Heroin is one of the most addictive and dangerous illegal drugs in existence, though newer drugs such as fentanyl are even more concerning. In 2019, heroin accounted for 28% of all deaths from opioid overdose. Given this, it’s no surprise that possessing any amount of heroin is illegal in the United States, as is the manufacture and distribution of heroin. Penalties for heroin possession and distribution in New Jersey are some of the most severe in the country, threatening serious prison time as well as steep monetary fines. The blog post will explain those penalties in detail, so keep reading to learn about the consequences of heroin in New Jersey. Do not hesitate to call a Bergen County heroin possession attorney if you have been accused of a heroin crime. This is a severe charge and you’ll need an experienced, tried-and-tested attorney at your side.
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, New Jersey criminalizes possession of heroin in any quantity.
Should police find you with an amount as small as under half an ounce, you may be charged with a third-degree crime, otherwise known as a felony. Conviction for possession of heroin brings with it fines of up to $35,000, five years in jail, and suspension of your driver’s license for six months.
If possession of heroin carries with it a punishment of multiple years in jail and tens of thousands of dollars, the punishment for intending to distribute heroin in the Garden State is even more severe. Punishments for the distribution and manufacturing of heroin will be added to the charge of possession. Furthermore, prosecutors may argue that your possession of heroin in a certain quantity, by itself, suggests that you intended to sell or otherwise distribute heroin.
Possession of under half an ounce with intent to distribute is a third-degree crime in New Jersey. As such, it may be punished by three to five years in jail and a fine of up to $75,000.
If possession is between half an ounce and five punches, the charge is now a second-degree crime, for which the penalties are five to ten years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000.
Finally, if you have five or more ounces of heroin, you would then face a first-degree crime. At this level, you may be sent to jail for 10 to 20 years and fined up to $500,000.