Essex County NJ Heroin Distribution Defense Lawyers
A charge for selling or distributing heroin is typically filed in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, the NJ drug distribution statute. Secondary charges, which can carry even more serious penalties than the primary charge of heroin distribution, often include distribution of heroin in a school zone or intent to distribute in a public park zone. All of these charges carry, at the very minimum, the possibility of up to five years in state prison for a third degree. The jail exposure escalates for distribution of larger quantities of heroin, with incarceration ranging from 5-10 years for a second degree (i.e. .5 ounces to 5 ounces of heroin) to 10-20 years for a first degree (i.e. 5 ounces or more).
- What Happens When Distribution Is In A School Zone or Public Park Zone? The penalties are enhanced under NJ law if someone is convicted of distribution of heroin in a school zone or distributing heroin in a public park zone. For school zone offenses, there is a mandatory minimum period of incarceration that is triggered that requires than an individual serve at least one-third of the sentence imposed or three (3) years, whichever is greater, before they may be considered for parole. A public park zone distribution of heroin is automatically a second degree crime and represents a entirely separate violation that cannot be merged with a conviction for distribution. For more information on either of these enhancements, refer to our School Zone or Public Park Zone pages.
- Is There Any Other Way Parole Ineligibility Can Apply? Yes. In situations where someone is charged with First Degree distribution of heroin or has a prior conviction for possession with intent to distribute, they are considered extended term eligible and the Brimage Guidelines apply. When this occurs, prosecutors and judges are significantly limited in the plea bargain terms that may be offered with set ranges of parole ineligibility/mandatory minimum jail sentences that must be imposed depending on the quantity of drugs involved, the prior record of the accused, and the circumstances of the arrest (e.g. weapon involved, undercover sales, etc.).
- Can I Apply For Pretrial Intervention? Yes. If you have been charged with third degree distribution of heroin, you are eligible for Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”) provided you have never been granted a prior program of diversion, including conditional discharge. Second and first degree charges are ineligible for PTI and admission into the program can only be granted with consent of the prosecutor.
- What Fines May Be Imposed? The maximum fine is $500,000 for first degree, $150,000 for second degree and $75,000 for third degree distribution of heroin.
Possession With Intent To Distribute Heroin Attorneys Belleville NJ
Whether you were arrested in Bloomfield, East Orange, Nutley, Verona, Millburn, Maplewood, Montclair, Cedar Grove, or another town, our Essex County Criminal Defense Attorneys are prepared to fight to get you the very best outcome. We know what it takes to effectively defend just about any type of distribution case including, but not limited to, those involving undercover police officers, confidential informants, wiretaps, search warrants, motor vehicle stops and warrantless searches. Our lawyers will challenge case presented by the police and prosecutor and do everything that is necessary to insure that a search of your house/apartment or car is challenged. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Newark Office 24/7 at 973-710-1520. Initial consultations are free of charge.