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What are the grounds for a drug distribution charge in New Jersey?

All drug crimes have severe penalties in New Jersey, but drug distribution has the harshest. The penalties for this crime depend on the amount that a person distributes, as well as the type of drug in question. Nonetheless, all types of drug distribution can result in a sentence of imprisonment and expensive fines.

Drug distribution in New Jersey

Under the law, a person who traffics drugs across state lines, transports drugs for sale or sells drugs directly to buyers commits the felony of drug distribution. The amount of drugs a person has will determine the penalties they will have to face if the court convicts them. The type of drug also matters. The penalties for the most common drugs to distribute are:

Heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine

  • 5 oz. or more: 1st-degree crime, 10-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 ($30,000 for meth)
  • ½ oz. or 5 o.: 2nd-degree crime, 5-10 yrs. in prison and a fine up to $150,000
  • Less than ½ oz.: 3rd-degree crime 3-5 yrs. in prison and a fine up to $75,000

Marijuana

  • 25 lbs. or more: 1st-degree crime, 10-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $300,000
  • 5 to 25 lbs.: 2nd-degree crime, 5-10 yrs. in prison and a fine up to $150,000
  • 1 oz. to 5 lbs.: 3rd-degree crime, 3-5 yrs. in prison and a fine up to $25,000
  • Less than 1 oz.: fourth-degree crime only if it is the second time the person has this amount, up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $15,000

The court considers the distribution of other Schedule I and II drugs as a second or third-degree crime if its quantity is more than an ounce. Schedule I and II drugs are the drugs that have a high potential for abuse, such as cocaine and heroin. However, cocaine and heroin have different treatments under the law.

Aggravating factors

The penalties for drug distribution can increase if the crime involves the use of violence or threats. The same applies if a person commits the crime of drug distribution in specific places. People who drug deal or who face arrest in a school zone, school bus, public housing project or public park will face harsher consequences.

The right to fight back

Facing drug distribution charges does not necessarily lead to a conviction. A person with a drug distribution charge has the right to present their arguments to the court if they want to avoid a conviction. At Law Office of Michael P. McGuire, LLC we have experience with New Jersey’s criminal justice system, and we can help build a case to ensure your rights are protected in court. Call 732-704-7331 or contact the firm to schedule a free consultation.