Westchester Heroin Possession Lawyer
Also Serving Clients throughout the White Plains Area
Possession of heroin in New York is a serious offense whether you are charged with using it, selling it, or both. New York State prisons and federal prisons are full of inmates convicted of drug-related crimes, even though some of those charges are unfair. If you have been arrested for heroin possession in New York, it is important that you get a highly experienced Westchester heroin possession attorney right away. The Law Office of Michael D. Litman can help.
With over a decade of experience fighting for the rights of our clients, we are confident in our ability to help you tell your side of the story, strategize for a better outcome, and secure the best possible future for yourself in your situation. Dealing with criminal charges on your own is never a good idea. The Law Office of Michael D. Litman has the in-depth knowledge and insights necessary to give you a clear picture of how to prepare for the challenges ahead.
The Scope of Heroin Use in the U.S.
With heroin use on the rise, more people are experiencing negative health effects that occur from repeated use. The number of people meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV), criteria for dependence or heroin use disorder increased dramatically from 214,000 in 2002 to 626,000 in 2016, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
As a result, it is more difficult than ever to defend against drug charges, given the current crackdown to quell opioid use and overdoses. It is wise to hire an experienced, time-tested Westchester heroin possession attorney with a track record of success who knows how to handle your case. Having spent years in courtrooms, client meetings, and law school, Attorney Michael Litman knows how to craft a defense that makes the law work in your favor.
Fentanyl in Heroin
Prescription drugs and opioid use is also on the rise, Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Recently, traces of fentanyl have been found in many other illegal drugs, including heroin. This is a public health concern because the strength of fentanyl makes overdosing more likely.
New York Heroin Possession Laws
Knowingly possessing any amount of heroin is a Class A misdemeanor.
Possession can become a felony as follows:
- Over 500 mg: Class D felony
- Over 1/8 oz.: Class C felony
- Over 1/2 oz.: Class B felony
- Over 4 oz.: Class A-II felony
- Over 8 oz.: Class A-I felony
- Any amount of a controlled substance with the intent to sell: Class D felony
- Any amount of narcotic drug with intent to sell: Class B felony
New York Heroin Sale & Trafficking Laws
Knowingly selling any amount is a Class D felony, but this can increase as follows:
- Over 1/2 oz.: Class A-II felony
- Over 2 oz.: Class A-I felony
- On school grounds or sale to someone under 21: Class B felony
- Conviction as a major trafficker: Class A-I felony
In an effort to crack down on the opioid epidemic, police can be overly zealous in charging citizens with drug crimes, even when they have inadequate evidence under the law. If you feel you’ve been unfairly charged, the Law Office of Michael D. Litman can provide you with an analysis of your case. Our team possesses an intimate knowledge of the criminal justice system, and we are well-versed on the threshold of evidence required to get a conviction.
Prescription Opioid Pain Medications Can Be a Gateway to Heroin
Prescription opioid medications such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Demerol may open the door to heroin use. Some users also report switching to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids. What starts as prescribed medication after surgery or for a painful injury can lead to experimenting with heroin, and it is not always the user’s fault. Opioid-related deaths have been on the rise over the past few years, despite efforts by the State of New York to crack down on these kinds of crimes.
By far, the greatest majority of inmates in U.S. federal prisons are there for drug-related offenses (77,649 people).
Other useful statistics from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Department of Justice include:
- The number of drug offenders in federal prisons jumped 63 percent from 1998 to 2012
- Heroin offenders account for 6 percent of the federal prison population
- The majority of federal inmates range in age from 26 to 46 years old
- 25 percent of federal prison inmates are serving a sentence of 5-10 years
- 21 percent of federal inmates are serving a sentence of 10-15 years
- The average sentence for federal drug offenders is 11.3 years
The War on Drugs
The U.S. spends billions each year on drug law enforcement, arresting millions of people for crimes of varying severity. The consequences of these efforts not only fail to stop the rising addiction rates, but they also cause untold damage to the lives of the people they affect.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the consequences are as follows:
- 1,632,921 arrested in the U.S. for drug law violations
- 1,394,514 (85.4 percent) arrested for possession only
- 659,700 arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2017
- Over 200,000 killed in Mexico's drug war since 2006
- Over 12,000 killed in the Philippines drug war since 2016
- Over 200,000 students lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction
- 9 percent of people arrested for drug law violations are Black or Latino
- U.S. maintains the world’s highest incarceration rate in the world
- 72,000 people in the U.S. died from an accidental drug overdose in 2017
- 22 U.S. states have decriminalized or removed the threat of jail time for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana
Penalties & Sentences
In New York, conviction for the sale of a controlled substance is a felony. Felonies range from a fifth degree level punishable by 1 - 2.5 years in prison for first-time offenders to first-degree.
These felonies are punishable by:
- Minimum 8 - 20 years in prison for minor drug traffickers followed by 5 years of post-release supervision; or
- Minimum 12 - 20 years in prison for second felony drug offenders; or
- 15 years - life in prison for major drug traffickers
- Fines ranging from $5,000 (or double the defendant's gain from sale) to $100,000 for first-degree sale or major drug trafficking
Help Is Available for Addiction Issues
If you are worried that a heroine arrest could signal a deeper problem with addiction for you, know that there is help available. Many 12-Step groups, churches, and non-profits within your community offer free or low-cost opportunities to talk to a counselor or gather with others who are working to stay clean and sober. Inpatient treatment facilities are also available. You can find more information about all of these on the internet by typing key words like “help for heroin use” or “drug recovery.” One or more heroin arrests does not have to signal a difficult or hopeless future.
Get help with your criminal charges by calling (914) 268-6855 now.
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