Because heroin is a highly addictive and rapidly acting opioid, Pennsylvania law enforcement has a keen interest in keeping it off the streets. Accordingly, heroin possession is a serious offense for which prosecutors will aggressively seek at least mandatory minimum sentences.
If you have been charged with heroin possession in Pennsylvania, you need an aggressive heroin possession defense lawyer. You do not have to face the charges alone. A lawyer can evaluate your situation and explain your best legal options. You need an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney from Zeiger Law Firm to defend you against heroin possession charges.
Contact us now for a free and completely confidential consultation with a Philadelphia heroin defense lawyer.
Understanding the Charges & Penalties for Heroin Possession in Pennsylvania
Drug possession involving heroin can carry different charges and, thus, different penalties, depending on the circumstances of the alleged possession. For example:
- Simple possession – A charge for simple possession of heroin in Pennsylvania may result in a misdemeanor criminal offense. Simple possession may be charged if you are found with less than one gram of heroin. Even if you do not have heroin on your person, you could be charged with possession if a passenger in your car or someone in your home is in possession of heroin.
- Distribution – In Pennsylvania, this crime is called “possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.” To charge you with distribution, a police officer does not have to observe you during a drug deal. Instead, officers will determine whether a distribution charge is warranted based on the amount of heroin on your person or in your home. How the drug is packaged when law enforcement discovers it may also factor into that determination.
- Manufacturing charges – If law enforcement enters your home during an arrest and believes you have been making heroin, you could face manufacturing charges in addition to possession and distribution charges.
The penalties for possession, distribution, or manufacturing of heroin in Philadelphia include:
- Possession of less than 1.0 gram – Possession in this amount carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. However, if you have a prior conviction, subsequent offenses could result in up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
- Possession with the intent to distribute – A conviction of this felony crime could result in 15 years in prison for a first-time offense and a fine of at least $250,000. Subsequent offenses result in doubled penalties.
- Manufacturing – These allegations could amount to felony charges and can result in 15 years in prison for a first-time offense and a fine of at least $250,000.
Even though the distribution of heroin can be charged as a felony, as with any felony case, how the case may be prosecuted can affect the sentencing of the crime. With Brian Zeiger as your heroin charges defense attorney, you can rest assured he will fight for your best interests when he stands up for you in the wake of possession, distribution, or manufacturing charges.
Understanding Potential Penalties for Heroin Possession Under Federal Law
You can also face penalties under federal law for possessing a controlled substance, including heroin. Under 21 USC §844, it is illegal to knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance without authorization. A conviction under this section can result in imprisonment of up to one year and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offense.
Under 21 USC §841(b)(1)(B), it is unlawful to possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it. If you are found in possession of 100 grams or more of heroin, you face penalties of a five-year mandatory minimum and a maximum of 40 years behind bars. Under 21 USC §841(b)(1)(A), you face a ten-year mandatory minimum and a maximum of life if you have a kilogram or more of heroin.
When you are facing a minimum of ten years in federal prison, you need aggressive legal representation.
If you are facing any heroin possession charges in Philadelphia, you need a heroin defense attorney. Because of the serious and addictive nature of this drug, prosecutors aggressively pursue charges for heroin possession, as well as for distribution and manufacturing. A drug charge could affect your life now – from your ability to have a driver’s license, carry a gun, or vote – and in the future when you are looking for a job, trying to get a higher education, or buying a house, for example.
Our heroin defense attorney stands ready to assist you with all aspects of your case. From investigating the circumstances of your arrest to determine whether your rights were violated, putting together the best possible case in your defense, fighting to prove your innocence and avoiding a conviction to working hard to reduce the severity of the potential penalties, Brian Zeiger is the advocate you need as you confront the realities of a heroin charge and its possible repercussions.
Navigating Legal Procedures
To prove heroin possession in Pennsylvania, the prosecutor has the burden of proving various legal elements before you can be convicted of the offense:
- The substance – Pennsylvania law enforcement will send the purported heroin to a lab to confirm the type and quantity of the heroin to show it is, in fact, the controlled substance.
- The knowledge – The prosecutor must demonstrate that you were aware of the presence and nature of the substance. In other words, they must show you knew you were in possession of heroin.
- The intent – The prosecutor must show that you had the intent and ability to control the heroin through direct possession or constructive possession. Direct possession means that you are holding, carrying, or using heroin. Constructive possession occurs when other evidence is admitted to show you exercised control over the substance, whether on your person or in something controlled by you – such as your car, backpack, or home.
As a heroin defense attorney, Brian Zeiger can thoroughly analyze the circumstances of your arrest and determine the best strategy for your defense if you are facing drug charges. Mr. Zeiger has the skill to negotiate to get your charges reduced or dropped, to detect any difficulties with the prosecution’s evidence, and to work toward the best possible outcome in your case.
A variety of defenses may be available to you. Some examples of potential defenses include illegal search and seizure, mistaken identity, the drug wasn’t in your control, or that you have a legitimate alibi.
Contact a Heroin Possession Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with the possession of heroin, the aggressive and experienced Zeiger Law Firm is here for you. Attorney Brian Zeiger has the experience and resources to develop the most robust possible legal defense to seek the best outcome in your situation.
Mr. Zeiger is prepared to assist you in navigating the aftermath of an arrest for heroin possession in Philadelphia. With Brian Zeiger as your defense attorney, you can rest assured he will seek the best options for your case. Get started today with a free and confidential case review. Contact us now.