Any person who manufactures, distributes or dispenses Heroin or its analog or possesses such with the intent to distribute or dispense it is guilty of an indictable offense (the equivalent of a felony in New Jersey). This statute includes counterfeit substances being presented as heroin. While possession of Heroin is required to prove distribution, prosecutors can use “constructive possession” in place of actual possession. Constructive possession allows for a person to be considered to possess a substance even if it isn’t on their physical person, if it is within their control and they know it exists. This often comes up in distribution of heroin cases where a suspect allegedly hid the drugs nearby (under a rock, mailbox, safe house, etc.). The prosecutor, if able to prove that the defendant knowingly exhibited dominion or control over the substance, can prove possession. Distribution of Heroin can result in severe penalties including prolonged incarceration and expensive fines. If you or a loved one has been charged with distributing heroin in Morris County, New Jersey the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. Our office has over 100 years of combined experience on staff, including over twenty-five years of prior prosecuting experience. We have been defending individuals charged with possessing heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, distribution of prescription drugs, possession of heroin and cocaine distribution in towns like Denville, Morristown, Dover, Roxbury, Parsippany and Mendham for the past decade. If you would like to set up a free consultation with any one of our eight Morris County, NJ drug distribution defense lawyers, please contact our Morristown office directly at 973-309-7050.
Parsippany Heroin Distribution Attorneys: NJSA 2C:35-5
What is Heroin Distribution in Morris County?
Under New Jersey law, the Morris County Prosecutor must prove three elements in order to obtain a conviction against a defendant for Distribution of Heroin. Specifically, the prosecutor must prove: (1) that the substance was heroin or its analog, or counterfeit heroin; (2) that the defendant manufactured, distributed or dispensed it (it is important to note that this statute does not require that the substance be sold, “dispense” covers sharing or giving away as well as selling); (3) that the defendant committed the previous two elements “knowingly or purposely”. This is a required mental state, protecting a person from being convicted for unintentionally or unknowingly distributing heroin.
How Serious Are Heroin Distribution Charges?
To put it bluntly, heroin distribution charges are some of the most serious of all drug related crimes enumerated under the New Jersey Criminal Code. The severity of any penalties will be dependent upon the degree of the crime and the degree of the crime for Distribution of Heroin will increase depending on the amount seized. The Morris County Prosecutor is allowed to aggregate multiple acts of distribution (such as several drug sales over the course of one night or one week) in order to increase the degree of the offense. As long as each incident being used occurred within a specified statute of limitations (time limit), the prosecution can add the weights of multiple incidents to elevate the degree of the offense.
- If the amount of Heroin is less than one ounce it is a crime of the 3rd degree.
- Defendant could be incarcerated for a period not exceeding five (5) years.
- There is a mandatory $1,000 DEDR penalty for a conviction of 3rd degree distribution of heroin. In addition to this penalty, a fine of up to $75,000 may be imposed by the court.
- If the amount of Heroin is between one ounce and five ounces it is a crime of the 2nd degree.
- Defendant could be incarcerated for a period not less than five (5) years but not more then ten (10) years.
- There is a mandatory $2,000DEDR penalty for a conviction of a 2nd degree distribution of heroin. In addition to this penalty, a fine of up to $75,000 may be imposed by the court.
- If the amount of Heroin is greater than five ounces it is a crime of the 1st degree.
- Defendant could be incarcerated for a period not less than ten (10) years but not more then twenty (20) years.
- There is a mandatory $3,000 DEDR penalty for a conviction of a 1st degree distribution of heroin. In addition to the penalty, the court may impose a fine of up to $500,000 upon conviction.
There is also a forfeiture of driving privileges associated with a conviction for Distribution of Heroin. This loss of license can range from 6 months to 2 years but can be reduced or dismissed if defense counsel can prove an “extreme hardship” would occur if the Defendant was to lose their license. This penalty is very severe, but can possibly be avoided by hiring a qualified attorney.
Repeat offenders are also subject to increased penalties, requiring that between ⅓ and ½ of the sentence imposed be completed before an offender is eligible for parole. However, if the Brimage Sentencing Guidelines are imposed (because of repeated drug distribution convictions), an offender could face mandatory minimum sentences with no opportunity for plea bargaining. This guideline eliminates prosecutorial discretion and creates substantially more severe terms of incarceration.
Possibility of Probation and Drug Rehabilitation
Just as repeat offenders are treated more severely, a first-time offender has several options to reduce the consequences of a conviction. If the defendant is a drug-dependant person and is being convicted of distributing a controlled dangerous substance for the first time, the person may be eligible to receive probation (instead of a prison sentence) along with mandatory entrance to a drug rehabilitation program. This alternative sentence is not available for convictions of first degree crimes, making it critical to attempt to keep the degree of the offense as low as possible.
Mount Olive NJ Heroin Distribution Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of heroin or distribution of heroin in towns like Boonton, Madison, Rockaway, Dover and Morristown, the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. Our team of Morris County criminal defense attorneys have the experience and skill set required to successfully defend your rights. If you would to discuss your options with any one of our eight Morris County heroin distribution defense lawyers please contact our Morristown office at 973-309-7050.