Over the years, the federal government has taken a number of initiatives to combat the possession, manufacture, sale, and use of prohibited drugs one of which is the establishment of drug-free zones. Such initiatives have also been taken by the individual states on the state level.
One of the earliest of these initiatives was the establishment of drug-zone zones. These zones were largely established through federal laws promulgated as far back as 1970. The states followed suit later and began devising their own drug-free zone laws in the 1980s. Here is a look at what drug-free zones are and what Idaho laws are concerning such zones.
What Are Drug-Free Zones?
Drug-free zones are legally-designated areas where the sale or possession of prohibited drugs carries far more severe penalties. State laws may designate any area a drug-free zone. However, the general practice is that the area in and around schools, colleges or other educational institutions with young students are designated as such. This is why drug-free zones are often also called drug-free school zones.
The establishment of such zones allows the state to bring more serious charges against any person found to be possessing or selling drugs within the designated area.
What Are Idaho’s Laws For Drug-Free School Zones?
Idaho’s state laws for drug-free school zones are primarily defined in the Idaho Statutes Section 37-2739B. As per this section, the penalties for an offender include a prison term of at least five years and a maximum of life sentence if:
“the violation occurred on or within one thousand (1,000) feet of the property of any public or private primary or secondary school, or in those portions of any building, park, stadium or other structure or grounds which were, at the time of the violation, being used for an activity sponsored by or through such a school.”
So if a person is found trafficking drugs within a school or within 1000 feet of any area as defined above, the penalties will apply. The laws apply when the possession of drugs is discovered with the intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture.
Objections to the Establishment of Drug-Free School Zones
A number of objections are frequently raised against the designation of drug-free school zones. The most notable among these is that the laws apply even in situations where drug trafficking has nothing to do with a school or the students at a school. For instance, if a person is found possessing drugs nearly a thousand feet from a drug-free school zone, or near the school outside of school hours, the penalties still apply.
In such situations, it is argued, the application of the enhanced penalties is unfair as the suspect didn’t actively engage in drug trafficking to anyone related to the school. For some cities, the drug-free school zone laws are so extensively applied that they literally cover the entire city’s jurisdiction.
The main danger, opponents say, is that the authorities may often be enticed to set up drug dealers close to or within these zones. This is done simply to be able to bring up more serious charges against the suspects. However, it deliberately brings drugs and drug dealers to an area which was meant to be protected by these laws in the first place.
However, proponents of the law claim that these laws are specifically meant to prevent drug dealers from targeting children. The efficacy of these laws remains an open question.
As a result of the objections cited above, many states have decided to reform their drug-free zone laws. These include South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware and Connecticut. However, the drug-free school zone laws in Idaho remain the same without any notable changes to them over the years.
This means that if you are found in possession of drugs within a designated school zone, you are likely to face penalties that are almost a harsh as penalties faced in a murder charge.
Hiring an Experienced Drug Crimes Lawyer in Boise, ID
If you have been charged with a drug crime specifically in a drug-free zone, you are in for harsher penalties. This is why it is important to get sound legal help so that you are fairly represented and defended.
Here at Hooper Law Offices, we have an extensive experience of working with cases involving drug crimes and possession charges. Our experts can help you shore up a fair defense against charges, as charges brought in such cases are not always fair. Call us today to book a consultation with our attorneys and get the legal representation you deserve.