Linden Heroin Possession Defense Attorneys
The heroin problem in this state has been described by many as an epidemic and clearly Union County is not immune to this issue. In fact, both Elizabeth and Plainfield made it to the top 20 in terms of rankings for heroin arrests in a recent publication. This should serve as a clear signal that the drug is not only accessible in the county but also that there exists a high demand for those trying to possess heroin. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as local police, are well aware of the problem and have taken an aggressive and hardline in their efforts to combat heroin possession. Thousands were arrested for this offense in the last year alone. This is why our office, which is one of the largest criminal defense firms in the state and located in Cranford, defends so many individuals charged with possession of heroin every year at the Superior Court in Elizabeth. Our firm is comprised of a team of former prosecutors and highly skilled criminal attorneys that have handled thousands of heroin offenses over the years. An attorney is available at 908-272-1700 to assist you in a free consultation anytime 24/7. Call us for immediate assistance.
Heroin Possession Charges Under New Jersey Law
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 makes it a third degree crime to possess heroin because it falls under the definition of a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance. This law also provides that it is a violation to “obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively” any quantity of heroin. Actual possession occurs where an individual is found with heroin on his person, car, residence, or under similar circumstance. Constructive possession applies where the heroin isn’t directly on the person but in situations where the accused knows of the existence of the drug and has the ability and intention to exercise control over it at some point in the future. Possession issues most often arise under the following circumstances:
- Charges Involving Motor Vehicles. A possession offense frequently stems from an automobile search. It is important to remember that there are many hurdles that police must clear to validate this type of search. The stop must have been based on a reasonable suspicion of a traffic or criminal violation. But this is only the first step. Then there must exist probable cause to believe that drugs or some other criminal contraband is in the vehicle and further that there exists an exigency (i.e. emergency circumstance) that prevents the police from taking the time to obtain a warrant to search the car, truck or other motor vehicle.
- Searches of Houses & Apartments. The constitution prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and has long required a warrant in order for police to enter a home or apartment. There are, however, some narrow exceptions including plain view and hot pursuit. The plain view exception to the warrant requirement allows police to enter a dwelling if evidence of a criminal violation within the structure is observed in plain view. For example, if a police officer drives by a property and can see heroin or some other clear indication of illegal activity, again along with the existence of an exigency to make obtaining a warrant impractical, they may enter the house/apartment to enforce the law. The other exception, hot pursuit, allows police to enter because they are already heavily into the process of an urgent and direct pursuit of a suspect.
- Stop & Frisk Cases. While police are permitted to make reasonable inquiries on the street, they cannot target an individual for stop and frisk.
What should be somewhat clear from the discussion thus far is that there is the potential for many defenses to a heroin possession charge. The best way for you to insure that you take advantage of these opportunities is secure the right representation.
Elizabeth NJ Heroin Possession Lawyer
In addition to being a municipality with one of the highest rates for heroin arrests in the New Jersey, the City of Elizabeth is also the location of the court that presides over all possession cases involving this drug. While an initial arraignment may be heard in the town where an arrest took place, all other proceedings in cases involving possession of heroin must be heard at the Union County Superior Court, which is in Elizabeth. This is the venue where indictable criminal charges, those of the first, second, third, and fourth degree, may be decided. Straight possession of heroin, as opposed to possession with intent to distribute heroin, is a third degree crime. This is a felony punishable with up to five (5) years in jail and a fine of $35,000. Our defense team has, as previously stated, been effectively representing those charged with third degree possession of heroin for literally decades now. We are located only a few miles from the courthouse at 2 Broad Street, Elizabeth NJ, and possess one of the largest criminal firms in the state. Call one of our former prosecutors for immediate help at 908-272-1700.