New Jersey’s Heroin Epidemic
Over the past few years, heroin use and abuse in New Jersey has soared. Since 2010, the number of heroin overdose deaths in the state has tripled. In 2014 alone, more than 700 people died of heroin overdoses in New Jersey.
Because of its prevalence, the penalties that an individual faces for the possession, sale, or distribution of heroin in New Jersey are different than the penalties for offenses with other Schedule I controlled dangerous substances.
Heroin Possession and Distribution Charges
Possession of any amount of heroin is illegal in New Jersey. This is a third degree crime, the penalties for which include:
Up to five years in prison;
A fine of up to $35,000;
A six-month driver’s license suspension.
An individual charged with the possession of five or more ounces of heroin with the intention to distribute it faces a fine of up to $500,000 and 10 to 20 years in prison. Possession of any amount of heroin between one half ounce and five ounces can result in five to ten years in jail. Possession of less than one half ounce of heroin with the intention to distribute it can result in a fine of up to $75,000 and up to five years in prison.
Distributing heroin in a school zone, defined as any area within 1,000 feet of school property, has even steeper consequences, such as an additional year of ineligibility for parole while in jail.
Getting Help for a Heroin Addiction
In many cases, individuals who are charged with drug crimes are better served through rehabilitation than through correctional measures. New Jersey’s Drug Court program exists to provide nonviolent, first-time drug offenders with an opportunity to solve the problems that led to their charge, rather than punishing them.
New Jersey’s drug court program requires offenders to appear in court once per week to report on their rehabilitation progress. While working through the program, an individual might be required to complete a rehabilitation or drug education program. Other requirements could include not associating with certain people or engaging in certain activities that were linked with his or her drug use in the past. Not all offenders are eligible for this program. To find out if you or your loved one could be eligible, discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you are facing a heroin-related charge, want to learn more about New Jersey’s drug court program, or if you have a loved one who is struggling with heroin-related issues and you want to seek legal help for him or her, contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. today at 732-370-9596 to schedule your legal consultation with a member of our firm. We understand the struggles that come with a drug addiction and can help you get the help you need. We proudly work with clients in Mercer, Monmouth, Middlesex, Burlington, and Ocean counties.