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New Jersey Drug Distribution Lawyer

Drug distribution is a crime that is generally acted upon by police after either witnessing the act itself or by using an informant. As opposed to drug cases involving simple possession or intent to distribute, there is usually no warrant involved. 

Because of this, defending counsel in these cases need to be especially aggressive and possess extensive attention to detail. Distinguished drug distribution lawyers represent clients who have been accused of distributing drugs. Whether the arrest happened due to a sting operation, or the police claim that they witnessed a deal, attorneys can help.

New Jersey Drug Laws

New Jersey drug laws are interesting in that the law makes no differentiation between possession and distribution. This means that if a person is caught with 10 grams of cocaine for instance, there is no argument under the law that the drugs were merely for personal use, the consequences are the same. In New Jersey Statute 2C:35-5, the law makes it illegal:

  • To manufacture, distribute or dispense, or to possess or have under their control with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog
  • To create, distribute, or possess or have under their control with intent to distribute, a counterfeit controlled dangerous substance

Where the concept of distribution becomes important is in the aggravating factors that may come into play. These are circumstances that make the original charges more serious based upon where the arrest was made, or who a person sells drugs with. Two examples are:

  • Distribution near a school. NJ Statute 2C:35-7
  • Employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme. NJ Statute 2C:35-6
Potential Penalties

The penalties associated with drug distribution cases vary based on the type of drugs found and their quantity. Some examples include:

  • Distribution of heroin in the amount of five ounces or more is a first-degree crime. In addition, the person may be required to pay a fine of up to $500,000
  • Distribution of methamphetamine in the amount of five ounces or more is a first-degree time, with an added fine of up to $300,000
  • Distribution of marijuana in the amount of between five and 25 pounds is a third-degree crime with and added fine of up to $150,000

Attorneys will examine the allegation in a person’s case to determine exactly what the potential penalties in the case may be. A conviction under any of these categories carries a potential jail sentence.

A fourth-degree crime has a maximum penalty of incarceration up to 18 months. The most serious crimes, first-degree crimes, carry a maximum sentence of 20 years. More information about degrees of crime in New Jersey can be found in NJ Statute 2C:43-6.

It is important to note that the potential penalties are tied to the amount of drug that a person is accused of possessing. The district attorney will need to demonstrate both the amount and the authenticity of the drugs alleged. New Jersey drug distribution lawyers can dispute the amount and authenticity in court.

The Nature of Drug Distribution Cases

If a person is arrested, the prosecution is required to turn over all the evidence against that person to the defendant’s attorney. In drug distribution cases, this can include evidence of the use of a confidential informant, or CI.

New Jersey Rule of Evidence 516 states that the identity of an informant is to be kept secret except if that informant is a material witness to the case.

If for example, a person is accused of selling drugs to a confidential informant, there is an argument to be made that the informant is a material witness to the case and therefore, the defendant has the right to cross-examine that witness at trial.

Drug distribution attorneys are familiar with this process and will fight to ensure that their client’s right to confront their accuser is recognized.

Speaking with an Attorney

From the initial arrest, through the arraignment, through a possible trial, dealing with a drug distribution accusation is a complex and intimidating matter. New Jersey drug distribution lawyers fight to protect the rights of their clients and to provide a thorough and well-reasoned defense.

By examining every aspect of the evidence brought against you, to questioning witnesses, to filing motions, to litigating in court, local drug lawyers are with you every step of the way.