The Different Heroin Offenses Under New Jersey Law
It is against the law for you to possess any amount of heroin in New Jersey. A person who is convicted of the possession of heroin, no matter how small the amount, is guilty of a crime of the third degree at the minimum. If someone knowingly and purposely possesses heroin with the intent to sell or distribute it, the level of the crime increases, along with its penalties. 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 offense. If you are charged with possession of less than 5 ounces but more than half an ounce of heroin with the intent to sell or distribute it, that is a second degree offense. 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.
Applying for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI)
Depending on the crime, first-time criminal offenders in New Jersey may avoid some penalties if they participate in the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) diversionary program. This program is designed to give first-time offenders the opportunity to receive treatment rather than being subjected to more harsh prosecution. Applications to PTI are made to the Criminal Division Office in the county where the criminal charge is filed. The application process includes an interview with the defendant performed by a staff member of the Criminal Division of the Superior Court. A report is then prepared detailing whether the applicant is admitted into or rejected from the PTI program. This report is forwarded to the prosecutor and the defendant’s attorney. A defendant is accepted into PTI on the recommendation of the Criminal Division, with the consent of the prosecutor and the defendant. If for any reason the defendant is not accepted, the applicant may appeal the decision to the presiding judge in the Criminal Division.
Are You Eligible for Pretrial Intervention?
A defendant is eligible for Pretrial Intervention if he has been charged with a crime of the third or fourth degree, has not completed probation, incarceration or parole within the last five years, has never participated in PTI or received a conditional discharge, and the present offense does not involve the sale, distribution or possession of a Schedule I or II drug with intent to distribute.
If you are facing a heroin charge in NJ, you may be eligible for PTI. As stated above, certain drug offenses of the first and second degree are not eligible for Pretrial Intervention. However, if you are caught in possession of heroin without the intent to distribute, you may be eligible for this diversionary program. Although a first or second degree heroin charge in NJ is not ordinarily eligible for PTI, an application for PTI can be considered upon the consent of the prosecutor. The application for PTI must be filed no later than 28 days after the date of indictment.
Contact Experienced Attorneys for Heroin Charges in NJ
If you have been arrested for a heroin charge in NJ, it is extremely important that you contact a defense attorney immediately. The lawyers at Villani & DeLuca have a great deal of experience dealing with heroin and other criminal charges in New Jersey. If you face a heroin charge in NJ and you wish to seek Pretrial Intervention, you should contact our lawyers at (732) 965-3350 for a free initial consultation to discuss your options.