

(3)distributes or possesses or has under his control with intent to distribute a prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation in an amount of at least five but fewer than 100 dosage units unless lawfully prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication is guilty of a crime of the third degree. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $200,000 may be imposed; or

 

(4)distributes or possesses or has under his control with intent to distribute a prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation in an amount of 100 or more dosage units unless lawfully prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $300,000 may be imposed.

 

Notwithstanding the above, a violation of paragraph (1) or (3) of this subsection shall be deemed a de minimis infraction subject to dismissal pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:2-11 if the person demonstrates that the conduct involved no more than six dosage units distributed within a 24-hour period, that the prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation was lawfully prescribed for or administered to that person by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication, and that the person intended for the amount he distributed to be solely for the recipient's personal use.

 

b.A person who uses any prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation for a purpose other than treatment of sickness or injury as lawfully prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication is a disorderly person. 

 

c.A defendant may be convicted for a violation of subsection b. if the State proves that the defendant manifested symptoms or reactions caused by the use of prescription legend drugs or stramonium preparation. The State need not prove which specific prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation the defendant used.

 

d.A person who obtains or attempts to obtain possession of a prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation by forgery or deception is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude or limit a prosecution for theft as defined in chapter 20 of Title C of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

e.A person who knowingly possesses, actually or constructively:

 

(1)a prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation in an amount of four or fewer dosage units unless lawfully prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication is a disorderly person; or

 

(2)a prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation in an amount of five or more dosage units unless lawfully prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

 

Notwithstanding the above, a violation of this subsection shall be deemed a de minimis infraction subject to dismissal pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:2-11 if the person demonstrates that he unlawfully received no more than six dosage units within a 24-hour period, that the prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation was lawfully prescribed for or administered to the person from whom he had received it, and that the person possessed the prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation for solely for his personal use.

 

f.Where the degree of the offense for violation of this section depends on the number of dosage units of the prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation, the number of dosage units involved shall be determined by the trier of fact. Where the indictment or accusation so provides, the number of dosage units involved in individual acts of distribution or possession with intent to distribute may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense, whether distribution is to the same person or several persons, provided that each individual act of distribution or possession with intent to distribute was committed within the applicable statute of limitations.

 

g.Subsections a. and e. of this section shall not apply to: a licensed pharmacy, licensed pharmacist, researcher, wholesaler, distributor, manufacturer, warehouseman or his representative acting within the line and scope of his employment; a physician, veterinarian, dentist or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication; a nurse acting under the direction of a physician; or a common carrier or messenger when transporting such prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation in the same unbroken package in which the prescription legend drug or stramonium preparation was delivered to him for transportation.

 

L.1999,c.90,s.8; amended 2005, c.205, s.2.

 

2C:35-6. Employing a Juvenile in a Drug Distribution Scheme.

 

Any person being at least 18 years of age who knowingly uses, solicits, directs, hires or employs a person 17 years of age or younger to violate N.J.S.2C:35-4 or subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5, is guilty of a crime of the second degree and shall, except as provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which 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 five years, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, the court may also impose a fine not to exceed $500,000.00 or five times the street value of the controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog involved, whichever is greater.

 

It shall be no defense to a prosecution under this section that the actor mistakenly believed that the person which the actor used, solicited, directed, hired or employed was 18 years of age or older, even if such mistaken belief was reasonable.

 

Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for a violation of any offense defined in this chapter pursuant to N.J.S.2C:2-6 or any other provision of law governing an actor's liability for the conduct of another, and, notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provision of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for a violation of N.J.S.2C:35-3 (leader of narcotics trafficking network), N.J.S.2C:35-4 (maintaining or operating a CDS production facility), N.J.S.2C:35-5 (manufacturing, distributing or dispensing), or N.J.S.2C:35-9 (strict liability for drug induced death).

 

L.1987, c.106, s.1; amended 1997, c.181, s.4.

2C:35-5. Manufacturing, distributing or dispensing

2C:35-5. Manufacturing, Distributing or Dispensing. a. Except as authorized by P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.), it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or purposely:

 

(1) To manufacture, distribute or dispense, or to possess or have under his control with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog; or

 

(2) To create, distribute, or possess or have under his control with intent to distribute, a counterfeit controlled dangerous substance.

 

b.Any person who violates subsection a. with respect to:

 

(1) Heroin, or its analog, or coca leaves and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of coca leaves, and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation thereof which is chemically equivalent or identical with any of these substances, or analogs, except that the substances shall not include decocainized coca leaves or extractions which do not contain cocaine or ecogine, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, in a quantity of five ounces or more including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the first degree. The defendant shall, except as provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. 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, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $500,000.00 may be imposed; 

 

(2) A substance referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, in a quantity of one-half ounce or more but less than five ounces, including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the second degree; 

 

(3) A substance referred to paragraph (1) of this subsection in a quantity less than one-half ounce including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $75,000.00 may be imposed;

 

(4) A substance classified as a narcotic drug in Schedule I or II other than those specifically covered in this section, or the analog of any such substance, in a quantity of one ounce or more including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the second degree;

 

(5) A substance classified as a narcotic drug in Schedule I or II other than those specifically covered in this section, or the analog of any such substance, in a quantity of less than one ounce including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $75,000.00 may be imposed; 

 

(6) Lysergic acid diethylamide, or its analog, in a quantity of 100 milligrams or more including any adulterants or dilutants, or phencyclidine, or its analog, in a quantity of 10 grams or more including any adulterants or dilutants, is guilty of a crime of the first degree. Except as provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12, the court shall impose a term of imprisonment which shall include the imposition of a minimum term, fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed by the court, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $500,000.00 may be imposed;

 

(7) Lysergic acid diethylamide, or its analog, in a quantity of less than 100 milligrams including any adulterants or dilutants, or where the amount is undetermined, or phencyclidine, or its analog, in a quantity of less than 10 grams including any adulterants or dilutants, or where the amount is undetermined, is guilty of a crime of the second degree; 

 

(8) Methamphetamine, or its analog, or phenyl-2-propanone (P2P), in a quantity of five ounces or more including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the first degree. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $300,000.00 may be imposed;

 

(9) (a) Methamphetamine, or its analog, or phenyl-2-propanone (P2P), in a quantity of one-half ounce or more but less than five ounces including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the second degree;

 

(b) Methamphetamine, or its analog, or phenyl-2-propanone (P2P), in a quantity of less than one-half ounce including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $75,000.00 may be imposed;

 

(10) (a) Marijuana in a quantity of 25 pounds or more including any adulterants or dilutants, or 50 or more marijuana plants, regardless of weight, or hashish in a quantity of five pounds or more including any adulterants or dilutants, is guilty of a crime of the first degree. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $300,000.00 may be imposed;

 

(b) Marijuana in a quantity of five pounds or more but less than 25 pounds including any adulterants or dilutants, or 10 or more but fewer than 50 marijuana plants, regardless of weight, or hashish in a quantity of one pound or more but less than five pounds, including any adulterants and dilutants, is guilty of a crime of the second degree;

 

(11) Marijuana in a quantity of one ounce or more but less than five pounds including any adulterants or dilutants, or hashish in a quantity of five grams or more but less than one pound including any adulterants or dilutants, is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be imposed; 

 

(12) Marijuana in a quantity of less than one ounce including any adulterants or dilutants, or hashish in a quantity of less than five grams including any adulterants or dilutants, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree;

 

(13) Any other controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedule I, II, III or IV, or its analog, is guilty of a crime of the third degree, except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be imposed; or 

 

(14) Any Schedule V substance, or its analog, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be imposed. 

 

c.Where the degree of the offense for violation of this section depends on the quantity of the substance, the quantity involved shall be determined by the trier of fact. Where the indictment or accusation so provides, the quantity involved in individual acts of manufacturing, distribution, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense, whether distribution or dispensing is to the same person or several persons, provided that each individual act of manufacturing, distribution, dispensing or possession with intent to distribute was committed within the applicable statute of limitations. 

 

L.1987, c.106, s.1; amended 1988, c.44, s.2; 1997, c.181, s.3; 1997, c.186, s.3; 2000, c.55; 2000, c.136.

2C:35-4. Maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility

2C:35-4. Except as authorized by P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.), any person who knowingly maintains or operates any premises, place or facility used for the manufacture of methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine, gamma hydroxybutyrate, flunitrazepam, marijuana in an amount greater than five pounds or ten plants or any substance listed in Schedule I or II, or the analog of any such substance, or any person who knowingly aids, promotes, finances or otherwise participates in the maintenance or operations of such premises, place or facility, is guilty of a crime of the first degree and shall, except as provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, the court may also impose a fine not to exceed $750,000.00 or five times the street value of all controlled dangerous substances, controlled substance analogs, gamma hydroxybutyrate or flunitrazepam at any time manufactured or stored at such premises, place or facility, whichever is greater. 

 

L.1987, c.106, s.1; amended 1988, c.44, s.1; 1997, c.181, s.2; 1997, c.186, s.2; 1999, c.133, s.2.

2C:35-3. Leader of Narcotics Trafficking Network

 

As used in this section:

 

"Financier" means a person who, with the intent to derive a profit, provides money or credit or other thing of value in order to purchase a controlled dangerous substance or an immediate precursor, or otherwise to finance the operations of a drug trafficking network.

 

A person is a leader of a narcotics trafficking network if he conspires with two or more other persons in a scheme or course of conduct to unlawfully manufacture, distribute, dispense, bring into or transport in this State methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine, gamma hydroxybutyrate, flunitrazepam or any controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedule I or II, or any controlled substance analog thereof as a financier, or as an organizer, supervisor or manager of at least one other person.

 

Leader of narcotics trafficking network is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction thereof, except as may be provided by N.J.S.2C:35-12, a person shall be sentenced to an ordinary term of life imprisonment during which the person must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, the court may also impose a fine not to exceed $750,000.00 or five times the street value of the controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog, gamma hydroxybutyrate or flunitrazepam involved, whichever is greater.

 

Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8, a conviction of leader of narcotics trafficking network shall not merge with the conviction for any offense which is the object of the conspiracy. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the court from imposing an extended term pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-7; nor shall this section be construed in any way to preclude or limit the prosecution or conviction of any person for conspiracy under N.J.S.2C:5-2, or any prosecution or conviction under N.J.S.2C:35-4 (maintaining or operating a CDS production facility), N.J.S.2C:35-5 (manufacturing, distributing or dispensing), N.J.S.2C:35-6 (employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme), N.J.S.2C:35-9 (strict liability for drug induced death), N.J.S.2C:41-2 (racketeering activities) or subsection g. of N.J.S.2C:5-2 (leader of organized crime).

 

It shall not be necessary in any prosecution under this section for the State to prove that any intended profit was actually realized. The trier of fact may infer that a particular scheme or course of conduct was undertaken for profit from all of the attendant circumstances, including but not limited to the number of persons involved in the scheme or course of conduct, the actor's net worth and his expenditures in relation to his legitimate sources of income, the amount or purity of the specified controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog, gamma hydroxybutyrate or flunitrazepam involved, or the amount of cash or currency involved.

 

It shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this section that such controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog, gamma hydroxybutyrate or flunitrazepam was brought into or transported in this State solely for ultimate distribution or dispensing in another jurisdiction; nor shall it be a defense that any profit was intended to be made in another jurisdiction.

 

It shall not be a defense that the defendant was subject to the supervision or management of another, nor that another person or persons were also leaders of the narcotics trafficking network.

L.1987, c.106, s.1; amended 1997, c.181, s.1; 1997, c.343; 1999, c.133, s.1.

2C:35-7.1. Distributing, dispensing or possession controlled substances; proximity to public housing facilities, parks or buildings

a. 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 in, on or within 500 feet of the real property comprising a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building is guilty of a crime of the second degree, except that it is a crime of the third degree if the violation involved less than one ounce of marijuana.

 

b. It shall be no defense to a prosecution for violation of this section that the actor was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 500 feet of a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building.

 

c. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for a violation of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5 (manufacturing, distributing or dispensing) or N.J.S.2C:35-6 (employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme). Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for a violation of N.J.S.2C:35-7 or any other offense defined in this chapter.

 

d. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that the prohibited conduct did not involve distributing, dispensing or possessing with the intent to distribute or dispense any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog for profit, and that the prohibited conduct did not involve distribution to a person 17 years of age or younger. The affirmative defense established in this section shall be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. Nothing herein shall be construed to establish an affirmative defense with respect to a prosecution for an offense defined in any other section of this chapter.

 

e. In a prosecution under this section, a map produced or reproduced by any municipal or county engineer for the purpose of depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 500 feet of a public housing facility which is owned by or leased to a housing authority according to the “Local Redevelopment and Housing Law,” P.L.1992, c. 79 (C.40A:12A-1 et seq.), the area in or within 500 feet of a public park, or the area in or within 500 feet of a public building, or a true copy of such a map, shall, upon proper authentication, be admissible and shall constitute prima facie evidence of the location and boundaries of those areas, provided that the governing body of the municipality or county has adopted a resolution or ordinance approving the map as official finding and record of the location and boundaries of the area or areas on or within 500 feet of a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building. Any map approved pursuant to this section may be changed from time to time by the governing body of the municipality or county. The original of every map approved or revised pursuant to this section, or a true copy thereof, shall be filed with the clerk of the municipality or county, and shall be maintained as an official record of the municipality or county. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the prosecution from introducing or relying upon any other evidence or testimony to establish any element of this offense; nor shall this section be construed to preclude the use or admissibility of any map or diagram other than one which has been approved by the governing body of a municipality or county, provided that the map or diagram is otherwise admissible pursuant to the Rules of Evidence.

2C:35-7. Distribution on or within 1,000 feet of school property

 

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, 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. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $150,000.00 may also be imposed upon any conviction for a violation of this section.

 

Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for a violation of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5 (manufacturing, distributing or dispensing) or  N.J.S.2C:35-6 (employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme).

 

It shall be no defense to a prosecution for a violation of this section that the actor was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property. Nor shall it be a defense to a prosecution under this section, or under any other provision of this title, that no juveniles were present on the school property at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session.

 

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that the prohibited conduct took place entirely within a private residence, that no person 17 years of age or younger was present in such private residence at any time during the commission of the offense, and that the prohibited conduct did not involve distributing, dispensing or possessing with the intent to distribute or dispense any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog for profit. The affirmative defense established in this section shall be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. Nothing herein shall be construed to establish an affirmative defense with

respect to a prosecution for an offense defined in any other section of this chapter. (6) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof.

 

Amendment to New Jersey School Zone Law- No Longer Mandatory State Prison

 

On January 12, 2010, the Governor of New Jersey signed legislation radically changing a Judge’s sentencing options for a defendant charged with Distribution or Possession with intent to distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS or Drugs) within 1,000 feet of a school zone.  Under the old law, a defendant was almost invariably required to serve a minimum mandatory State Prison sentence if convicted of Possession of CDS with intent to Distribute within 1000 feet of a school zone.  The old law did not factor

into the equation whether or not school was in session or whether or not the entire town in question fell within a “school zone.”

 

N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7a. provides that distributing or possessing with intent to distribute any controlled dangerous substance within 1000 feet of a school or school property is a crime of the third degree and requires a term of imprisonment. If the CDS (drugs)consists of less than 1 oz. of marijuana then the sentence must include a minimum of 1 year of parole ineligibility. All other CDS related distribution offenses requires a minimum 3 years of parole ineligibility. Practically speaking, defendant’s charged with distribution of cocaine, heroin or any other type of illegal drug in a school zone were often facing 5 years New Jersey state prison with a 3 year period of parole ineligibility.

 

Subsection b of the new legislation, however, now allows the sentencing Judge to waive the mandatory prison terms and even grant probationary sentences. Subsection b. of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 allows the waiver of the mandatory minimum prison sentences after the court considers:

 

(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.

CONTACT US TODAY

26 JOURNAL SQUARE PLAZA, SUITE 1201

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY 07306

T: 201-253-6330

F: 201-221-8872

INFO@NOVELLAW.COM

© 2019 - NOVEL LAW, LLC.

VIEWING THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE FORMATION OF AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS WEBSITE SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS FORMAL LEGAL ADVICE.

No aspect of the above advertisement(s): (American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys, Avvo, Association of America's Top Lawyers, Justia and Super Lawyers) has been approved by the Supreme Court of NJ.