NJ Heroin Possession & Distribution
Heroin is a highly addictive street drug that can cause serious criminal trouble irrespective of whether a charge is because of selling or simple possession. A conviction for heroin possession or distribution carries harsh penalties in New Jersey. The punishment for a heroin offense includes fines, prison time, suspension or revocation of a driver’s license, and mandatory drug counseling. If you have been arrested for distributing or possessing heroin, it is therefore extremely important that you contact a defense attorney with knowledge of New Jersey’s heroin laws. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been handling heroin and other criminal charges in NJ for nearly sixty (60). Our lawyers have the knowledge necessary to get your possession or possession with intent to distribute charges reduced or eliminated altogether. Please feel free to contact our lawyers for a free initial consultation to discuss your options and defenses if you have been charged. A heroin defense attorney can be reached at 1-877-450-8301. The information that follows is provided for additional assistance.
Heroin Possession Law
It is against the law for you to possess any amount of heroin. A person who has possessed heroin, no matter how small the amount, is guilty of a crime of the third degree, and faces up to 5 years in prison. The fine attendant with a Third Degree Heroin Possession charge is up to $35,000. If you are charged with this offense, a mandatory six month drivers license suspension also applies in the event of conviction.
Possession with Intent to Distribute or Sell Heroin
The grade of offense and penalties escalate if a person knowingly and purposely possesses heroin with intent to sell or distribute it. The following penalties apply upon conviction for possession with intent:
- It is a crime of the first degree if a person possesses 5 or more ounces of heroin, including any adulterants or dilutants. This offense may result in 10-20 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $500,000.
- It is a crime of the second degree if a person possesses a quantity of less than 5 ounces but more than ½ an ounce of heroin. If you are convicted of a second degree crime there is a presumption of incarceration and you will face 5-10 years in jail.
- It is a crime of the third degree if a person possesses a quantity of less than ½ an ounce of heroin with the intention of distributing it. This crime results in a fine of up to $75,000 and possible imprisonment as high as 5 years.
Possession of Heroin in a School Zone – 2C:35-7
The New Jersey courts have taken a hard stand against heroin and its exposure to our state’s children. Any person who sells or distributes heroin (i.e. possession with intent) while in the area of property used for school purposes faces additional penalties under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. In fact, that person may be required to serve a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility of at least one year and could also be subjected to the Brimage Guidelines. A person is guilty of possession of heroin within a school zone if:
- The property is owned by or leased to any elementary, secondary school or school board, or
- The person is within 1,000 feet of any such school property or a school bus, or
- The person is aboard any school bus.
Distribution of Heroin in a Public Housing or Park Zone – 2C:35-7.1
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1, NJ law imposes enhanced penalties for sale or distribution of heroin within 500 feet of a public housing facility, a public park, or public building. This statute renders any charge of distributing heroin a minimum of a second degree crime, irrespective of weight, when it occurs in the a public housing or public park zone. It should also be noted that the Brimage Guidelines are implicated whenever someone is charged with this offense.
Constructive Possession of Heroin
In New Jersey, it is possible to be convicted of possession of heroin even if you never had actual physical control over the substance. If you have knowledge that the drug is present and it is proven that you had an intent to exercise physical control over it, then you may be liable for the offense. Therefore, it is important to not place yourself in this type of situation. Our firm has represented clients in past that were charged with possession of heroin because they simply surrounded themselves around other people who possessed, manufactured, or distributed the heroin.
NJ Heroin Manufacturing
Heroin has experienced an extraordinary resurgence across the entire nation. Heroin is now widely sold in every state including New Jersey. In fact, the manufacture and distribution of heroin is a billion-dollar industry. In an attempt to combat this problem, NJ has adopted severe penalties for people caught manufacturing or dispensing heroin. In fact, any person who takes part in the manufacturing of heroin or any of its derivatives faces:
- A crime of the first degree if the person manufactures, distributes, or dispenses a quantity of 5 ounces or more of heroin or its derivative including any adulterants or dilutants. A first degree conviction results in a fine of up to $500,000 and imprisonment without parole for specified portion of the sentence.
- A crime of the second degree if the person manufactures, distributes or dispenses heroin or its derivative in a quantity of ½ ounce or more but less than 5 ounces, including any adulterants or dilutants.
- A crime of the third degree if the person manufactures, distributes or dispenses heroin or its derivative in a quantity of less than ½ ounce including any adulterants or dilutants. Additionally, a fine of up to $75,000 may be imposed.
Aggregation of Quantities Under N.J.S.A 2C:35-5(c). The quantity of heroin used to determine the degree of an offense may be combined, added together and/or aggregated from multiple distributions in certain instances.
If you have been arrested or charged with heroin possession or selling heroin, our attorneys can help you. At the Law Offices of John F. Marshall, the lawyers on our defense team make sure our heroin clients get all of the assistance they deserve, including addiction treatment if applicable. An attorney is available immediately to assist you. Reach a skilled lawyer now at 1-877-450-8301.