Children in Alabama should not face exposure to illegal drugs and drug activity. For this reason, Alabama, like all other states, has enacted long-standing “drug-free zone” laws. These laws provide enhanced penalties for those who commit certain drug crimes near schools and other places where children may be present.
Alabama’s drug-free school zone laws
Alabama’s drug-free school zone law can be found in Alabama Code Section 13A-12-250.
In Alabama, if a person sells a controlled substance within three miles of a school, college or other educational institution, they can face an enhanced penalty amounting to five years imprisonment without parole on top of the penalty for the underlying crime.
Alabama law compared to other state laws
Alabama’s drug-free zone expands in a three-mile radius. This is significantly larger than that of some other states wherein the drug-free zone is limited to less than 1,000 feet.
Some states have expanded their drug-free zones to include school buses, playgrounds, churches, public housing projects and even youth recreation centers. However, Alabama has only expanded its drug-free zone laws to include public housing projects.
In addition, Alabama’s drug-free zone laws are limited to the sale of controlled substances. Some other states include possession, delivery and manufacturing of controlled substances in their drug-free zone laws.
So, while Alabama’s drug-free zone encompasses a geographically greater area than that of many other states, in other ways Alabama’s drug-free zone laws are not as broad as those of other states.
Despite this, know that if you are convicted of selling drugs in a school zone in Alabama, you can expect to receive an enhanced penalty. A strong criminal defense strategy will be needed to address charges such as these.