Charged With Selling or Distributing Drugs in Union County NJ?
If you were arrested for possession with intent to distribute any form of controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”), you can be subjected to significant penalties under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. The severity of the consequences depends on whether the distribution is a first degree, second degree, third degree or fourth degree crime. This grading is predicated on the type and quantity of the drugs/CDS although this charge is always a felony that carry state prison exposure. If you were charged with selling drugs anywhere in Plainfield, Elizabeth, Linden or anywhere else in the county, we can assist you. We routinely defend individuals at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth who are charged with distributing heroin, cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs, and other controlled dangerous substances. Our attorneys, most of whom are former prosecutors, are prepared to put their 100 plus years of collective experience to work for you. Give us a call for a free consultation at 908-272-1700.
Proving A Possession With Intent to Distribute Offense. Prosecution for CDS distribution requires that the state proving that you purposely or knowingly, manufactured, distributed or dispensed, a controlled dangerous substance. Under New Jersey law, a person acts “purposely” when it is their intention or conscious object to act in a certain manner. A person acts “knowingly” when they are aware of the nature of their actions. Additionally, the term “distribution” is a broad term that encompasses many activities, including providing the drug to another, with or without compensation (e.g. gift, trade, etc.).
How Is the Degree of a Distribution Charge Determined? N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 sets forth the grading for possession with intent to distribute offenses. Selling or distributing CDS is a third degree crime if the quantity involved is less than one-half ounce. Quantities of at least one-half ounce but less than five ounces involves a second degree crime. Distribution of five ounces or more is a first degree crime. These grading limits do not, however, apply to marijuana cases. Marijuana distribution of less than an ounce is a fourth degree crime. At least one ounce but less than five pounds is a third degree crime. Five to twenty-five pounds is a second degree crime. A quantity of twenty-five pounds or more, or 50 plants or more, is a first degree crime.
Penalties If You Are Found Guilty of Distributing CDS. For a first degree charges, the maximum fine is $500,000 ($300,000 in Marijuana cases) and the state prison term can reach 20 years. The fine is up to $150,000 and jail term is 5-10 year for a second degree. Third degree drug distribution carries a fine as high as $75,000 ($25,000 for marijuana) and 0-5 years in prison. Fourth degree marijuana charges expose an individual to a term of imprisonment of 18 months and a fine up to $25,000.
When Is There A Period of Parole Ineligibility? In certain distribution cases, the law requires imposition of a mandatory minimum term in jail/prison that must be served. The accused cannot be considered for parole until the period of ineligibility is satisfied. All first degree distribution cases trigger this requirement, resulting in the court having to impose a minimum period equal to at least one-third and up to one-half of the full sentence imposed (e.g. 5 – 7.5 years on a 15 year sentence). Similar requirements apply in school zone and public park cases.
Possession With Intent to Distribution Defense Attorneys, Elizabeth NJ
As previously stated, the only venue in the county where a distribution case may be heard, other than an initial arraignment, is at the Superior Court in Elizabeth. This is also where the Union County Prosecutors Office is located. Our defense team is extremely familiar with all the players involved in this process, including the judges, prosecutors and other personnel. Call us to discuss the specifics of your case and what we believe to be an effective strategy for avoiding a conviction and/or penalties. Initial consultations are free. We can be reached 24/7 at 908-272-1700.