What is heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine. It is often injected, sniffed, snorted or smoked. Heroin is highly addictive and often results in the user committing a crime to support their drug habit. Under Pennsylvania drug laws opiates, such as heroin, and other hard drugs are considered Schedule I Drugs. Schedule I drugs are those that are considered to be the most often abused and the most dangerous. Examples of Schedule 1 drugs are heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”). These drugs are not accepted for medical use in the United States and have heavy penalties in all of the counties in Pennsylvania including Chester and Delaware County. For more information about heroin and its effects click here.
What is possession?
To be in criminal possession of a drug or item you must have both control and intent. This means that not only must an individual be in control of the substance, but also must have the intent to possess that substance. The individual must be cognizant and aware of the fact that they are in possession of a controlled substance or were actively seeking to acquire it.
What can I be charged with?
- Possession of heroin
- Distribution of heroin
- This includes giving heroin to a friend
- Possession with the intent to deliver (PWID)
- Know drug dealers often charged with PWID, but the average heroin user can also be charged depending on the weight of the drugs and how the drugs are packaged.
- Possession of heroin (drug) paraphernalia
What are the penalties in Pennsylvania for drug crimes involving heroin?
Simple possession of Heroin: In Chester County, Pennsylvania, this is considered having less than one gram of heroin which was intended for personal use.
- Max of one year in jail for a first offense and a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.
- Upon conviction for a second offense, a person may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to three years and fine up to $25,000 or both.
- Under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, a person convicted of Simple Possession shall have their driver’s license suspended as follows:(i) For a first offense, a period of six months from the date of the suspension(ii) For a second offense, a period of one year from the date of the suspension(iii) For a third and any subsequent offense thereafter, a period of two years from the date of the suspension.75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 1532 (C)
- Eligible for probation
Heroin Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID): making, selling, or possessing heroin with the intent to sell is much more serious than simple possession. Selling heroin is a felony and may warrant up to fifteen years in jail. Selling heroin to a minor may also have double penalties.
Trafficking two to ten grams of narcotics:
- Two years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000 for a first offense.
- Three years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 for subsequent offenses.
Trafficking ten to 100 grams of narcotics:
- Three years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000 for a first offense.
- Five years in prison and a maximum fine of $30,000 for subsequent offenses.
Trafficking 100 grams or more of narcotics:
- Five years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000 for a first offense
- Seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000 for subsequent offenses.
Possession of Heroin Paraphernalia: Paraphernalia is anything used for the packaging, making, and using of any drug. Some items that can be considered paraphernalia include lighters, needles, and plastic bags. These items do not have to have drug residue on them to be considered as paraphernalia.
- Maximum one year sentence (except in certain cases where the paraphernalia is being distributed) or a $2,500 fine or both.
What should I do?
The first step after being charged with a Drug Crime is to contact a reliable law team who can help defend you and protect your interests. The Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo is ready to help you through this process. Please contact us with any questions about drug laws and any further actions.