Being convicted on even a relatively minor drug charge can result in a significant jail sentence and severely impair your ability to find work, obtain decent housing or secure a college education. More serious drug charge convictions can of course also result in what effectively amounts to a lifetime prison sentence, which is what one former Atlantic City municipal worker is now facing after a sentencing hearing last week.

According to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the now 59-year-old man in question was originally arrested in Feb. 2010 on drug charges and official misconduct charges. Authorities say the alleged crimes took place at the All Wars Memorial Building the man managed for the Department of Public Works and included the distribution of more than 800 bags of heroin to an undercover operative during work hours.

Following a five-day trial in May of this year, a jury convicted the man of each of the 30 official misconduct and drug charges he was facing, including distribution within 500 feet of a public zone and distribution within 1,000 feet of a school zone.

Last Friday, an Atlantic County judge sentenced the man to eight years in prison for each of the five official misconduct convictions, with the sentences to be served consecutively (i.e., one after another) and no eligibility for parole until after the fifth year. The judge also sentenced the man to eight years in prison on each of drug conviction but said those sentences could be served concurrently. In real terms, this means that the man will have to serve 25 years in prison before he becomes eligible for release on parole, at which time he will be at least 82 years old.

If nothing else, this story highlights just how serious drug charges can be and emphasizes the need that people who have been accused of drug crimes by New Jersey authorities have for experienced legal representation from the very start.

Source: Shore News Today, “Egg Harbor Township man sentenced to 40 years on drug charges,” Laura Stetser, July 9, 2012