If you, or someone you know, have been charged with a crime that involves heroin, whether it was in your property or on your person, you need to understand how serious the offense can be. It does not matter if this is your first or subsequent offense, because in New York City there are federal and state laws regarding controlled substances that will determine the seriousness of the crime.
All law enforcement agencies classify possession of heroin as an A-II felony and, if convicted, can result in heavy fines and lengthy jail time. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with experience in both federal and state drug laws can analyze your particular case information, defend you in court, and will work to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
The US Department of Justice has five different drug schedules related to controlled substances. Heroin is a Schedule I substance, which means that it is the most dangerous classification of drugs. The New York State penal law classifies heroin as an A-ll felony which means it is associated with lengthy jail time.
There are two potential categories of heroin offenses, possession and possession with intent to sell or distribute, and the penalties can vary based on what the charges were. Your expert criminal defense attorney will know the best approach to take for your personal situation as it applies to the various segments of the New York Penal Law, subsection 220 and the Federal 21 United States Code (USC), subsections 813, 841, and 844.
Under New York state law, you can be charged with an A-II felony for having possession of 2 to 4 ounces of heroin. A first offense can mean 3 to 10 years in jail while a second offense means up to 14 years in jail. If you had possession of 4 ounces or more, the charge is an A-I felony which means up to 20 years in jail for a first offense and up to a 24 year sentence for a second offense.
Under New York state law, you can be arrested and charged with an A-I felony for having possession of 2 or more ounces of heroin with the intent to sell or distribute. A first offense can be punishable by up to 20 years in jail and up to a 24 year sentence for a second offense.
The Federal drug laws refer to heroin weight in grams and kilograms and the penalties include monetary fines as well as prison sentences. The federal government does not make any difference in the weight of heroin when the charge is possession of heroin. Prison sentences range from 90 days to 3 years and the fines range from $1,000 to $5,000.
The Federal drug laws for the possession of heroin with the intent to sell or distribute intensify with the amount of heroin involved. Less than 100 grams can result in a maximum fine of $1 Million and jail time up to 20 years. Possession of 101 grams up to 999 grams ranges in jail time from 5 to 40 years with a maximum fine of $2 Million. Possession of 1 kilogram or more can result in a maximum fine of $4 Million and jail time that ranges from 10 years to life.
Beyond having a criminal record, a heroin conviction can impact other areas of your life. You may lose your job, have problems getting credit, and even experience issues finding a place to live. Having the services of a top quality criminal defense attorney can only work in your favor when you know that your legal representative wants the best possible result for you.