If you are caught selling drugs, the crime that you will most likely be charged with in NJ is Drug Distribution [N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5]. If you are caught selling drugs close to a school you can be charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (Selling Drugs on or Near School Grounds) which is a much more serious offense.
A distribution charge should be taken very seriously and includes many circumstances you may not even be aware of.
In New Jersey, you can be convicted of distribution if the authorities simply find a large quantity of drugs in your possession. This means that police do not even need to have actual, concrete evidence of the transaction and distribution before you can be charged. Circumstantial evidence will suffice.
You might wonder, “How can they get away with that?”
Police and prosecutors would argue that although they do not have direct evidence linking you to the sale of drugs, the amount in your possession far exceeds the usual amount for personal consumption. Another way they do this is to show that two people were talking on the street. One was found with illicit substances and the other was found with a fairly large sum of cash. In this situation, although no direct evidence of a transfer exists, the surrounding circumstances are sturdy enough to bring charges against either (or both) parties for violating N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.
The Use of Informants
Other ways that police officers can catch you is through the use of a confidential informant. A confidential informant (CI) is a person who the police use to contact those who they suspect of selling or distributing drugs. The CI will then attempt to get you to sell him drugs. All the while the CI’s actions will be recorded and witnessed by law enforcement officers. If the CI is successful, you will be arrested. Moreover, this incident will then be used as evidence against you when the prosecution is making its case.
What Do I Do if the Police Confront Me About Selling Drugs?
If the police confront you on the street, whatever you do, do not run away! If you run, you might be considered a “fleeing suspect,” which means police officers will be given extra discretion to act in ways that normally would require a warrant and probable cause. Stay put, be polite, and feel free to tell them that you want to walk away.
Remember, the law does not require you to answer any of their questions or to remain in their presence (unless they arrest you). Most importantly, if you think their questions could implicate or incriminate you, feel free to politely and diplomatically refuse to answer. If they do arrest you, do not forget that you have a constitutional right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. Do not let the police intimidate you. If you are charged with a crime, invoke your constitutional rights and hire an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved one was charged with a drug-related offense in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm today. Mr. Rosenblum is a skilled criminal defense attorney who has helped people in similar situations. He will defend your constitutional rights, fight to keep you out of jail, and do what he can to have your distribution charges dismissed. E-mail or call him today at 888-815-3649.