Charged With Selling or Trafficking A Controlled Dangerous Substance

Whether the arrest involves marijuana or a drug at the other extreme like heroin, distribution of any form of CDS carries stiff penalties. The extent of the potential consequences, including jail and fines, largely hinge on the quantity and type of drugs possessed with the intent to distribute. There can also be an escalation of the punishment you will face if the case involves selling drugs in a geographic location having enhanced protection like a school zone or public park zone. The attorneys at our firm are skilled in defending all varieties of distribution offense as our firm has over 100 years of combined criminal experience, including years as prosecutors. One of the members of our defense team is available now to assist you in a free consultation at 973-710-1520.

The New Jersey Law that applies to drug distribution, also referred to as intent to distribute, is contained at N.J.S.A.. 35-5.  This statute makes it “unlawful for any person to knowingly or purposely” manufacture, distribute, possess with the intent to distribute or manufacture, any controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”). This law goes on at subsection b (1) to identify heroin, cocaine, MDNA (a.k.a. molly, ecstasy, etc.) by name.  When one of these drugs is involved, the degree of offense is determined as follows:

  • It is a first degree crime to manufacture, sell or distribute a quantity of five (5) ounces or more. First degree drug trafficking or selling can result in a fine as high as $500,000 and a term of imprisonment between ten (10) and twenty (20) years as set by the court.  This term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, a third and a half of the sentence imposed, meaning that if you are sentenced to ten years, the court must impose a minimum term of between 3-5 years during which time you will not be eligible for parole.
  • It is a second degree crime to manufacture, sell or distribute at least one-half ounce (1/2) but less than five (5) ounces. Upon conviction for second degree intent to distribute, a person may be fined $150,000 and placed in state prison for a period between five (5) and ten (10) years.
  • Manufacturing, selling or distributing less than one-half ounce (1/2) is a third degree crime. A person charged with a third degree offense is also subject to fines and prison time for the possession and or the distribution of heroin. A person convicted of third degree distribution is subject to a fine of $75,000 and a prison term to be set by the court at between 3 and 5 years.

It should be noted that entirely different weight cutoffs exist for distribution of marijuana, LSD (a.k.a. acid), methamphetamine, synthetic cannabinoids, bath salts, flunitrazepam (a.k.a. roofies), and GHB.

In addition to the grading and penalties previously set forth, there are enhanced consequences when drugs are being sold in a school zone. When this is the case, a period of parole ineligibility, that is, a mandatory minimum period of imprisonment, is applies. An escalation in penalties is also triggered when the distribution is in a public park or housing project in that this activity gives rise to an entirely separate second degree offense.

Drug Trafficking Lawyers, Newark NJ

As you have undoubtedly noted, the ramifications of a conviction for distributing CDS can be disastrous. There is not only tens of thousands of potential fines but years of state prison that are triggered. It is therefore of utmost importance that you retain a savvy defense lawyer to represent you. This is precisely the level of expertise you can acquire with our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. Most of our attorneys are former prosecutors and lawyers with years of experience defending intent to distribute charges. Our Newark Office can be reached 24/7 at 973-710-1520 for a free consultation.