Heroin has a complicated history in the United Sates. In the late 19th century, the opium derived from poppy plants was used to make heroin. Popular pharmaceutical maker, Bayer, marketed newly-created heroin as a pain reliever and cough suppressant back in the day. Currently, heroin is extremely restricted by the federal government, and possession, sale, use, or distribution is a crime.
About Heroin Possession Charges
If you have been charged with heroin possession, it means that the prosecution is seeking to show that you possessed the drug for your own personal usage and did not intend to distribute to others.
When seeking to establish the presence of drug possession, three factors must be proven:
- The substance that was seized by law enforcement was illegal under the law;
- The defendant knew what the illegal substance was and that possession of this substance could lead to criminal charges; and
- The defendant had control over the drugs or where the drugs were found.
While there are a number of factors that determine what you can be sentenced with if it can be proven that heroin was in your possession, the basic laws establish a first-time possession arrest as a third degree felony. You may be facing up to five years in prison, $5,000 in fines, the suspension of your driver's license, and the existence of a permanent criminal record.
Working with a criminal defense attorney can help prevent you from facing negative repercussions from your heroin possession charges. Common defenses to heroin possession include showing that you were not aware of the heroin in your possession (for example, your roommate let you borrow their backpack) or that you did not intend to have access to the heroin (if this same roommate offered you a ride to the store but stopped and purchased heroin before reaching your destination). There is no one-size-fits-all defense to heroin possession, so taking a moment to work with a defense attorney can make a difference in your case.