On its face, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3 “Leader of a Drug Network” seems like a pretty straightforward crime. While understanding the basic concept of the charge may be easy, actually handling such a case often proves complex and difficult. In practice, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3 is intended to involve organizers, financiers, managers, and supervisors of “drug enterprises.” Because the New Jersey Legislature’s intention was to fight drug distribution and prevalence in New Jersey, it enacted this statute that specifically applies to those individuals who are at the “heart of these operations.” Unlike other first degree crimes, a conviction for being the leader of a drug trafficking network may result in life in prison. Such a thought is quite sobering and demands that anyone facing these charges enlist the help of an experienced Morris County criminal trial attorney. If you or someone you know has been charged with distributing marijuana, possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, heroin possession, prescription drug distribution or possessing heroin with the intent to distribute in Morris County, the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. Our office has defending individuals charged with all of the aforesaid drug offenses, in towns like Dover, Denville, Roxbury, Parsippany, Hanover, Morristown, Boonton Mount Olive or Jefferson for over fifteen years. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation with any one of our eight Morris County drug distribution defense attorneys, please contact our Morristown office at 973-309-7050. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to answer any questions that you may have.
Leader of a Drug Trafficking Network in East Hanover, NJ
As a crime that carries the potential of life imprisonment, various proofs must be demonstrated by the Morris County Prosecutor or the Deputy Attorney General (if the Attorney General’s Office decides to handle the case). These proofs must be presented before a jury of your peers (or the defendant may elect for a bench trial and have the judge rule on all issues of law and fact). These proofs are, in pertinent part:
- That the substance involved is either methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine gamma hydroxybutyrate, flunitrazepam, or one of the controlled dangerous substances classified in Schedule I or II, or any of the analogs of those drugs;
- That there was a scheme or course of conduct to manufacture, distribute, dispense, bring into, or transport the substance into, New Jersey;
- That this was done unlawfully;
- That it was done for profit;
- That the defendant acted purposely to promote or facilitate the scheme or course of conduct;
- That there was an agreement between the defendant and at least one other person that they or one of them would commit, attempt, or solicit the commission of, that crime, or it must be proved that the agreement was to aid another person or persons in planning, committing, attempting, or soliciting the crime; and
- That the defendant was either an organizer, supervisor, financier, or manager of the conspiracy.
It is crucial that the prosecution present its case flawlessly, so as to prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. It is for this reason that have an experienced criminal trial attorney will prove fruitful. An attorney who understands the procedural and substantive law involved in presentation and admissibility of evidence can mean the difference between life in prison and walking away a free man. Illegally obtained evidence must be prevented from admission, thus protecting your constitutional rights at every stage of the prosecution.
What are the Penalties if Convicted of Leading a Drug Trafficking Network in NJ?
As mentioned prior, the charge for leading a drug trafficking network carries penalties that are more severe than other first degree crimes. Instead of only carrying up to twenty (20) years in prison, being a leader of a drug trafficking network exposes a defendant to a term of life in prison. Even if you are granted parole, such a release may not be granted until you have completed twenty-five (25) years of your parole ineligibility. Furthermore, since this is a crime of the first degree, there is no eligibility for admission into a drug rehabilitation facility in place of a term of imprisonment.
Morris County NJ Drug Distribution Defense Attorney
The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced drug distribution defense firm. Our office has been representing defendant’s charged with various drug offenses, like marijuana possession, possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute, heroin possession and possession of molly in towns like Morristown, Madison, Rockaway, Montville, Randolph and Pequannock for over fifteen years. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation, please contact our Morristown office directly at 973-309-7050.