No one could doubt that heroin and other opiates account for the largest category of drug offenses in Camden County and elsewhere in New Jersey. All you have to do is pick up the Courier-Post to learn just how widespread the issue has become in this region. The attorneys at Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver deal with heroin possession and distribution of heroin cases virtually every day. This page is intended to provide you with a working knowledge of the penalties that may be imposed if you were arrested, charged and convicted for a heroin violation.
The primary factor that determines the severity of heroin penalties is whether the drug was possessed for personal use or was with the intent to distribute. When it is the former, the charge is always a third degree crime that carries up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $35,000. The consequences are not the same, however, if heroin is possessed for purposes of selling or distribution. Where the quantity being possessed for sale is less than one-half ounce, it is also a third degree crime with up to 5 years in prison but the fine can be as high as $75,000 as opposed to being capped at $35,000 in personal possession cases. A quantity of at least one-half ounce but less than five ounces is a second degree crime that results in 5-10 years in state prison and a fine that can reach $150,000. First degree heroin distribution is triggered where the quantity being sold exceeds five ounces. An individual faces incarceration of 10-20 years and a fine of $500,000 for this grade of heroin distribution. In addition, a period of parole ineligibility must be imposed at the time of sentencing that results in an inability to even be considered for release until the defendant serves at least one-third of the prison term imposed. It should also be noted that the ramifications of a conviction for distributing heroin escalate significantly when someone is accused of selling CDS within 1000 feet of a school zone or 500 feet of a public park.
As you can see, the penalties for almost any heroin charge can be extreme. There is little doubt that you should therefore strongly consider hiring a skilled lawyer if you are facing an offense of this nature. The lawyers in the Cherry Hill Office of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver are prepared to assist you in this role. We have over a century of experience to serve you, including years serving as prosecutors. Call us for a free initial consultation.