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New York Heroin Possession Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Of The Charges Related To Heroin Possession?
Heroin is considered a controlled substance in the state of New York, and it is a crime to be in possession of the drug at any time. Most of the time, heroin possession is a felony because of the type of drug. A small amount of heroin can lead to severe penalties that include time in jail and fines. Courts have guidelines that they have to go by during the sentencing process, which is why it’s important to consult with an attorney who understands drug laws and who can work with you to determine why you had the drug and if it could have been someone else’s. An attorney can also look at whether your rights were violated when the heroin was discovered.

Am I Facing A Felony Charge?
Anything related to heroin possession is charged as a felony. There are four degrees of possession with none of them listed as a misdemeanor. If convicted, it’s possible to spend decades of your life in prison and to pay thousands of dollars in fines. The amount of heroin and your criminal background will often dictate the length of time that you spend in prison. When you talk to an attorney, you need to explain how much heroin was in your possession and if there was someone else with you at the time who could have been in possession instead of you so that the charges could be challenged in court.

What Are The Degrees Of Possession?
Fourth-degree possession is the minimal charge you could receive when heroin is involved. You would need to have at least one-eighth of heroin on your person to receive this charge. Even so, you could receive up to 15 years in prison depending on your background and other circumstances involved. If you have half an ounce of heroin, then you can be charged with third-degree possession. Second-degree possession means that you have at least four ounces of heroin on you and could mean that you spend a life sentence in prison. First-degree possession is the most serious and involves at least eight ounces of heroin, which could also be seen as trafficking the drug. This would be a separate charge. First-degree possession is punishable by life in prison as well.

Are There Any Alternatives For Sentencing?
Most of the time, you will spend at least a minimal sentence in prison. However, your attorney can sometimes challenge the amount of heroin and whether the heroin was actually in your possession or if it was someone else’s who was with you at the time of the arrest. The attorney can also examine whether officers found the heroin without violating your rights. If you are willing to work with the prosecution, then probation could be an option. Sometimes, the judge might order you to attend drug classes or counseling or rehab as an alternative to prison if you haven’t been in trouble with the law in the past and if the amount in your possession was minimal.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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