Hudson County Drug Distribution Attorney
It is difficult to overstate the gravity of facing drug distribution charges. Local and federal authorities prosecute these crimes aggressively. Convictions often carry mandatory minimum sentences, fines, and other penalties. Having drug crimes on your permanent record can also affect your ability to find employment, go to college, or rent a place to live. With so much at stake, anyone facing drug distribution charges needs an experienced and skilled legal advocate who can fight for their rights and liberties.
The Hudson County drug distribution lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law understand how challenging life can be when you have been arrested or are worried you might face charges. Our attorneys will listen compassionately to your side of the story and craft a customized defense to pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case. Contact our team today for a free case review to learn more about your legal options.
What Is Drug Distribution?
Drug distribution is a crime prosecutors can bring against anyone they suspect of selling, manufacturing, importing, or delivering controlled substances. The law applies to illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine, as well as the illegal distribution of prescription medications like oxycodone and fentanyl.
When Is Drug Distribution a Federal Offense?
The distribution of controlled substances is classified as a state crime in New Jersey, but it is also a federal crime. Federal charges may apply if:
- A federal agent, such as a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer, arrests you
- You face accusations of distributing drugs in large quantities
- Authorities suspect you of transporting, importing, or delivering controlled substances across state lines
In New Jersey, possession tends to be tried at the state level. However, those who traffic, manufacture, or distribute controlled substances are more likely to face federal charges.
Penalties from Drug Crime Convictions
In Hudson County, the penalties for drug crime convictions depend on the severity of the crime.
First-Degree Indictable Offenses
First-degree crimes include the distribution, sale, or possession with intent to distribute:
- 5 or more ounces of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, MDMA, or methamphetamine
- 100 or more milligrams of LSD
- 25 pounds or more of marijuana
If convicted, you may face 10 to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. First-degree crimes often have a mandatory minimum incarceration period of one-third to one-half the prison sentence. During this time, you will be ineligible for parole.
Second-Degree Indictable Offenses
Second-degree crimes include distributing or selling:
- At least half an ounce but less than 5 ounces of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, MDMA, or methamphetamine
- Under 100 milligrams of LSD
- At least 5 pounds but less than 25 pounds of marijuana
- 100 or more doses of prescription drugs
If convicted, you face between 5 and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $300,000.
Third-Degree Indictable Offenses
Third-degree crimes include distributing or selling:
- Less than half an ounce of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, MDMA, or methamphetamine
- At least 5 but less than 100 doses of prescription drugs
- At least 1 ounce but less than 5 pounds of marijuana
If convicted, you face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000
Fourth-Degree Indictable Offenses
Fourth-degree crimes include distributing, selling, or possessing with intent to distribute:
- Less than 1 ounce of marijuana
- Less than 5 doses of a prescription drug
If convicted, you may face up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Proving a Drug Distribution Charge
To convict someone of drug distribution, prosecutors must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant knowingly or intentionally possessed, manufactured, distributed, or dispensed a controlled dangerous substance.
- The substance was a controlled substance under the law.
- The defendant had no valid prescription or license to possess or distribute the substance.
- The defendant intended to distribute or dispense the substance to another person.
The prosecution often relies on circumstantial evidence like recorded conversations, informants, or eyewitness testimony to establish intent to distribute. The amount of drugs and the presence of packaging materials, scales, or cash can also serve as evidence. A skilled drug crimes attorney can scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence and hold them to their burden of proof.
Federal Drug Distribution Defense
While state drug distribution charges are serious matters, federal charges carry even more legal peril. Statistics show that most federal cases that go to trial end with a conviction. The sentencing guidelines are also generally harsher than state guidelines for similar crimes. If you are facing federal charges, you need an excellent federal drug distribution defense lawyer to optimize your chances of a favorable outcome.
Defense Strategies for Drug Distribution Charges
Your drug distribution attorney can:
- File suppression motions challenging unconstitutional searches, lack of probable cause, or defective warrants that led to evidence collection
- Seek dismissal of the charges by highlighting procedural errors, lack of evidence, or missing elements of the crime
- Negotiate for lesser charges like simple possession through plea bargaining
- Dispute drug weight calculations and testing procedures
- Challenge eyewitness identifications as mistaken or biased
- Present character witnesses and evidence of positive contributions to the community
- Reference sentencing guidelines to advocate for leniency and rehabilitation over incarceration
Why Hire a Hudson County Drug Distribution Lawyer?
Facing drug distribution charges in Hudson County can utterly upend your life. These complex cases require an assertive lawyer to protect your future. The skilled criminal defense attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law have a proven record of achieving successful case outcomes for our clients through dismissal of charges, acquittals at trial, and minimized sentences.
If you are facing drug distribution accusations, do not leave your fate to chance. With so much at stake, you need a trial-tested defense team fighting for your rights and freedom. We understand the challenges you are facing, and we are here to help. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you.