Experienced Defense Attorneys for New Jersey Heroin Possession Charges
New Jersey punishes the possession of any amount of heroin, with the penalty increasing with the amount of the drug involved in the case. Possession of minimal amounts can be charged as a crime of the third degree in superior court, and the maximum penalty is five years in prison. Substantial fines can also be imposed, and any conviction could result in a 6-month driver's license suspension. If you are charged with possession or distribution in a school zone, public housing, or public park, the penalties can be even more severe. Longer sentences and heavier fines can be imposed for possession of heroin in amounts more than a half ounce.
Our goal as defense attorneys is to do everything possible to minimize your exposure to punishment. We know from experience that most prosecutors and judges take little pleasure from incarcerating people who suffer from addiction, so we look for ways to convince them that our client deserves another chance. If you are a first-time offender, and your case does not include such complications as other crimes (like burglary or robbery) or firearms, a simple possession case might end up in pretrial intervention, which could lead to dismissal of the case upon completion of treatment and other conditions.
Drug courts in Ocean and Monmouth counties are an additional option for people facing serious legal consequences for heroin charges. These courts offer programs that offer the carrot of treatment and support backed up by the stick of prison. While people who successfully graduate from the drug court programs can even have their convictions expunged, there are many rules and restrictions associated with these programs that some people find difficult to follow. Our lawyers can help you decide whether you're a good candidate for drug court and if so work toward having you accepted. Whether or not drug court is right for you, getting the help you need for a substance addiction is extremely important for your future and has the additional benefit of aiding your legal defense.
In some cases, there is no avoiding the prospect of a prison term upon conviction. That's when we explore the full range of pretrial and trial strategies to defeat the charges against you. Some of the options we can pursue include:
• Challenging the arresting officer's right to seize the drugs during a traffic stop or search of your home or person
• Challenging the search warrant and its supporting affidavits if the drugs were found during execution of a warrant
• Attacking the validity of any statement you gave police before you contacted an attorney
• Where appropriate, challenging the lab reports or police chain of custody concerning drugs alleged to be heroin
Whatever your strongest defense might turn out to be, our lawyers have the experience necessary to protect your interests in superior or municipal court.
Help and Legal Representation for Heroin Possession in New Jersey
New Jersey is experiencing an epidemic of heroin abuse. Between 2004 and 2011, overdose deaths attributed to heroin were roughly steady, from about 350 to 450 per year statewide throughout that period. From 2012 on, however, the number of heroin overdose deaths in the state has increased sharply each year, with nearly 1,000 deaths reported in 2015. There is no reason to think this horrific surge in heroin deaths has begun to level off. We have also seen these facts create a change in the attitude of prosecutors leading them to be more sympathetic in some instances to individuals and families faced with this horror.
If you or someone in your family has a problem with heroin addiction, please get the help you need. Monmouth and Ocean counties both have a number of effective addiction treatment programs. If you have been arrested on a drug charge, you will do yourself a huge favor by getting treatment, the sooner the better. A good starting point is the New Jersey Addiction Services Hotline at 844-276-2777.
Your next call should be to an experienced lawyer who can help minimize the legal consequences of your addiction. Contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. for a free and confidential review of your situation. Our attorneys have helped people face and overcome serious drug prosecutions since we opened our doors in 1996.
Call Villani & DeLuca for a Free Consultation About Your Case
As longtime Jersey Shore defense attorneys, Villani & DeLuca represents year-round residents of Ocean and Monmouth counties as well as visitors from other states who have been arrested in our area. To find out more about what an experienced trial attorney can do for you in a New Jersey heroin case, contact us for a free consultation.