Law for Heroin Possession in NJ

Another Jersey Shore Heroin Ring Busted  Arrest Fingerprints

It has become obvious lately that heroin possession in NJ is a serious problem affecting lives throughout the state.  Most recently, federal authorities, with the help of state and local law enforcement agencies, charged 21 people in what they call the “Britt-Young Drug-Trafficking Organization” yesterday, March 27, 2014.  Monmouth and Ocean County police departments involved in helping with this investigation include those in Toms River, Brick, Neptune, Asbury Park, Marlboro, Long Branch and Freehold.

Law enforcement intercepted phone calls and used confidential informants for more than a year before moving in and arresting thirteen of the suspects on Thursday.  Five were already in custody and three are fugitives.  Those arrested this week have been charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, a charge which carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine.

Heroin Possession in NJ Penalties

Laws for heroin possession in NJ and intent to distribute drugs are outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.  It is unlawful for anyone to “manufacture, distribute or dispense, or to possess or have under his control with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense” a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or an analog of a controlled dangerous substance.  Possession and distribution of heroin are especially serious offenses because heroin is a Schedule I CDS as defined by the United States Controlled Substances Act.  This classification also includes drugs such as LSD and Ecstasy.

The New Jersey courts system imposes harsh penalties on those who are convicted of manufacturing, dispensing or distributing a Schedule I drug.  For instance, heroin possession in NJ with intent to distribute less than one gram of heroin is punishable by a fine of up to $75,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years.  Your sentence will be increased by additional penalties if you are found in possession of heroin on a school property, which includes any property owned or leased by a school or school board.

Heroin Penalties Enforced Locally to Combat Epidemic

Law enforcement believes harsh penalties are necessary in combating the state’s heroin and opiate epidemic.  The problem is especially serious along the Jersey Shore, where large scale drug operations, such as the one mentioned above, are taking place in municipalities throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties.  Even traditionally picturesque, suburban communities like Howell are taking significant steps against the rise of heroin and opiate use within the township.  In 2013, Howell was “No. 1 in the county in admission to hospitals for heroin and opiate drugs,” according to Municipal Alliance Coordinator Ralph M. Hoffman Jr.

In response to such widespread use of heroin in even traditionally “safe” municipalities, the state’s Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use by New Jersey’s Youth and Young Adults has published an extensive report with recommendations for how to combat heroin possession in NJ.  While their recommendations focus on measures such as improving the state’s prescription monitoring program, lawmakers generally believe that such actions must be accompanied by strict sentencing guidelines for drug offenders.

If you have been arrested for distribution or heroin possession in NJ, please speak with the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys of Villani & DeLuca.  Call (732) 965-3350 today to schedule a free consultation to get the help you need!