As an experienced New York criminal lawyer, I often defend clients who have been arrested for drug charges such as heroin possession.
- Heroin in New York is Illegal and an epidemic.
- Possession of heroin in New York is a felony.
- You can lose your license and spend time in jail for possession of heroin.
- For serious charges, you could face harsh sentences including life imprisonment.
- The heroin doesn’t necessarily have to be in your physical possession in order for you to be charged with possession of heroin.
New York State did away in 2009 with the mandatory minimum sentences of the Nelson Drug Laws, that passed in 1973 and forever changed the American penal system. Even without mandatory minimum sentences, New York has some of the harshest laws controlling the possession and distribution of narcotics of any state in the Union. When charged with possession or distribution of a controlled substance, you will also face federal fines.
Heroin Possession – NY
|Less than 1/8 oz||Misdemeanor (A)||1 year|
|1/8 oz or more||Felony (C)||1-5.5 years (up to 8 for a subsequent offense, and up to 9 for a previous violent offender)|
|½ oz or more||Felony (B)||1-9 years (12/15)|
|4 oz or more||Felony (A-II)||3-10 years (14/17)|
|8 oz or more||Felony (A-II)||8-20 years (24/30)|
Heroin Sale – NY
|Less than ½ oz||Felony (B)||1-9 years (12/15)|
|½ oz or more||Felony (A-II)||3-10 years (14/17)|
|2 oz or more||Felony (A-I)||8-20 years (15/30)|
Heroin Possession – Federal
|First conviction||Max. 1 year in jail; min. $1,000|
|Second Conviction||Min. 15 days – max. 2 years in jail; min. $2,500|
|Third Conviction||Min. 90 days – max. 3 years; min. $5,000|
Note that these penalties apply only to possession. Most prosecutors will impute “intent to distribute” for possession of even a small amount of cocaine.
Heroin Sale – Federal
|Less than 100g||Max. 20 years; max. $1 million|
|100g – 1 kg||Min 5 – max. 40 years; max. $2 million|
|1kg or more||Min 10 years – max. Life; max. $4 million|
Note that these are penalties for first convictions without accounting for other circumstances.
Common mistakes clients make when facing drug charges
- Making unnecessary admissions to the police.
The first and potentially most damaging mistake people make when faced with drug charges is making unnecessary and incriminating admissions to the police. While it’s always best to be cooperative and respectful, an arrested person is not obligated to say anything at all to the police, and doing so without a lawyer, especially when a drug charge is involved, can be disastrous.
People generally respond in one of two ways to demonstrations of authority: they aggressively reject it, or they accommodate it. While it’s never in your best interests to be aggressive to an officer, neither is it in your best interests to be unguardedly accommodating. Out of a desire to make your situation proceed more smoothly or to avoid making it worse, you might make vague and problematic statements, give away excessive detail, or even admit to something that isn’t true – all the more likely when you’re in an agitated emotional state. An officer might even encourage you to volunteer information by telling you that it will make things “easier” for you. The officer may be trying to trick you, or it might be an innocent request. Think of statements like that, though, as unsolicited legal advice that an officer is totally unqualified to give out.
When you encounter the police, be courteous and calm. Do not, however, volunteer any more information than is necessary. Call a New York Heroin Possession Lawyer with a proven record of handling drug cases at your earliest opportunity.
- Assuming you can “plea bargain” and walk away within minimal consequences after a first-time arrest.
Some people unfamiliar with the courts might place too much faith in the “plea bargain.” Widely misunderstood, the plea-bargain is not simply a chance to ask the judge to “cut you a deal.” Not everyone is entitled to a plea bargain. Depending on the charge, the prosecutor, the judge, the circumstances of your case, and criminal and personal background, your lawyer may be able to arrange for you to plead guilty to reduced charges.
- Failing to exercise proper caution and common sense on social media.
The Internet is not anonymous, and it is not private. It never has been and it probably never will be. You must be careful about what you post online. If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana, and your Facebook or Instagram pages are loaded with pictures of pot and paraphernalia, 4/20 references, and smoke-ring selfies, the prosecution will find these, and will present them in court as evidence if they deem it necessary.
Perhaps surprisingly, many people also incriminate themselves on forums designed for those seeking legal advice to ask questions of attorneys. These can be a useful resource, but some people share too much, and the sites are not anonymous or secure. They are plastered with disclaimers to that effect. You must not share personal information on these sites. While they are largely benign, if you’re seeking legal advice, you’d be better off calling the office of a trusted New York Heroin Possession Lawyer.
Have you or a loved one been charged with heroin possession? These are serious charges, with serious consequences. Don’t take a chance with just any attorney, contact an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer who has over 30 years of experience protecting good people caught up in bad circumstances. Contact New York Heroin Possession Lawyer Carl Spector for a free, confidential consultation. Let his experience work for you.