Will I be sentenced to jail time if I am arrested for heroin possession?
A heroin epidemic is sweeping much of New Jersey and the rest of the nation. According to data released by the New Jersey Medical Examiner’s Office, Camden County alone was the site of 115 fatal heroin overdoses in 2015. Fentanyl, a prescription opioid, killed an additional 53 people that year. Several other counties experienced similarly high death counts. Hundreds of other heroin and fentanyl users are arrested for possession or sale of the dangerous substance in New Jersey, facing serious criminal consequences.
Possession of Heroin
It is illegal to possess the controlled substance heroin under New Jersey law. If you are convicted of possession of heroin, no matter the amount, you could face up to five years in prison for this third degree crime. You could also be fined up to $35,000. Even further, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months.
If you are arrested with heroin in your possession in a school zone, your punishment will be far more severe. You may be required to serve a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison without possibility of parole. You could potentially face several years in prison, depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest.
Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin
Those charged with the offense of possession with intent to distribute or sell heroin could be sentenced to lengthy prison time, along with tremendous fines. A conviction for possession with intent to distribute requires evidence that you knowingly and purposely possessed heroin with the intent to sell it to another or distribute it. Your exact punishment will depend in part on the quantity you were in possession of, with potential sentences ranging from five to 20 years imprisonment and fines of between $75,000 and $500,000.
Additional heroin drug crimes include manufacturing of the drug, which is punished severely. Anyone who has been charged with an opioid drug crime in New Jersey should contact a criminal defense attorney right away. While any drug offense is serious, there are many viable defenses that your skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to raise to reduce the charge or sentence, or achieve complete dismissal of the charges.