Heroin Charges, Penalties, and Defense in New Jersey
Bergen County Lawyers Defending Clients Charged with Possession, Distribution, and Intent to Distribute Heroin
A heroin charge is one of the most serious drug crimes in the State of New Jersey. The reality is that drug abuse is no longer just an “inner city” concern. Heroin addiction has become a real problem in suburbs throughout New Jersey. People in these more affluent areas are using heroin as a cheaper alternative to prescription pills and other drugs. Prosecutors have responded to the spread of heroin in New Jersey by seeking maximum penalties in heroin possession and heroin distribution cases. If you are caught in possession of even a small amount of heroin, you could be looking at significant prison time, as well as a drug crime conviction on your permanent record. If you find yourself arrested and facing heroin charges in New Jersey, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
The Tormey Law Firm knows how to beat your heroin charges. Our experienced NJ criminal defense attorneys have successfully represented countless clients charged with drug crimes in Bergen County, Morris County, Essex County, Passaic County, Hudson County, and throughout New Jersey. Travis J. Tormey, the firm’s founding partner, knows what it takes to beat your drug charges because he used to work at the United States Attorney’s Office in a variety of capacities. Mr. Tormey also honed his craft while working for two of the largest law firms in New Jersey. Now, he brings his years of experience to your case. Additionally, the firm’s litigation team includes a former county and municipal prosecutor, which gives us a major advantage when we fight your heroin charges. For additional information about how we can help you through aggressive defense representation, contact us today at (201)-556-1570. We are available immediately to provide you with a free consultation.
What are the Penalties for Heroin Possession in New Jersey?
Heroin possession in New Jersey is addressed in section N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 of the NJ Criminal Code. Generally speaking, it is against the law for a person to knowingly obtain or possess any amount of heroin. This means that you will be subject to severe criminal penalties even if the police find you in possession of trace amount of heroin.
The penalties for heroin possession are severe because the drug is classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance (CDS). Schedule I drugs have been deemed the most dangerous, with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses in the United States. In recognition of the dangers posed by heroin use, NJ lawmakers classified heroin possession as a third degree felony. If you are convicted of possessing heroin, you could be incarcerated for a period of 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and fined as much as $35,000.
The good news is that an attorney might be able to help you avoid the most serious penalties for heroin possession. In many cases, first-time offenders are able to avoid prison entirely because there is a presumption of non-incarceration for third degree heroin possession charges. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, an attorney might be able persuade the prosecutor to allow you to serve a period of probation instead of going to prison.
NJ Heroin Distribution Charge Punishments
The penalties for heroin distribution and intent to distribute heroin are set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. The penalties vary, depending upon the weight of the drug. If you are caught with even a trace amount of heroin, you could be charged with third degree intent to distribute and face up to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison, as well as a $75,000 fine. This is the best-case scenario if you are convicted of heroin distribution. The worst-case scenario is that you are convicted of first degree heroin distribution for distributing, or intending to distribute, 5 ounces or more of the drug. The penalty for first degree heroin distribution is 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison.
New Jersey law enforcement and prosecutors are really cracking down on heroin distribution throughout the state. This has led to many minor offenders being charged with felony-level distribution charges simply for possessing a small amount of heroin. Even if you did not complete a sale of the drug, you can still be charged with intent to distribute and face enhanced penalties. Worse yet, repeat offenders are subject to enhanced sentencing and mandatory minimum prison sentences in accordance with the New Jersey Brimage Guidelines.
Arrested for Heroin in NJ? Fight Your Charges
If you have been charged with heroin possession or distribution, an experienced attorney may be able to raise strong defenses on your behalf. For example, a police officer typically must have either a warrant or probable cause to search your vehicle. Unless the officer in your case had probable cause to search your car and exigent circumstances required the officer to conduct the search immediately, any drugs found by the officer could be declared inadmissible in court. The first step to finding out your best defense is consulting with a lawyer who knows how to build a sold defense strategy. The criminal defense lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm can help you fight your heroin charges and keep you out of prison. Call us anytime at 201-556-1570, or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation at our local NJ offices.