Distribution of Drugs in a Public Park
The penalties for selling drugs get even more serious if the conduct is within a public park or housing project. The reason is because there is an entirely separate second degree offense that arises under the New Jersey Criminal Code. This charge is common throughout the region, particularly in towns like Toms River, Lacey, Jackson, South Toms River, Brick, Point Pleasant Beach and Little Egg Harbor, which all ranked in the top 40 statewide for heroin and opiate abuse. The lawyers at our Toms River Criminal Firm have decades of experience defending distribution charges, including public park offenses. If you were arrested in anywhere in the county for a public park violation, Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has the knowledge to help you. Our attorneys know what needs to be done in order to give our clients the best chance of avoiding a conviction and the presumption of incarceration that applies in second degree public park cases. We have over 100 years of collective experience defending CDS/drug offenses, including many years serving as prosecutors at the county level and in municipal courts, including in Ocean County. A lawyer is available now to discuss all of the circumstances surrounding your office by contacting our Toms River Office at (732) 286-6500.Charged with Selling or Distributing CDS in a Public Park Zone or Housing Project?
When someone is arrested for distribution of controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”) and the conduct allegedly took place within 500 feet of a public park, housing project, or public building, a separate criminal charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 applies. If the prosecutor can prove that you sold or possessed an illegal drug with the intent to distribute within this 500 foot zone, you are exposed to penalties for a second degree crime. What this means is that you are subject to a presumption of incarceration for a period in the neighborhood of seven (7) years if you are convicted of intent to sell CDS in a public park or housing project zone. This exposure is in addition to those penalties that apply for the underlying drug distribution charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.
Important Definitions Under 2C:35-7.1. To understand how this law applies, you need to know how terms are defined under the statute. The following is what you need to know about these terms:
Public Park. This term includes a park, recreation facility, area or playground that is owned or controlled by the state, county or a local governing body.
Public Housing Project. This term refers to a dwelling, complex, building or other form of real property which is owned or leased to low income residents by local housing authority.
If you distribute drugs within 500 feet of property qualifying under either of these definitions, the prosecutor must present a map demonstrating that the violation occurred within this prohibited zone in order to obtain conviction.
Potential Defenses to a Public Park Charge. In accordance with 2C:35-7.1(d), it is an affirmative defense to this charge if the conduct was not “for profit” and did not involve a a person seventeen (17) years of age or younger. It is not a defense, however, to this offense that the accused lacked knowledge or intent to be present in the public park/housing project zone at the time of the conduct.Penalties That Apply to a Public Park Conviction
As previously stated, a 2C:35-7.1 violation is a second degree crime. The range of the prison term is 5-10 years and there is a maximum fine of $150,000. There is also a presumption that an individual will be incarcerated if they are found guilty of this offense. What this means is that it is a virtual certainty that you will have to serve a prison term if you are convicted of selling drugs in a public park or housing project. There is also a mandatory extended term (e.g. double the time in jail) upon application by the prosecutor if you are found guilty for this violation and have a prior conviction for distributing CDS. You certainly need to contact us if you are exposed to such punishment.Barnegat Township NJ Public Park Drug Lawyer
Prosecutors tend to be very inflexible when it comes to public parks charges. This is why it is very important to select an attorney with excellent skills in this area of law. Our staff possesses more than a century representing individuals charge with marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and MDMA distribution in towns like Manchester, Beachwood, Stafford, Berkeley, and Ocean Township to name a few. Our team includes former prosecutors from Ocean County and a team of attorneys with over 100 years of collective experience. A lawyer with all of the skills necessary to protect you is ready to analyze your case and formulate a comprehensive plan to succeed on your behalf. Lawyers are available 24/7 at (732) 286-6500 for free consultation.
Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, 250 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753, Toms River, Lacey, Jackson, South Toms River, Brick, Point Pleasant Beach and Little Egg Harbor, Manchester, Beachwood, Stafford, Berkeley, and Ocean Township.Additional Drug Distribution Resources to Assist You