Drug Free Zone Enhancement
What is a Drug Free Zone (DFZ)?
A drug free zone, or DFZ was created by the legislature to curb the selling of drugs on or near school property and playgrounds. They created what they called, “drug free zones”, which was essentially a 1,000-foot protective area around any premises owned, leased, or rented by an institution of higher learning, a public or private youth center, or on a school bus. Additionally, there is a 300-foot protective area around a public swimming facility, and also a video-arcade facility.
How is this applied?
When the charges are filed, the arresting officer will inform the prosecutor at intake that the suspect was found in possession of the illegal substance within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, etc. The prosecutor will then add the DFZ enhancement to the charging information.
What it does in terms of punishment?
When charged with a DFZ enhancement, it bumps your penalty range up one level. So for instance, if you were charged with a class B possession of marijuana, you will now be facing class A charge due to the DFZ enhancement paragraph. A class A marijuana charge with a DFZ will be elevated to a State Jail Felony, and so on.
The real significant change is for anyone already charged with a first degree felony marijuana charge. Their punishment remains a first degree felony, but instead of looking at 5-99 or life, they are now looking at 10-99 or life and their fine amount doubles.