Since its surge in the 1980s, cocaine has remained a mainstream drug among teenagers and adults alike. Due to its popularity, distribution of cocaine by “dealers” has proved to be a lucrative venture. Accordingly, the state legislature has fashioned drug-related laws to try and curb both the use and distribution of Schedule II drugs such as cocaine. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, it unlawful for a person to knowingly or purposely manufacture, distribute or dispense, or possess or have under his or her control with the intent to distribute or dispense a controlled dangerous substance or controlled dangerous substance analog. Depending on the amount of drugs the defendant possessed at the time of the arrest, charges for cocaine distribution may carry up to twenty (20) years in a New Jersey State Prison. If you or someone you know has been charged with distributing cocaine in Morris County, New Jersey, in towns like Roxbury, Parsippany, Dover, Denville, Montville and Boonton, the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. Our team of Morristown NJ possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute defense attorneys has the experience and skill set required to successfully defend your liberty. If you would like to set up a consultation with any one of of eight Morris County, NJ criminal defense attorneys please contact our Morristown office at 973-309-7050.
Roxbury NJ Cocaine Distribution Attorneys: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5
There are two situations that generally lead to drug distribution charges in Morris County: 1) getting caught in the act of distributing drugs and 2) possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute it at a later date. Under the first situation, the State need only prove that:
- The defendant possessed a controlled dangerous substance or its analog;
- The defendant either manufactured, dispensed or distributed the said item; and
- The defendant’s aforesaid actions were knowingly or purposely committed.
Under the second situation, “possession with intent to distribute”, the Prosecutor will look to prove that the defendant:
- Possessed cocaine or at least had it in his/her control;
- Knew what he possessed was cocaine; and
- Possessed the cocaine with an intent to distribute it.
With regard to possession under both sections, either actual or constructive possession is sufficient. Actual possession typically involves having physical custody, control or contact of an object. Constructive possession typically involves situations where there is no physical custody of the cocaine, but instead the defendant has knowledge of the cocaine and the ability to control it.
Is Cocaine Distribution a Felony in NJ?
Cocaine distribution is an indictable offense (more commonly referred to as a felony) in New Jersey. Depending on the amount of cocaine in the defendant’s possession at the time of the arrest, this may be a first, second or third degree indictable offense. Where the quantity of cocaine possessed at the time of the arrest was five (5) ounces or more, including any adulterants, the charges will be in the first degree. Where the quantity of cocaine possessed at the time of the arrest was one-half ounce or more (>1/2), but less than five ounces including any adulterants or dilutants, the charges will be in the second degree. Lastly, it will be a third degree crime where the quantity of cocaine possessed at the time of the arrest was less than one-half (<1/2) ounce.
Penalties for Cocaine Distribution in New Jersey?
As a defendant, if you are convicted of a first degree crime for cocaine distribution, you will face up to twenty (20) years in a New Jersey State Prison, which may include a term of parole ineligibility and a fine up to $500,000. What is of particular importance here is that a first degree drug distribution charge will carry a minimum term. This means that prison is mandatory and you will have a period of parole ineligibility fixed at anywhere from a third to one-half of the sentence imposed. In practice, this would mean that a twenty (20) year sentence would require that the court impose a minimum term of between six (6) and ten (10) years during which time you will not be eligible for parole. If convicted of a second degree crime, you will face between five (5) and ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison, and a fine up to a $150,000.00 fine. As a second degree charge, this carries a presumption of incarceration as well. Finally, if convicted of a third degree crime for cocaine distribution, you face up to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison and a fine up to to a $75,000.00 fine.
Cocaine Distribution Defense Attorneys in Roxbury NJ
The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is comprised of eight Morris County criminal defense lawyers, making our office one of the largest criminal defense firms in the State let alone Morris County. As you can tell, if convicted of distributing cocaine, possession of heroin, possession of marijuana, distributing marijuana or possession of cocaine in New Jersey, the penalties can be life altering. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation, please contact our Morristown office as soon as possible. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.