Facing A Heroin Possession Charge in New Jersey? We Can Help.
Heroin is one of the most highly addictive drugs available on the streets of New Jersey. Due to spikes in heroin overdoses, NJ law enforcement officials have issued severe criminal penalties for possession and distribution of heroin. Regardless of the specific offenses charged, all crimes involving heroin are indictable felonies.
The State of New Jersey aggressively pursues heroin offenders. It does not matter if individuals are caught with possession of any amount of heroin or they commit an offense such as maintaining a heroin production facility with the intent to distribute. NJ is going to be tough on any heroin-related charge.
The criminal defense lawyers at the Breslow Law Offices are former prosecutors, which broadens their knowledge of criminal law. This also means they have strong experience on both sides of the criminal court and know how to represent clients with the toughest criminal cases. The Breslow Law Offices are one of the oldest and most prominent law firms in New Jersey with over 45 years protecting NJ. To receive a free initial consultation, call their Verona office at 973-239-8000 or their Long Beach Island office at 609-494-8884.
How Is Heroin Classified in New Jersey?
Possessing heroin in the State of New Jersey is classified as a third-degree indictable offense. If convicted, a guilty defendant may be incarcerated, receive harsh fines, and lose their license. According to New Jersey law, controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are categorized into five schedules. Heroin falls under Schedule I. Even possessions of small amounts of heroin come severe consequences.
How NJ Determines Heroin Charges
The amount of heroin a person is accused of possession of will largely determine how NJ law enforcement applies a criminal charge and how prosecutors will treat a heroin case. Most NJ prosecutors will likely pursue a charge of intent to distribute if the amount of heroin involved is between one-half ounce up to five ounces. This is the case even if the defendant was in possession of heroin for their own personal use.
NJ is Strict When With Heroin-Related Convictions
Depending on the amount of the heroin involved, anyone charged with this type of drug crime would face significant punishment if they are found guilty and sentenced due to the association of a distribution intent charge as opposed to a possession charge.
However, The State of New Jersey also supports rehabilitation over jail-time for non-violent drug crime offenders. An experienced criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in New Jersey law can work to negotiate to see their clients receive an alternate sentence.
Manufacturing, Distributing and Dispersing of Heroin (N.J.S.A. 24:21-5)
Drugs, such as heroin, that have no acceptable medical use in treatment, have a high potential for abuse or addiction, and lack accepted safety for use even with medical supervision, are considered to be criminal offenses in accordance with N.J.S.A. 24:21-5 for manufacture, distribution, or dispersion.
Possession of heroin with intent to distribute is highly illegal in New Jersey. Arrest charges are contingent upon the specific amount (weight) of heroin involved with the alleged offense.
- First Degree Heroin Distribution: The most serious of distribution offenses, a First Degree charge involves five or more ounces of heroin and is punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State prison with a maximum fine of $500,000.
- Second Degree Heroin Distribution: Involves amounts of heroin ranging from one-half ounce to five ounces and is punishable by five to 10 years in New Jersey State prison, with a maximum fine of $150,000 and entails a presumption of incarceration.
- Third Degree Heroin Distribution: Involves heroin in quantities of less than one-half ounce and is punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from three to five years in New Jersey State prison, a maximum fine of $75,000, and entails a presumption of non-incarceration.
Anyone who is charged with any heroin-related crime should always immediately consult with a heroin possession lawyer to have their case evaluated. If convicted of a distribution drug charge, it will result in the defendant having a permanent criminal record. An attorney can help ensure the best outcome is received.
Possession of Heroin (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10)
Heroin possession in New Jersey is illegal and is considered to be a Third Degree indictable felony under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. Persons convicted of possession of less than one-half ounce of heroin may be sentenced to three to five years of prison, a maximum fine of $35,000, and a license suspension. Additionally, if a person is caught driving while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug, they are subject to a seven to 12-month driver’s license suspension.
However, since third-degree crimes also entail a presumption of non-incarceration, first-time offenders may be considered to be good candidates for a probation sentence or an ability to enter a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). An experienced criminal law attorney can advise defendants if they are eligible. If the defendant qualifies and successfully enrolls in PTI, their charges are suspended and ultimately dismissed if they successfully complete program requirements during the probationary period. PTI or drug intervention programs for heroin use look far better on a person’s permanent criminal record.
How Can a New Jersey Heroin Attorney Help with a Distribution Charge?
Criminal offenses involving heroin violate both federal and NJ state law. Penalties are stiff. This does not mean all hope is lost because a skilled New Jersey heroin attorney can help. They can look at the criminal charge, examine all circumstances leading up to the arrest and the arrest itself, and determine all possible potential defenses that could apply.
Depending on the circumstances of the offense, the arrest process, and any other aspects of the situation, an attorney may be able to downgrade charges or have the case dismissed by a judge. A good attorney will:
- Explore how the evidence was obtained by law enforcement and whether it falls under the category of illegal search and seizure.
- Determine if there was probable cause for police officers to search a car, residence, or other property.
- Identify any potential racial, gender, socio-economic, or other biases in the arrest.
- Determine if the prosecution can effectively prove actual possession of heroin.
- Recognize any other potential inaccuracies or assumptions that led to a heroin arrest charge without basis.
- Examine the defendant’s criminal record to see if they qualify for reduced charges, especially for defendants who are first-time offenders for drug charges.
Anyone arrested for NJ heroin possession should immediately contact an attorney to help them construct a defense or negotiate a plea to lesser charges. The more serious the charge, the harsher the consequences and in NJ, this can result in several years of jail and very expensive fines. Connecting with a knowledgeable attorney can often mean the difference between a long-term jail sentence and no jail time.
Call for Free Consultation with a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers Near You Today
Heroin possession charges are a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly. The consequences of this type of drug offense are severe, and the State of New Jersey has some of the harshest penalties in the United States when it comes to any type of heroin crimes. If you or a loved one are arrested on a heroin charge, consulting with an experienced New Jersey Heroin attorney is essential.
Attorneys Roy Breslow and Casey Breslow are highly experienced in matters involving New Jersey criminal law. They’ll help you get through the legal process and will aggressively work to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Their formulated and highly effective strategies have earned them an incredible track record of dismissals and favorable negotiated pleas in New Jersey Courts over the past four decades.