Heroin Possession In NJ Charges Heightened in School Zones

heroin charge njIn New Jersey, there are many laws in place that try to curtail the movement and use of illegal drugs.  Heroin is considered to be one of the most dangerous drugs and it has become a problem throughout the Garden State in recent years.  A person found with heroin possession in NJ of any amount can be subjected to some serious penalties, as all heroin-related offenses are indictable crimes in New Jersey.  Additional and more severe penalties will be incurred if someone is charged with possession with the intent to sell or distribute the drug.  The punishment for heroin possession in NJ can include fines, prison time, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, and mandatory drug counseling.  Because of the seriousness of the charges, and the serious penalties involved if convicted, anyone charged with a heroin offense should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Charges for Heroin Possession in NJ

If you are found in possession of heroin, no matter the amount, you will be charged with a crime of the third degree at the very minimum, and you can face up to 5 years in prison if convicted. The fine for a third degree possession charge can be up to $35,000.  If you are convicted of a heroin possession in NJ, you will also be subjected to a mandatory six month driver’s license suspension.

If someone knowingly and purposely possesses heroin with the intent to distribute or sell it, the penalties associated with the crime increase.  If you are charged with the possession of 5 or more ounces of heroin with the intent to sell or distribute it, that is a first degree criminal offense.  If convicted, you will be subjected to 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.  If you are charged with possession with the intent to sell or distribute less than 5 ounces but more than a ½ an ounce of heroin, you are facing a second degree indictable crime.  If convicted, you can face 5 to 10 years in prison, among other levels of punishment.  If you possess a quantity of less than half an ounce of heroin with the intent to distribute it, it is a third degree offense.  The penalties if convicted could be a fine of up to $75,000 and possible imprisonment for up to five years.

Additional Penalties for Heroin Possession in NJ School Zones or Public Property

If a person is convicted of the possession of heroin with the intent to sell or distribute while in an area designated to be a school zone, he or she will face even more serious penalties, including a mandatory term of imprisonment of the greater of between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or three years.  This sentence comes with no eligibility for parole for the defendant.  A fine of up to $150,000 may also be imposed on an individual convicted for this type of violation.

A person is guilty of possession of heroin within a school zone if: 1. the property is owned or leased to any elementary school, secondary school or school board, or 2. the person is within 1,000 feet of any such school property or a school bus, or 3. the person is aboard any school bus.

New Jersey’s drugs on public property law also imposes enhanced penalties for the 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 a public housing or public park zone.

Contact Experienced Heroin Possession Attorneys Today

If you have been arrested for distributing or heroin possession in NJ, it is extremely important that you contact a defense attorney with knowledge of New Jersey’s heroin laws. The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca have a great deal of experience dealing with heroin and other criminal charges in New Jersey.  If you have been charged with the possession of heroin or with the possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, you can contact our lawyers at (732) 965-3350 for a free consultation to discuss your options and possible defenses.