Many criminal drug rings utilize several acting parties. Rarely is any dealer a one-person operation. The primary seller typically must get their supply from one entity to sell to another, and carriers are also used in delivery of the product. However, including a juvenile in any part of a drug operation in New Jersey can make a significant difference when sentencing is handed down in prosecution. Drug rings are often structured in this manner to serve as insulation for the supplier, which is not acceptable in the New Jersey court system.
More than contributing to delinquency
The common criminal application in most states in this scenario is a contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Most states prosecute the charge as a misdemeanor, which can result in a one-year sentence at worst for the defendant. While the original charge will appear as simple drug charges for possession, adults who are caught supplying substances to juveniles for sales or using them for delivery purposes could be facing even more charges due to the case evidence that can be used in the felony contributing prosecution case as well.
Defending against felony contributing
It is important for all defendants to understand that contributing to the delinquency of a minor by encouraging them to commit an illegal drug act is a separate charge from any drug charge. Many times the primary evidence is the minor’s testimony. The problem is that the restricted approach to prosecuting a juvenile can also apply to cross-examination if the state is using their testimony as evidence. This makes these cases very difficult to defend.
Anyone in New Jersey who is involved in any criminal activity that utilizes juveniles should realize how seriously the court takes this matter. A criminal charge can all but end any chance for a plea bargain in a primary case.