If you or your loved one is facing charges of the possession and/or the distribution of heroin in New Jersey, the potential penalties could negatively affect your life. Since it is classified as the most highly addictive and destructive drug, law enforcement aggressively pursues offenders. Here are some penalties you are likely to face if found guilty.
Heroin classification by the DEA
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies heroin as a Schedule Ι controlled dangerous substance. That means it is supremely addictive and dangerous and has no legally accepted medical use. In other words, this is a drug that does nothing but destroy you.
Penalties for heroin possession
As with other drug convictions, penalties for heroin charges will depend on the amount found on you and what you were accused of doing. Possession and distribution charges are all felonies, but distribution carries harsher consequences. Here’s how the court might punish you.
If you are guilty of possessing less than half an ounce of heroin, you could face a maximum of five years in prison and $35,000 in fines. On top of that, the judge will order mandatory drug counseling, community service, and license suspension.
The prosecution will not stop there; they will also try to prove intent to distribute. Typically, if you possess unusually large amounts of heroin, the judge will think you’re planning to distribute it. Other indicators of the intention to distribute include:
• Packing heroin in small amounts
• If the police find other paraphernalia related to heroin sale like measuring tools, scales, etc. with the drug
• If the police catch you in the act of selling
Penalties for heroin distribution can result in up to 20 years in prison and monetary fines of $500,000. Not everyone gets 20 years. The judge will also consider the amount you intend to distribute. For example, distributing half an ounce or less can lead to five years of incarceration and $75,000 in fines.
There are defenses to heroin charges you could use to reduce the penalties you could receive. Some of them include challenging police reports, seizures, search warrants, and the validity of statements given.