Cocaine Distribution Attorney in Hackensack, NJ
Seasoned New Jersey Drug Crime Lawyer Represents Clients Charged with Cocaine Distribution in Bergen County, Essex County, Passaic County & Hudson County, NJ
New Jersey is known nationwide for its tough and aggressive stance against drugs like cocaine, especially their sale and distribution. If convicted of cocaine distribution in NJ, even as a first- time offender, you are highly likely to receive a lengthy jail or prison sentence. New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 makes it a felony to possess cocaine with the intent to sell to a person or entity. Even if all you did was share cocaine with a friend at a party in Fort Lee or Elmwood Park, NJ, you may be prosecuted for cocaine distribution. While possession of cocaine itself is a serious crime under New Jersey law, the penalties for possession with intent to distribute cocaine are significantly more severe.
With more than a decade of experience exclusively dedicated to criminal defense in Bergen County, Essex County, and throughout New Jersey, Hackensack criminal attorney Adam M. Lustberg knows New Jersey drug laws and has helped hundreds of defendants with charges similar to yours. Contact him today to discuss your cocaine distribution case.
Cocaine Distribution Penalties in New Jersey Are Based on Quantity and Weight
Whether you intended to sell or distribute the cocaine you were allegedly caught with doesn’t necessarily matter. It is common for NJ police and prosecutors to add the charge of distribution when the amount of cocaine is half an ounce or more. Possessing less than half an ounce of cocaine is a third degree felony crime. Possession of between half an ounce and five ounces is a second degree crime. Possession of more than five ounces of cocaine is a first degree crime.
Penalties for possession of between half an ounce and five ounces of cocaine with intent to sell distribute, deliver is a second degree crime:
- A state prison sentence of up to 10 years.
- Up to a $150,000 fine.
Penalties for possession of more than five ounces of cocaine with intent to sell, distribute, deliver is a first degree crime:
- A state prison sentence of up to 20 years.
- Up to a $500,000 fine.
The above penalties are for first-time offenders convicted of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. If you have prior criminal convictions, these penalties are likely to be more severe.
Note that these penalties can also increase if you are charged with distribution in a school zone or public park in New Jersey. Extenuating circumstances such as these could land you in prison for a mandatory 25 years with no possibility of early parole.
New Jersey’s Tough Stance Against Drug Traffickers Requires an Aggressive Defense Against Cocaine Possession Charges in Hackensack, NJ
As one of the toughest states against drug traffickers, a person convicted of cocaine distribution can potentially face a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence with no option for early parole. If convicted of distributing cocaine to a minor or pregnant woman, the penalty is doubled. If convicted of cocaine distribution on or within 500 feet of a school, public housing, drug treatment facility, methadone clinic, or homeless shelter, additional penalties will also apply.
When you’ve been charged with cocaine distribution or “trafficking” in Fair Lawn, Garfield, Hackensack, or anywhere else in New Jersey, fast action is critical. Any delay in hiring a qualified Bergen County cocaine distribution attorney may negatively impact the outcome of your case.
What’s at Stake When You’ve Been Charged with Cocaine Distribution in Hackensack, NJ?
First and foremost, if you’re convicted, you face the loss of your freedom because you may be incarcerated for decades, followed by a closely monitored, lengthy probation sentence. It could also cause you to lose your driver’s license and pay fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Once released from prison, as a convicted felon, it may substantially limit your job and educational opportunities and prevent you from obtaining certain professional licenses.
Challenging Evidence in Hackensack Cocaine Distribution Cases
Examples of the evidence that may be presented to prosecute a cocaine distribution case include:
- Separate packaging of the cocaine.
- Scales and/or other measuring equipment.
- Multiple cell phones.
- “Pay” and “Owe” sales records.
To fight for your constitutional rights, you need a New Jersey criminal defense attorney who is experienced at challenging the prosecution’s evidence. The prosecutor has the burden of proving the elements of your Rochelle Park cocaine distribution charges “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Your NJ drug crime defense attorney should be prepared to challenge their supposed evidence so that your case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Here are some of the challenges that Hackensack attorney Adam Lustberg might bring against the prosecutor’s allegations in your cocaine distribution case:
Search Warrants: Determining that the warrant to conduct the search was valid and consistent with the law. Was the cocaine distribution “evidence” seized in violation of any of your constitutional rights, constituting unlawful searches and seizures.
Substance Challenge: Forcing the prosecutor to prove that what they found was actually cocaine. In some cases, police rely on their experience and training to make a determination that the substance is cocaine. If it was never sent out to a lab for confirmation, whether the substance was cocaine or not could be challenged. In cases of possession of cocaine, attorney Adam Lustberg may negotiate with the prosecution and attempt to convince the prosecutor that the charges should be filed as a misdemeanor rather than as a felony, or that that client should be sent to the Drug Diversion Program rather than to prison.
Distribution Intent: With the four or more elements necessary to prove intent to sell, traffic, or distribute cocaine necessary to prove their case, any or all of those elements can be challenged.
Keep in mind that there are two different types of cocaine distribution charges:
- Actual possession: The prosecution must only prove that the defendant planned to manufacture, distribute, or disseminate cocaine that was found on their person or property.
- Constructive Possession: If the cocaine was not found on your person or property, it is considered constructive possession. In other words, if the police believe you are a drug trafficker and someone else is holding or selling cocaine that originated from you, that may be considered constructive possession.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney early in the process may result in some of the charges being dismissed before your case goes to trial, or you may be able to avoid going to trial altogether. If the case does proceed to trial and you are found guilty of some charges, the penalties may be less severe.
In Bergen County, Passaic County, Hudson County, and Essex County, NJ, prosecutors have varying priorities, policies, and political agenda in regard to cocaine distribution crimes. Attorney Adam M. Lustberg has been representing his clients in all four counties and beyond in New Jersey and is knowledgeable about their specific and individual proclivities that can work to your advantage. In addition, Adam Lustberg will examine every aspect of the prosecution’s case and identify what’s lacking in their evidence to create a strong defense on your behalf. Hackensack criminal defense attorney Adam Lustberg has successfully represented hundreds of defendants accused of every type of drug crime in NJ, including possession with intent to distribute cocaine, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, and illegal prescription drugs.
NJ Criminal Lawyer Adam Lustberg Is Prepared to Fight for Your Freedom and Defend You Against Cocaine Distribution Charges in Hackensack, New Jersey
As an experienced NJ drug crime lawyer who has handled hundreds of drug distribution defenses, attorney Adam M. Lustberg knows how to carefully examine the facts of your case, analyze the circumstances of your arrest and seizure of evidence, and build a strategy to attack the case against you. He will fight vigilantly to protect your constitutional rights. Moreover, if a trial becomes necessary, he will prepare an aggressive defense designed to attack the prosecutor’s case against you and help you beat your New Jersey cocaine distribution charges.
Timing is critical in NJ cocaine distribution cases, so don’t delay. Call Hackensack criminal defense attorney Adam M. Lustberg today or fill out the online contact form.