The heroin epidemic that has been sweeping through New Jersey for the better part of the last decade does not seem to be slowing down. Law enforcement throughout the State, including in Somerset and Hunterdon County have been out aggressively investigating, arresting and prosecuting anyone and everyone they can that is involved with heroin. Whether that be users and/or the distributors. If you have been arrested and charged with distributing, manufacturing or possessing with the intent to distribute heroin in Somerset County it is crucial that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These charges tend to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In fact, in recent times, prosecutors have begun charging anyone that they can with strict liability drug induced death. This offense revolves around a situation in which the prosecution can tie an overdose directly back to the specific dealer. This offense has been on the books for years, however until recently it was never used. If you would like to speak to one of our Somerset County criminal defense lawyers about your options then please contact us at (908) 533-1064.
Keith Oliver Criminal Law has been defending clients accused of the distribution of heroin, the possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, the possession of cocaine and the possession of Molly in courts throughout New Jersey including courts in Somerset and Hunterdon County. These are very serious charges and should not be taken lightly. If you would like to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys about your options then please contact us directly at (908) 533-1064. We can discuss the specific facts of your case and we will formulate a game plan that works best to suit your needs, whether that be a trial, suppression hearing or negotiating a favorable plea agreement. We serve all of Somerset and Hunterdon County, including towns like Clinton, Somerville, Bound Brook, Franklin, South Bound Brook, North Plainfield, Raritan, Readington, Flemington and Watchung. As always, our initial consultations are free of costs, so if you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us. Now here is some important information on heroin distribution charges in New Jersey.
Understanding a Heroin Distribution Cases in New Jersey
NJSA 2C:35-5 is the governing statute in New Jersey for all drug distribution cases, including heroin distribution. This section of the criminal code seeks to criminalize really three different types of illegal conduct. That conduct includes the distribution of CDS, the possession of CDS with the intent to distribute and the manufacturing of CDS in New Jersey. Each one of those different subsection will require the prosecution to prove different elements. At the end of the day, there is no difference in the potential exposure that an individual will face if they are found guilty of or plead guilty too one of the aforementioned subsections. Therefore, whether the individual is convicted of actually distributing the drugs or simply possessing them with the intent to distribute them at some later date will be immaterial to the potential sentences one faces. Here is breakdown of the different offenses, including what the prosecution must prove.
Elements for Heroin Distribution Charges in NJ
- In order to be convicted of this subsection, the State will need to prove that the Defendant knowingly and/or purposely distributed heroin to another. What is important to note here is that the act of “distributing” does not require the actual transfer of money or goods. It simply means the transfer from one person to another.
Elements for Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute Case in NJ
- To convict a Defendant of this offense, the State will need to prove that the Defendant possessed or had under their control a quantity of heroin and it was their purpose to distribute that heroin to another.
What the Prosecution Must Prove For a Manufacturing Heroin Charge in NJ
- Before a Defendant can be convicted of this offense, the State will need to establish that the Defendant knowingly and/or purposely manufactured the heroin in question. It is important to note here that “manufacturing” means the production, preparation, packaging and/or labeling. So as you can see, it does not require the State to prove the Defendant was actually “making” of the heroin to be convicted of this offense.
Heroin Distribution Charges Are Classified as a Felony in NJ
All manufacturing, distributing and possession with the intent to distribute heroin charges in New Jersey will be classified as indictable offenses, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony. Pursuant to NJSA 2C:35-5, these types of offenses will be classified as either a first, second or third degree felony. The quantity of heroin in question will solely dictate what degree a Defendant is charged with. In other words, the defendant’s prior record or the location of the sale will not dictate the degree that the individual faces. With that being said, if the individual is alleged to have distributed the heroin within 1000 feet of a school or 500 feet of a public park then they could face additional charges. Here is a chart that breaks down not only the different degrees but what the potential penalties are as well.
|1st Degree Felony||More than 5 Oz.|| |
|2nd Degree Felony||More than ½ Oz but Less than 5 Oz.|| |
|3rd Degree Felony||Less than ½ Oz.|| |
Can I get Pretrial Intervention on Heroin Distribution Case in Somerville?
Pretrial Intervention is a diversionary program in New Jersey that could allow certain individual’s to not only avoid serving any jail time or a permanent criminal record. The individual’s criminal record and the underlying facts surrounding the case will play a major role in whether or not the individual could be eligible for PTI on a heroin distribution case. Typically speaking, if the individual has no prior criminal history and they are charged with a third degree, they could have a viable chance but a lot will depend on the specifics of the case and how good the defense attorney can persuade the prosecution. For more information on PTI in Somerset County, please click the link.
Ways to Contest Heroin Distribution Cases in Court
Every single case is different and the underlying facts surrounding the case will help dictate what will be the best plain of attack when it comes to defending the charges in a courtroom. When it comes to heroin distribution cases one of the main areas to attack is the basis that lead to the discovery of the heroin. The vast majority of heroin distribution or possession with the intent to distribute cases will involve some form of a search and seizure. Therefore, it is always crucial to look to exploit the search. Was it in violation of our Constitution? Did the police have Probable Cause? Was the Search Warrant valid? Did the police have Reasonable Articulable Suspicion? Was the CDS actually in Plain View? These are just a few of the angles to look too exploit. Another way to attack the search is too look and see if any inculpatory statements were made that lead to the search and if so, did they violate Miranda. Lastly, if the case involved possession with intent allegations, can the prosecution really improve the intent of the defendant. These are just a few of the ways to attack a heroin distribution allegations.
Can the Police Seize My Car Based on Heroin Arrest in Somerville NJ?
If the prosecution believes that certain possession are either fruits of the illegal drugs sales or used in the commission of the drug transaction than they more likely than not will seize the items. If the prosecution seizes the items, that only gives them temporary possession of the items. In order for them to seek to keep the items they must file for forfeiture of those items. If a forfeiture motion is filed, that will be a separate case from the criminal charges and will be litigated in the chancery division. These cases can and always should be contested. Some of the most common items we see being seized as it relates to heroin distribution charges include: motor vehicle, jewelry, boats, houses and bank accounts. Keep in mind there is a difference between something being seized and classified as “contraband” and something being seized for “forfeiture” purposes.
Speak to a Hunterdon County NJ Heroin Distribution Attorney Today – 908-533-1064
Being charged with a criminal offense can be scary however being charged with distributing heroin can be downright terrifying. If you have been arrested and charged with distributing marijuana, the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child or any other drug offense for that matter in Somerset or Hunterdon County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. We have been defending clients accused of crimes in courts throughout New Jersey for years now. If you would like to speak to one of our Somerset County criminal defense lawyers today about your options then please contact us at (908) 533-1064. Our criminal defense attorneys serve towns like Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Clinton, Franklin, Montgomery, Far Hills, East Amwell and Somerville.