Drug Distribution in a School Zone

Mercer County NJ Drug Distribution in a School Zone Lawyer

The penalties for distributing drugs in New Jersey are harsh. However, when the drug distribution occurs within a school zone, the penalties become life changing. As you will see below, pursuant to Brimage, they require a mandatory jail sentence. Whether you have been charged with distributing cocaine, heroin, marijuana, Molly or any other drug for that matter in a school zone, in Mercer County, it is imperative that you speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. These are very serious charges that if not handled properly could drastically affect an individuals future.

If you are facing charges for distributing drugs with in 1000 feet of a school, in Mercer County, the attorneys at Proetta & Oliver can help. Our attorneys are well aware that no two clients let alone no two cases are the same. We insist that we sit down with all our clients so that we can formulate a game plan that best suits their individual needs. Our attorneys are prepared to aggressively attack the State’s proofs. If you would like a face to face consultation with one of the Mercer County drug lawyers on staff at Proetta & Oliver then please contact us at (609) 789-0779. We appear in courts throughout the county including the Hamilton Municipal Court, the Lawrenceville Municipal Court, the Trenton Municipal Court, the Ewing Municipal Court and the Robbinsville Municipal Court. If you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to ask. As always, our initial consultations are free of costs.

School Zone Drug Distribution Charges in New Jersey

Anyone charged with distributing drugs in a school zone will be facing enhanced penalties simply based on the fact that the offense occurred within 1,000 feet of a school. The governing statute for this offense is N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, it states in pertinent part that

  • Any person who violates another section of our law by 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 any elementary or secondary school or school board, or
    within 1,000 feet of any school property or school bus, or while on any
    school bus, is guilty of a crime.

So on top of being charged with either possession of CDS with the intent to distribute, distribution of CDS or manufacturing CDS a Defendant could also be charged with same but within a school zone. It is a total separate offense and carries with it additional penalties. For more information on how to defend possession of CDS with the intent to distribute charges in New Jersey please click the link.

What will be considered a School Zone?

In order to qualify as a school, the courts have stated that “school property means any property which is used for school purposes and is owned by or leased to an elementary school, secondary school or school board”. State v. Ivory, 124 N.J. 582, 587, 592 (1991).  They have also established that the 1,000 feet zone extends from the outermost boundary of the school property and not from the school building itself.  Furthermore, it does not matter whether the “school”  is a public school, private school or even a parochial school.

Can I be Charged with Distributing in a School Zone if the School was Closed in NJ?

The Courts has also concluded that the fact that no juveniles were present at the time of the offense is irrelevant. They even went further by stating that the fact the school was not even in session at the time the offense was committed is irrelevant. In addition, the fact that the Defendant was unaware of the fact that they were even in a school zone is irrelevant too.

Will I go to Jail for Distributing Drugs in a School Zone in NJ?

Unlike other drug distribution offenses, the quantity of the drug possessed at the time of the Defendant’s arrest will not matter. All drug distribution charges in a school zone are third degree offenses in New Jersey regardless of type of drug and the quantity. Anyone convicted of a third degree felony is facing up to five (5) years in a State Prison, a fine up $35,000, a felony criminal record and up to a six month loss of license. In addition, pursuant to Brimage, which are guidelines put in place to create uniformity in all drug distribution charges in New Jersey, a Defendant convicted under this subsection must be sentenced to a term of incarceration. If you would like to speak with one of our drug distribution defense attorneys about your options then please contact us at (609)789-0779.

Drug Distribution in a School Zone Attorneys in Ewing NJ

At Proetta & Oliver we strive to make sure our clients rights are fully protected throughout their entire case. Whether you have been charged with distributing marijuana in a school zone, eluding, endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated assault or heroin possession, we can help. Our office has been defending clients in courts throughout Mercer County for years now. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about the specific facts of your case and how we could help you then please contact us at (609)789-0779. We are well aware that these types of offenses happen at all hours of the day, so we try to make ourselves available around the clock.