Union Twp NJ Intent to Distribute Cocaine Attorney
Cocaine Distribution Lawyer in Union County, New Jersey
New Jersey has taken a hard and aggressive stance on cocaine and crack cocaine on the state and federal level. Cocaine Possession with be upgraded to intent to distribute if the officers conclude that you have more cocaine A conviction for distribution or intent to distribute cocaine has the very real possibility ending in state prison incarceration, even for a first time offender. Other penalties can include probation, in-patient drug counseling, community service, loss of your driver’s license, and thousands in fines. Moreover, you will face additional punishment if charged with cocaine distribution within a School Zone or distribution of cocaine within 500 ft of a Public Park or Housing. Getting an experienced criminal attorney involved early on can greatly increase your chances of having your charges downgraded or securing your admittance in Pre-Trial Intervention or Drug Court to avoid jail and even a criminal record. Our firm exclusively represents serious criminal and municipal cases including cocaine distribution throughout New Jersey including Union Township, Rahway, Linden, Roselle Park, Springfield, and Cranford. If you would like to speak with a highly reputable Union County criminal lawyer about the circumstances and details of your case then please give our office a call at (908) 838-0150.
Felony Cocaine Distribution & Intent to Distribute Charges in NJ Explained
It is illegal to distribute cocaine, no matter how much, though sentencing is affected by the amount or weight of the drug in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. So, distributing means getting the drugs into other people’s hands or intending to do so. Once a drug is produced, by either growing it or manufacturing it in a lab or other place of production, it is then sold. Those who get the drugs to buyers are distributors. Those who make the drug can be charged with manufacturing under the same statute. And dispensing cocaine, even without financial benefit, still qualifies as illegal conduct under state law.
If you distribute 5 ounces or greater, including whatever it is mixed with, you are facing upwards of 20 years for a first degree crime of distributing cocaine, if convicted. Your fine can go as high as $500,000.00. Amounts under 5 ounces but greater than ½ ounce leads to a second degree crime punishable by 5 to 10 years’ incarceration, but anything less than a half ounce is a third degree crime. If you commit a first or second degree crime, it is assumed that you will be sentenced to prison. However, the severity of the charges may also depend on whether you have a criminal history or whether you possessed or distributed on school property, at a public housing, or in a public park. If a minor was involved in your operation or was a sales target, your sentence may be enhanced.
2C:35-5 New Jersey Crack and Cocaine Distribution Law
The New Jersey statute for cocaine distribution and intent to distribute is listed below, in pertinent part, for your convenience.
2C:35-5. Manufacturing, distributing or dispensing
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.
Remember – the Severity of a Cocaine Charge goes by Degree, Weight, Penalty
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
What can Make Authorities Assume You Intend to Distribute Cocaine
A Schedule II drug, cocaine is considered dangerous, addictive, and non-medicinal. New Jersey law is stringent about using, selling, or making it. As such, simply possessing the drug may be interpreted as possessing with the intent to distribute by law enforcement. The distinction between mere possession and distribution can be murky at times. If you have 5 ounces or more of cocaine, a law enforcement officer could reasonably assume you possess enough cocaine for distribution and that, in fact, you intend to sell or distribute it.
Other indications of your intent to distribute may be found in your accessories or paraphernalia. So, even a lesser amount of cocaine carried in your car or on your person, along with a scale or supply of plastic bags could be evidence of distribution. An officer does not have to catch you in the act of selling cocaine to infer that you intend to sell or distribute. They can look at all the evidence. Even if you did purchase cocaine merely to use it and not to distribute it, you could be charged with possession and distribution if it appears from the evidence that you had an intention other than personal use.
Linden NJ Cocaine Distribution Lawyer
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 must be litigated by an experienced criminal lawyer. For example, we will file and argue issues such as an illegal stop with no probable, unconstitutional searches and seizures of drugs, insufficient Miranda warnings, and improper handling and test of suspect drugs. As founding attorney, William A. Proetta, Esq., has handled over a thousand Superior Court and Municipal Court cases, many involving cocaine and drug distribution charges. We handle cocaine distribution cases throughout New Jersey including Roselle, Kenilworth, Westfield, New Providence, Fanwood, and Summit. So if you would like a free consultation with a cocaine distribution attorney then contact our office for a free initial consultation at (908) 838-0150.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have office locations conveniently located in Jersey City, Edison, Middletown, Cranford, Burlington, and Hamilton. All major credit cards are accepted