New Jersey Brimage Guidelines
Totowa NJ Drug Charges Defense Lawyer
Alissa D. Hascup, a skilled criminal defense attorney, represents clients charged with serious drug (CDS) related offenses such as marijuana distribution, heroin distribution, and prescription drug crimes throughout New Jersey, including in Paterson, Clifton, Newark, Wayne, and Passaic County.
She is a battle-tested defense lawyer who has successfully handled thousands of cases in New Jersey, in Superior Court (indictable/felony level offenses) and Municipal Court (disorderly persons/misdemeanor level offenses). Ms. Hascup is a former assistant county prosecutor and special deputy attorney general, who handled a number of drug (CDS) cases during the course of her distinguished career. Now she is fighting for you.
If you have pled guilty to or been found guilty of any drug (CDS) related offense, the consequences can be severe. It is imperative for you to have an experienced attorney represent you at all critical stages of the process, including the sentencing stage, and fight on your behalf for the best possible outcome. Contact Ms. Hascup’s office anytime for an initial consultation, which is always provided free of charge.
Drug Charges Sentencing: New Jersey’s Brimage Guidelines
(Mandatory Periods of Parole Ineligibility for Certain Drug-Related Convictions)
In State v. Brimage, 153 N.J. 1 (1998), the New Jersey Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-12, an “atypical” sentencing statute that shifts sentencing power from the judge to the prosecutor. In an attempt to satisfy the constitutional requirements of the separation of powers doctrine, the Supreme Court in Brimage directed the Attorney General to issue new guidelines – now known as the ‘Brimage Guidelines.’ The ‘Brimage Guidelines’ are intended to guide prosecutors by specific, universal standards, promote uniformity, and prevent arbitrariness in plea negotiations. They became effective on May 20, 1998.
Defense attorneys often negotiate plea agreements on behalf of their clients, but still reserve the opportunity to argue for a downward departure at the time of sentencing. Frequently, judges agree with the defense and impose lower sentences than those called for under the plea agreements. But, an agreement made under the ‘Brimage Guidelines’ binds judges – they can not depart from plea agreements in those cases.
Charges Subject to NJ Brimage Guidelines
- N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3 Leader of a Drug Trafficking Network
- N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4 Operating a Drug Production Facility
- N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 Distribution/Possession With Intent to Distribute – First Degree OR
- N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 Distribution/Possession With Intent to Distribute – Repeat Offender
- N.J.S.A. 2C:35-6 Using a Juvenile in Drug Distribution
- N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 Distribution/Possession With Intent to Distribute in a School Zone
Example of Brimage Sentencing vs. Standard Sentencing:
If you are charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, Distribution/Possession With Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) and you are first-time offender, you may be eligible to enter a plea agreement that will only subject you to a non-custodial sentence (i.e., probationary sentence). However, if you are charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, Distribution/Possession With Intent to Distribute CDS and you are a repeat offender, the ‘Brimage Guidelines’ will likely be applicable and your sentence will likely be a term of imprisonment in New Jersey State Prison with a mandatory period of parole ineligibility.
Contact a Passaic County CDS Charges Defense Lawyer Today
A conviction for a drug (CDS) related offense, can be serious, especially if the conviction carries exposure to sentencing under the ‘Brimage Guidelines.’ If you or a loved one is in such a situation, don’t delay in hiring legal representation. Protect your freedom. Alissa D. Hascup is available anytime to discuss your case. Contact her now for your free initial consultation about your charges.