A Former Drug Task Force Director & Other Skilled Ex County Prosecutors Are Ready Help You Defend Your Heroin Possession Charges
The heroin epidemic that Hudson County has been dealing with for the last decades has put law enforcement on a heightened alert for possessors and distributors of this form of controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”). In fact, all you have to do is pick up the Jersey Journal and it is immediately apparent from reports and recent press releases of heroin arrests that this drug is in the spotlight. This is particularly true in Jersey City since it ranks third for heroin overdoses in the State.
A criminal charge in Hudson County for possession of heroin is a serious matter for numerous reasons. A conviction not only results in a felony record but also the possibility of tens of thousands in fines and years of incarceration. This is why you need to retain a skilled criminal defense lawyer if you were charged with heroin possession in North Bergen, Jersey City, West New York, Hoboken, Secaucus or another local municipality. Representation by a savvy attorney will provide you with the opportunity to avoid a conviction and all of the negative consequences that flow from this outcome.
The team of Hudson County drug possession lawyers at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall has the knowledge and skill set to successfully defend in your shoes. We can offer you:
- Over 200 years of combined experience representing clients facing charges for heroin possession in Jersey City at the Hudson County Superior Court
- Ten lawyers on staff that handle nothing but criminal cases
- Former county prosecutors that include Directors of the Drug Task Force, Major Crimes Unit, Juvenile and even an entire Trial Division
- Certified criminal trial attorneys
If you would like a free initial consultation with a lawyer who is highly knowledgeable in the defense of Hudson County heroin possession charges, please contact our Jersey City Office directly at (201) 309-1800.
Charged With Heroin Possession in Hudson County
The law that applies to possession of heroin is N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1). This subsection of New Jersey CDS possession statute provides that:
a. It is unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.). Any person who violates this section with respect to:
(1) A controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule I, II, III or IV other than those specifically covered in this section, is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine of up to $35,000.00 may be imposed;
One of the key dynamics of this statute is the fact that possession can be either actual or constructive. Actual possession is the most common basis for an arrest under 2C:35-10 and applies where the accused has direct physical control over the heroin. Constructive possession applies where heroin isn’t physically on the person of the accused but when he/she is aware of its presence and has both the intention and ability to exercise control over it in the future.
Another important point to keep in mind is that a defendant must knowingly or purposely possess heroin in order to be convicted for possession. In other words, an individual must know that the drug is present to violate this law.
What Are The Elements That The Hudson County Prosecutor Must Establish To Convict Someone For Possession of Heroin?
There are three (3) fundamental elements that each must be established beyond reasonable doubt to convict someone for heroin possession at the county courthouse in Jersey City. The model criminal jury charge for CDS possession requires that the state prove that:
- The evidence seized was heroin;
- The accused actually or constructively possessed the drug; and
- The conduct of the defendant was knowing or purposeful.
What are the Penalties for Heroin Possession?
It is a third degree crime to possess heroin. Pursuant to the New Jersey criminal code, a defendant convicted for third degree possession of heroin can be sentenced to up to five (5) years in a New Jersey state prison, fined up to $35,000 and exposed to a host of other penalties (e.g. 6-12 month driver’s license suspension). He or she will also be left with a felony criminal record for possession of heroin that will show up every time an employer, licensing board, immigration or another entity performs a background check.
Are There Enhanced Penalties When Heroin Is Possessed In A School Zone?
Yes. Although possession in a school zone does not result in a separate offense like distribution in a school zone, it nevertheless results in enhanced penalties. Possession within 1,000 feet of school property in Weehawken, Harrison, Union City, Bayonne or another district triggers a requirement that a defendant serve at least 100 hours of community service.
Are There Diversionary Programs To Avoid A Conviction A Third Degree Offense For Possession?
Yes. A first time offender can apply for Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”). If the Hudson County Probation Department approves the application and there is no objection by the prosecutor, you can be admitted into PTI. The related charge is dismissed upon successful completion of 1-3 years probation under the program.
Jersey City Heroin Possession Defense Attorney
As you can tell from above, the penalties for a New Jersey heroin charge can be life changing. The team of heroin possession lawyers at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall are fully capable, however, in ensuring that you have every chance of escaping a conviction. Whether it requires a motion to suppress an improper search or seizure, a motor vehicle stop unsupported by reasonable suspicion of traffic violation or some other basis, you can trust in the knowledge and skill of our attorneys to get the job done. To discuss the specific facts of your heroin case with a lawyer on our team, contact our Jersey City Office anytime 24/7. You can call (201) 309-1800 now for immediate assistance from an attorney.
The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, 574 Newark Avenue, Suite 204A, Jersey City, New Jersey, defend heroin possession charges in Hudson County, including those arising in Jersey City, Union City, West New York, Kearny, Bayonne, North Bergen, Secaucus, Guttenberg, East Newark, Harrison, Weehawken and Hoboken.