Distributing Drugs Near NJ Public Housing or Public Parks

     In New Jersey, there is an additional charge for distribution cases which occur within 500 feet most public buildings.  This means you may face your original charge for distribution under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, as well as a charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1.  A copy of the latter NJ statute is below.  Should you have any questions, the experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers of Avery & Avery can answer any of these in more detail at 201-943-2445.

Getting caught distributing drugs such as Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, extacy, LSD, MDMA, etc, can cost you years of your life in prison, massive fines, and a criminal record.  If you have been charged with distributing in a school zone however, the jail time significantly increases with up to 10 years in prison.  With over 40 years defending drug distribution offenses in NJ as Judge, Prosecutor, and private defense counsel, the attorneys of Avery & Avery should be your front line of defense if you have been charged with any drug offense in NJ.  For a free consultation, we invite you to contact one of our attorney's at 201-943-2445.


The following is a copy of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1, the NJ statute which governs criminal penalties regarding distribution of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) near public hosuing or parks :

N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1. Distributing, dispensing or possession controlled substances; proximity to public housing facilities, parks or buildings

a. Any person who violates subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5 by distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while in, on or within 500 feet of the real property comprising a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building is guilty of a crime of the second degree, except that it is a crime of the third degree if the violation involved less than one ounce of marijuana.

b. It shall be no defense to a prosecution for violation of this section that the actor was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 500 feet of a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building.

c. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for a violation of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5 (manufacturing, distributing or dispensing) or N.J.S.2C:35-6(employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme). Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for a violation of N.J.S.2C:35-7 or any other offense defined in this chapter.

d. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that the prohibited conduct did not involve distributing, dispensing or possessing with the intent to distribute or dispense any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog for profit, and that the prohibited conduct did not involve distribution to a person 17 years of age or younger. The affirmative defense established in this section shall be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. Nothing herein shall be construed to establish an affirmative defense with respect to a prosecution for an offense defined in any other section of this chapter.

e. In a prosecution under this section, a map produced or reproduced by any municipal or county engineer for the purpose of depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 500 feet of a public housing facility which is owned by or leased to a housing authority according to the “Local Redevelopment and Housing Law,” P.L.1992, c. 79 (C.40A:12A-1 et seq.), the area in or within 500 feet of a public park, or the area in or within 500 feet of a public building, or a true copy of such a map, shall, upon proper authentication, be admissible and shall constitute prima facie evidence of the location and boundaries of those areas, provided that the governing body of the municipality or county has adopted a resolution or ordinance approving the map as official finding and record of the location and boundaries of the area or areas on or within 500 feet of a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building. Any map approved pursuant to this section may be changed from time to time by the governing body of the municipality or county. The original of every map approved or revised pursuant to this section, or a true copy thereof, shall be filed with the clerk of the municipality or county, and shall be maintained as an official record of the municipality or county. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the prosecution from introducing or relying upon any other evidence or testimony to establish any element of this offense; nor shall this section be construed to preclude the use or admissibility of any map or diagram other than one which has been approved by the governing body of a municipality or county, provided that the map or diagram is otherwise admissible pursuant to the Rules of Evidence.

f. As used in this act:

“Public housing facility” means any dwelling, complex of dwellings, accommodation, building, structure or facility and real property of any nature appurtenant thereto and used in connection therewith, which is owned by or leased to a local housing authority in accordance with the “Local Redevelopment and Housing Law,” P.L.1992, c. 79 (C.40A:12A-1 et seq.) for the purpose of providing living accommodations to persons of low income.

“Public park” means a park, recreation facility or area or playground owned or controlled by a State, county or local government unit.

“Public building” means any publicly owned or leased library or museum

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