School Zone Drug Violation
The crime of Distributing or Possessing with Intent to Distribute Drugs within 1,000 feet of a public or private school or within 100 feet of a public park or playground.
The School Zone charge is in addition to a charge of Distribution or Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs. He/she can only be convicted of a School Zone violation if he/she is convicted of one of the other two charges. Therefore, there can be no conviction on a School Zone charge if the other charge is mere Possession.
The penalty is a mandatory 2 years in a county house of correction (HOC) from and after the sentence for the underlying conviction of distribution or possession with intent to distribute drugs.
Defense Strategies for School Zone Drug Violation:
A School Zone charge is very serious because it requires a mandatory 2-year jail sentence. What’s worse, the alleged crime only has to be committed within 1,000 feet from a school, not necessarily on the school property. So, if the police stop you near a school, you can be charged with a School Zone Violation.
However, you can only be charged with a School Zone Violation if you have been charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs or Distribution of Drugs. There can be no School Zone Violation with straight Possession. Therefore, one strategy for a School Zone Violation is to reduce the charge from Possession with Intent or Distribution to straight Possession.
Other strategies include filing motions to Dismiss for Lack of Probable Cause or to Suppress Evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure, including statements you may have made while in custody. Since the decriminalization of less than an ounce of marijuana and the case of Commonwealth v. Cruz, the police can no longer search a vehicle because of the smell of marijuana.
We may also file a motion for Pre-Trial Diversion or negotiate with the District Attorney to break down the charges, i.e. dismiss the School Zone Violation. In addition, we may convince the District Attorney to reduce the charge to Possession and plead out to a Continuation Without a Finding (CWOF), so you do not suffer a loss of your driver’s license.
So, if you are charged with a School Zone Violation, or any other drug charges, please call me right away. I will gladly discuss your case, give you an honest opinion, discuss your rights, and tell you what I can do to help. Your initial consultation is absolutely FREE, with no obligation. So, pick up your phone right now and let me begin to worry about your case, while you go on with your life.
“Dear Elliot, Thank you for taking care of my problem so quickly. I really appreciated it. Wish me luck!!”