Heroin distribution is illegal under both Arizona and federal laws. If you are caught distributing heroin, you may be charged with a felony. In this situation, it is advisable to retain an experienced Phoenix heroin crime attorney. A felony conviction can follow you around for years. James Novak previously served as a prosecutor and understands how the other side thinks about cases. He can look at your particular circumstances and help you negotiate a plea bargain or take your case to trial as appropriate.Heroin Distribution
Arizona categorizes heroin as a Schedule I drug. Even possession is a class 4 felony, though the court can change a possession charge to a class 1 misdemeanor based on the street value of the drugs at issue. When it's charged as a felony, the penalty will include a minimum of 2 years and six months of prison time.
Drug distribution usually involves possessing a particular quantity of drugs that meets a threshold amount. When a threshold amount is possessed, it's assumed the drugs are being possessed with intent to sell. The threshold amount for heroin is 1 gram. Even if somebody doesn't have a threshold amount of drugs, there are other circumstances that can still result in someone being charged and convicted of heroin distribution. For example, how the heroin is packaged and whether drug paraphernalia or equipment such as scales and baggies are found with the heroin can result in a trafficking conviction.
Drug distribution is a class 3 felony. It is more serious than a drug possession charge. Generally, the fine is the higher of three times the value of the heroin or $1000. If you are caught distributing heroin to someone under age 18, it can be charged as a class 2 felony and you can be fined $2000. When the sale occurs in a drug free school zone, you can face an extra year of jail.
If you were caught with the threshold amount and you were transporting, importing, or manufacturing the heroin, you can be charged with a class 2 felony, which can result in up to 12 and a half years of jail.Defenses to Heroin Distribution Charges
You should not assume a conviction is inevitable. There may be strong defenses a criminal defense lawyer can raise on your behalf. These defenses may be constitutional or procedural. For example, if the police did not have a reasonable suspicion to detain you while you were driving and heroin was found during a subsequent search, it may be possible to get the heroin itself suppressed in a motion to suppress evidence. For another example, if the police did not obtain a warrant before searching your home and there was no exception to the general rule that a warrant is necessary, then it may be possible to get the evidence of heroin found during the warrantless search suppressed. In other situations, it may be possible to raise Fifth Amendment rights or other police procedure issues. You can also look at the amount of heroin at issue in a heroin distribution charge. Perhaps there's been a lab error or other problem with the way the heroin was weighed that means it doesn't meet the 1-gram threshold minimum for a heroin distribution charge. Your defense counsel can explore all possibilities to provide you with a strong defense.Consult an Experienced Heroin Crime Attorney in Phoenix
Heroin distribution charges are taken seriously by Phoenix prosecutors. If you are convicted, you will have a criminal record, and the stigma of the heroin distribution conviction may haunt you into the future when you job search or try to rent a home. If you were charged or are being investigated for heroin distribution or possession charges, call experienced criminal defense lawyer James E. Novak. Mr. Novak represents those charged with heroin distribution and other drug crimes throughout the Phoenix area including Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact us via our online form.