Effective Criminal Defense Lawyers for Paterson, NJ Heroin Possession
It’s no secret that drug crimes carry steep penalties that may include incarceration, fines, enrollment in drug programs and/or having to submit to regular drug testing by a probation officer. In addition, since possession of any amount of heroin in NJ is a third-degree crime and an indictable offense, a guilty verdict will be a permanent blemish on your record that may prevent you from finding employment or housing in the future. With over 35-years of experience defending people like you against drug charges, defense attorney Frank T. Luciano, P.C., is prepared help you beat or reduce your charges.
Mr. Luciano has been successfully representing clients in Hackensack, Paterson, Jersey City and multiple other areas throughout NJ for nearly four-decades. He understands every applicable law and effectively uses that knowledge to give his clients the upper-hand in drug cases. Many people assume that being caught with heroin or any other drug will lead to a speedy guilty verdict and settle with a public defender rather than fully exploring their legal defense options. Mr. Luciano does not settle for anything less than the best possible legal outcome for his clients.
Heroin Possession in New Jersey
There are several factors that will influence the severity of your charge and potential resulting sentence. The way these factors are presented, interpreted and mitigated will go along way in how they impact your sentencing, making an experienced attorney absolutely vital. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- Amount possessed
- Previous charges and convictions
- Location of offense
For example, a person who possesses five or more ounces of heroin will be charged with a first-degree crime, while an individual who had less than a half ounce will face a third-degree charge. Even further, a person who is found to possess bags of heroin in a school zone will also face stronger chargers and stiffer penalties than a person who was not in a school zone. The potential penalties continue to escalate if a person is charged with the intent to distribute.
Regardless of the amount you allegedly had on your person, home, car or other property, possession of heroin is a serious offense and can lead to the following sentences:
- Up to 20 years in jail
- Fines as high as $500,000
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Mandatory probation, treatment programs and subsequent drug testing
The question is not whether you can afford to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Frank T. Luciano; the question is whether you can afford not to. This is not a time to gamble with your life, as the state prosecution will do all it can to maximize your penalty.
Distribution of Heroin and other Drugs in New Jersey
It is against the law to manufacture, distribute or dispense certain drugs, including heroin, cocaine or marijuana, or to possess one of those drugs with the intent to distribute it, without an appropriate license. See, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. If you are convicted under this section of the drug statute the nature of the offense and the potential penalties will be influenced by the quantity and type of drug involved, as well as, the age of the participants involved in the transaction.
To be convicted of a Distribution Offense, you do not have to sell the drug for profit. It is sufficient, for example, to give some cocaine or marijuana as a gift, or share the cocaine or marijuana with social guests. Even passing a marijuana “joint” to a friend may be considered a Distribution Offense.
Additionally, you can be convicted of a Distribution Offense by possessing a drug like heroin with the intent of distributing it later. In order to convict for possession with the intent to distribute the government will look to a whole host of factors Some of those factors include: (1) the weight of the drug; (2) its purity; (3) the nature of the packaging (i.e. 2 or 3 vials of crack cocaine versus 300 vials); (4) the proximity of distribution paraphernalia to the heroin, cocaine or marijuana (i.e. scales, cutting-agents packaging, etc.); (5) your conduct during surveillance or at the time of your arrest; and, (6) the amount of money on the person.
New Jersey’s drug statute also covers the distribution and possession with intent to distribute an imitation drug. Thus, you can be convicted under the “look-alike” section of the drug statute if you tell another that the white powder in a container you intend to sell to him or her is cocaine, when it is only aspirin.
Protect Your Criminal Rights with Frank T. Luciano, P.C.
An experienced defense attorney will completely explore all angles of a drug charge to find holes in the prosecution’s case and any errors made by law enforcement officials. Were the drugs found as a result of an illegal search and seizure or an unlawful traffic stop? Was evidence mishandled at any point during the process? These are all questions that must be answered and may lead to your case being dismissed.
Additionally, there are some circumstances where a plea bargain is the best possible legal defense strategy to pursue, but you shouldn’t take a prosecutor’s or a public defender’s word for it. You need to consult with an attorney who has your best interest in mind, and Mr. Luciano is unrivaled in criminal defense experience and in client endorsements. We invite you to learn more about how Frank T. Luciano can assist you in your heroin possession case by contacting him immediately at 973-471-0004 for an initial consultation. We urge you to act as quickly as possible.