In New Jersey, the possession, trafficking, or distribution of an illegal substance is a crime.  These acts are also considered federal crimes. The somewhat lesser crime of possession of an illegal substance is aggressively enforced and prosecuted in New Jersey. The state often seeks severe penalties for convictions related to possession of an illegal substance. 

Schedule I Substances

The federal government has defined schedules of illegal substances in the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. It reserves the most serious penalties for crimes involving Schedule I substances. These are described as having no medical benefit and a high potential for abuse and include:

  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Peyote
  • Ecstasy
  • Marijuana

Heroin Prosecution and Convictions

Heroin is a potent opioid that is not authorized for sale or use in the U.S. Any possession, trafficking, or distribution of it is a state and federal crime. Federal prosecutions start with a penalty of at least $1,000. Convictions may also result in jail time up to one year. Subsequent convictions for repeat offenders can result in higher penalties.

In New Jersey, a charge of possession, trafficking, or distribution of an illegal substance, including heroin, is classified as a felony. A first-time conviction under state law can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison. The penalty is greater if the crime was committed in a public space, such as a government housing project or a park. Distribution or trafficking carries significantly greater penalties.

What to Do If You were Charged

If you have been charged with possession, trafficking, or distribution of heroin, you are at risk of being jailed for many years. It is important to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you have been arrested or taken into custody for questioning, then you should have been provided with a Miranda warning by a police officer. The Miranda warning informs you of your rights that provide important protections for all criminal suspects. The exercise of these rights is not considered an admission of guilt. 

Anyone arrested or taken into custody in relation to illegal possession should not waive the right to remain silent and the right to be represented by an attorney before answering any questions. Your criminal defense attorney will need to investigate the facts surrounding the arrest and whether your rights were violated at any time during the arrest or during questioning. For example, certain searches are not authorized by law. Evidence gathered in these flawed searches can be challenged as not admissible in a court proceeding. 

Cherry Hill Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Represent Those Accused of Drug Possession

If you were accused of illegal possession, trafficking, or distribution of heroin, contact the Cherry Hill criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC. To set up a free consultation, call us at 856-287-7800 or complete an online form. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.