Juvenile CDS Distribution

Trenton Juvenile Drug Distribution Lawyers

There are few calls a parent can receive that are worse than one advising that their juvenile son or daughter has been arrested for distribution of drugs, also referred to as CDS (i.e. Controlled Dangerous Substance). The decisions made in the hours following an arrest for selling marijuana, cocaine, MDMA, LSD, heroin, prescription drugs or another CDS can have tremendous impact on a child’s life and future. This is the primary reason why you need to consult a qualified juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible following being charged. The lawyer you select should have the benefit of experience practicing in the Juvenile Part of the Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton, the location where all charges involving possession with intent to distribute drugs by a minor are heard. Our attorneys have extensive familiarity with this court as litigators who have been handling the defense of criminal cases in the court system for over a century between us. Several lawyers on our staff also have the benefit of insight gained as prosecutors. Our goal, once we are on board, is to minimize the consequences of your child’s juvenile offense so that any impact to his/her future is eliminated or reduced. To speak to a member of our staff immediately, contact our office at 609–683–8102.

How the New Jersey Juvenile Court System Differs from the Adult Court System

A violation of the New Jersey Drug Code is typically treated very differently for a juvenile as compared to an adult. A charge involving selling, distributing or possession with intent to distribute CDS carries consequences that can be life changing but they do not involve the same penalties as an adult. The only exception is where a juvenile who is older than 14 is waived to adult court and tried as an adult in Trenton. Absent application of this limited exception, juvenile drug distribution proceedings are not considered criminal but rather an adjudication of the best interests of the child with the principal objective being rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. Education and treatment services are often implemented on behalf of New Jersey juveniles as a means of achieving these goals. The Juvenile Judge sitting in Trenton has a wide range of potential recourse including:

  • A term of probation;
  • Residential or outpatient treatment;
  • Admission to a residential program;
  • Home confinement;
  • Electronic monitoring; and
  • Detention

To convict your child of distribution under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, the prosecutor must prove that he/she possessed or had control over a CDS, was aware the object was a drug, and either distributed, sold or possessed the CDS/drug with the intent of distributing it. The chart below outlines the grading of a drug distribution charge.

Grade of Offense

Type & Quantity of Drugs

First Degree CrimeFive ounces or more of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or MDMA;Twenty-five pounds or more of marijuana;One-hundred milligrams or more of LSD.
Second Degree CrimeAt least one-half ounce but less than five ounces of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or MDMA;At least five pounds but less than twenty-five pounds of marijuana;Less than one-hundred milligrams of LSD;One-ounce or more of a Schedule I or II CDS not specifically set forth; orMore than 100 dosage units of a prescription legend drug.
Third Degree CrimeLess than one-half ounce of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or MDMA;At least one-ounce but less than five pounds of marijuana;Distribution of any form of CDS contained on Schedule I, II, III 0r IV not previously set forth; orAt least five dosage units but less than one-hundred of a prescription legend drug.
Fourth Degree CrimeLess than one-ounce of marijuana;Distribution of a Schedule V CDS; orFour or fewer dosage units of a prescription legend drug.

The maximum period of detention is four years for a first degree crime involving distribution of CDS, three years for a second degree crime for possession with intent to distribute, two years for a third degree crime for selling drugs and one year for a fourth degree crime alleging distribution of marijuana, hash, a Schedule V CDS or prescription legend drugs.

Trenton Juvenile Possession With Intent to Distribution CDS Defense Attorney

Having a defense attorney with the experience, knowledge and skill to successfully defend your child in a drug distribution case is critical. The attorneys that make up the criminal team at the Marshall Law Firm are seasoned litigators who have defended countless juveniles in Trenton just like your son/daughter. We certainly have the tools that are needed to make certain that the very best outcome is achieved in your CDS distribution case. Our lawyers will work hard to avert a conviction. Call us at 609–683–8102 to speak to a lawyer in a free consultation.

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  3. 3 Former County & Municipal Prosecutors

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