Heroin Possession Lawyer in Hackensack, NJ
Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Helps Clients Fight Heroin Possession Charges in Bergen County, Passaic County, Hudson County, and Essex County, NJ
Heroin is one of the most addictive, destructive, and dangerous illegal drugs on the street. The 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA) legislation details penalties for heroin possession in the United States. Using or being under the influence of heroin is both a federal and state offense, and it is illegal in New Jersey and throughout the country. The law states that it is unlawful to be under the influence, or in possession of, controlled substances except when administered by or under the direction of a person licensed by the state to dispense, prescribe, or administer controlled substances. Possession of even a small amount of heroin is charged as a third degree felony in New Jersey, with an incarceration penalty of up to five years. Moreover, with the heroin epidemic sweeping the country and hitting New Jersey hard, police and prosecutors are taking an even harder stance against heroin users and seeking longer jail and prison sentences and more stringent probation requirements.
Hackensack criminal defense attorney Adam M. Lustberg works hard to have his clients’ heroin possession charges dismissed or get the clients sentenced to drug treatment and medical intervention rather than incarceration in New Jersey. Still, there is the reality that prosecutors often seek jail sentences because, as a Schedule 1 drug, heroin carries more risk than most other narcotics. That’s why it is imperative that you contact Adam Lustberg immediately to start your defense.
Paramus Prosecutors Must Prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt You Possessed Heroin Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10
To be arrested for heroin possession, you must either physically have had it in your possession or have been under its detectable influence, as determined by NJ law enforcement. However, because the police are not medical professionals, their determination that you are under the influence of heroin may be challenged by a skilled criminal defense attorney. Also, experiencing withdrawal symptoms after a period of absence from the drug does not constitute a crime. In a 1987 case against a defendant for possession of heroin, it was established that withdrawal from heroin is a sign of past drug use and cannot be used to prove that a defendant is under the influence of heroin.
Heroin charges in New Jersey are taken very seriously, and penalties depend upon the amount you possessed. The penalties possession of heroin in NJ are as follows:
- Possessing less than one-half an ounce of heroin is a third degree crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $35,000 fine, as well as a mandatory six-month loss of your driver’s license after incarceration ends.
- Possessing less than five ounces but more than one-half an ounce of heroin is a second degree crime, punishable by 5-10 years in prison, up to a $75,000 fine, and a mandatory two-year loss of your driver’s license after incarceration ends.
- Possessing five or more ounces of heroin is a first degree crime, punishable by 10-20 years in prison, up to a $500,000 fine, and driver’s license suspension after incarcerations ends.
If the defendant is charged with possession of heroin near a school zone, school bus, public park, or housing project, it is automatically an additional second degree offense that carries up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $150,000.
Defenses Against Heroin Possession Charges in Hackensack, New Jersey
An experienced Paramus criminal defense attorney can present several legal defenses to either get your case dismissed or get the charges reduced. Of paramount importance is trying to avoid avoid any incarceration penalty. If conviction can’t be avoided, a skilled NJ drug crime attorney may be able to negotiate a treatment sentence rather than jail.
For the prosecution to win their heroin possession case against you, they must prove the following:
Knowledge of possession: The prosecutor must prove that you knew you possessed heroin. If heroin accidentally came into your possession, this could be grounds for a “lack of knowledge” defense.
Lack of power and intent to control: Even if you knew heroin was present, if you didn’t intend to possess it and you had no control over the heroin or the situation where it was present, a skilled criminal defense lawyer could prove that your lack of control or power over the heroin did not constitute an illegal act. This may include a situation where you were unknowingly drugged by a third party.
Non-use of heroin: If the police believed you were under the influence of heroin but did not find you in possession of heroin and a blood test was never taken to confirm its presence, a competent criminal defense lawyer can argue that the police were wrong and that the heroin possession charges should be dismissed.
Police misconduct: When conducting a heroin possession investigation, police must follow the constitutional laws regarding search and seizure. If the warrant was deficient or was based on false information in the affidavit, the search warrant may have been invalid. If any search and seizure laws were violated, your NJ criminal defense attorney may be able to get your charges dismissed based on police misconduct.
A Strong, Strategic Defense May Keep You Out of Jail in Your Hackensack Heroin Possession Case
Attorney Adam M. Lustberg may be able to protect your rights and help you avoid jail time. In many cases, when the charges only involve possession but not distribution or trafficking, a defendant could be entitled to participate in drug diversion programs rather than be sentenced to jail.
If you qualify for a diversionary program in New Jersey, the justice system is designed to help you heal from your heroin use rather than incarcerate you. If you are eligible for an alternative program such as Drug Court, you will be required to perform community service, pay fines and restitution, and receive drug treatment and periodic evaluations. In a diversionary program, you will be strictly monitored and supervised by the state. If you do not meet the program’s requirements, your case will be returned to the courts. Keep in mind that the diversionary program’s purpose is to keep nonviolent drug offenders out of the already overcrowded jails and is not intended for drug traffickers.
Contact NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Lustberg Now to Fight Your Heroin Possession Charges in Hackensack, New Jersey
Whether this is a first-time heroin possession charge or a repeat offense, Hackensack criminal attorney Adam M. Lustberg can help you. With over a decade of experience representing those charged with drug crimes, including possession of heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, and illegal possession of prescription drugs, attorney Adam Lustberg is a highly regarded criminal defense litigator known for his effectiveness in fighting allegations of drug possession. Call or email anytime, day or night, to schedule a personal evaluation of your NJ heroin possession case.