Piscataway NJ Cocaine Distribution Lawyer
Intent to Distribute Cocaine Attorney in Middlesex County, New Jersey
New Jersey has taken a hard and aggressive stance on the criminal prosecution of cocaine and crack cocaine on both the state and federal levels. A conviction for the distribution of or intent to distribute cocaine has the very real possibility of resulting in state prison incarceration, even for a first time offender. Other penalties can include probation, in-patient drug counseling, mandatory community service, loss of your driving privileges, and thousands of dollars in fines. Moreover, additional punishments are incurred if the offense took place within a School Zone or within 500 feet of a Public Park or Housing. Getting an experienced criminal attorney involved early on can greatly increase your chances of having your charges downgraded, securing your admittance in Pre-Trial Intervention, or Drug Court to avoid jail and even a criminal record. Our firm dedicates a large percentage of its practice exclusively to representing serious criminal and municipal cases including cocaine distribution in Middlesex County, including Old Bridge, Dunellen, Metuchen, North Brunswick, Edison, South Plainfield, Woodbridge Township, and Cranbury. To speak with a Middlesex County cocaine lawyer about the circumstances of your case, please give our Edison office a call at (732) 659-9600.
Cocaine Distribution and Intent to Distribute N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5
The New Jersey statute for cocaine distribution and intent to distribute is found in section N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 of the New Jersey Criminal Code and is provided below, in pertinent part, for your convenience.
2C:35-5. Manufacturing, distributing or dispensing cocaine
a. [I]t shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or purposely:
(1) To manufacture, distribute or dispense, or to possess or have under his control with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, [cocaine]…or (2) To create, distribute, or possess or have under his control with intent to distribute, a counterfeit [cocaine].
b. Any person who violates subsection a. with respect to:
(1) [Cocaine]… in a quantity of five ounces or more including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the first degree. The defendant shall, except as provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:35-12, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $500,000.00 may be imposed; (2) A substance referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, in a quantity of one-half ounce or more but less than five ounces, including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the second degree;
(3) A substance referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection in a quantity less than one-half ounce including any adulterants or dilutants is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3, a fine of up to $75,000.00 may be imposed;
c. Where the degree of the offense for violation of this section depends on the quantity of the substance, the quantity involved shall be determined by the trier of fact. Where the indictment or accusation so provides, the quantity involved in individual acts of manufacturing, distribution, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense, whether distribution or dispensing is to the same person or several persons, provided that each individual act of manufacturing, distribution, dispensing or possession with intent to distribute was committed within the applicable statute of limitations.
Degree of Cocaine Distribution Charges in New Jersey
As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, the specific charges and penalties for a drug distribution offense are determined by two main factors: the type of drug and the quantity of drugs involved in the unlawful distribution. Regardless of the quantity involved, however, your cocaine distribution charge is classified as an indictable offense (felony). This means that you will be subject to possible prison time if convicted. Additionally, if your charge is classified as a first degree or second degree crime, there is a presumption of incarceration and you would face mandatory prison time. Beyond that, you could be subject to other penalties, such as fines, community service, suspension of your driver’s license, and civil asset forfeiture. The following shows the amounts and penalties for different degrees of cocaine distribution and possession with intent to distribute.
|First Degree||5 ounces or more of cocaine||10 – 20 years state prison; presumption of incarceration|
|Second Degree||½ ounce – less than 5 ounces of cocaine||5 – 10 years state prison; presumption of incarceration|
|Third Degree||Less than ½ ounce of cocaine||3 – 5 years of state prison|
The grading and penalties for cocaine distribution are identical to the grading and penalties for heroin distribution. This means that you will be charged with a first degree felony, and face up to 20 years in prison, if you are accused of distributing or possessing with intent to distribute at least five ounces of cocaine. Just like the charge for heroin distribution, a conviction for first degree distribution of cocaine will result in the judge sentencing you to a mandatory prison term. Even a second degree charge for intent to sell half an ounce to five ounces of cocaine carries a presumption of a prison sentence.
There are also collateral consequences to a cocaine distribution conviction, including a criminal record. If you end up being convicted, or pleading guilty, in your distribution case, you will have a felony conviction on your criminal record. This could cause significant difficulties for you long after you have completed any jail or prison sentence. You could struggle to get a job, apply for loans, and secure public housing, in addition to being barred from entry into foreign countries in the future.
Contact an Old Bridge NJ Cocaine Distribution Lawyer for Answers
The reality is that charges for distribution and intent to distribute cocaine or crack are very serious and usually very complicated because of various suppression issues that arise. These issues that are best litigated by an experienced criminal lawyer include the ability to file and argue issues such as an illegal stop due to the lack of probable cause, unconstitutional searches and seizures of drugs, insufficient Miranda warnings, and improper handling and testing of suspected drugs. As founding attorney, William A. Proetta, Esq., has handled a wide array of Superior Court and Municipal Court cases, many involving cocaine and drug distribution charges. We handle cocaine possession and distribution cases throughout New Jersey including in Monroe, Jamesburg, Milltown, New Brunswick, Avenel, and Plainsboro. If you would like a free consultation with a Middlesex County cocaine distribution attorney, contact our office at (732) 659-9600.