Chester County Heroin Charges Lawyer
Pennsylvania Heroin Charges
Being charged with possession of heroin in the state of Pennsylvania is likely to result in anxiety, stress, and worry about what your future holds. The state of Pennsylvania has severe consequences for heroin offense convictions, meaning your concerns are justified. Heroin, once the drug of choice in the 1960’s and 70’s seemed to go out of fashion, then, over the past few years has made a serious comeback. One cause of the growing popularity of the drug can be traced to another drug—opioid painkillers.
These highly effective painkillers were abused, leading to a crackdown on prescriptions which made opioids harder to obtain. In turn, those who were hooked on prescription opioids have turned to heroin to relieve the cravings at a lower cost. In fact, more than two-thirds of heroin addicts were previously addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. Others believe heroin’s comeback has more to do with the fact that the sales of ingredients for methamphetamine have been severely restricted, making the drug more difficult to obtain.
The supply of heroin has also increased, with Americans obtaining most of their heroin from Mexico. Between 2000 and 2009, the land in Mexico used to grow opium poppies has increased tenfold, meaning more heroin makes its way to the U.S., feeding the growing demand at relatively low prices. Finally, Americans are consuming less cocaine than in the past, and the cannabis they purchase is increasingly home grown, with more and more states allowing medical marijuana as well as recreational marijuana.
These factors have significantly increased the demand for heroin. Because the stakes are so high, it is crucial that you take your heroin charges seriously, and that you speak with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Having the experienced guidance of a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney like those at Ciccarelli Law Offices, can make all the difference in the outcome of your charges.
How We Can Help
Our attorneys have more than 25 years of experience successfully defending our clients against heroin possession charges, as well as charges for possession of other drugs, trafficking charges and interstate distribution charges. We will challenge drug searches and arrests which may have violated due process rights, and will file motions to suppress any improperly obtained evidence. When possible, we will work with the authorities to have your charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor—or have the charges dismissed altogether. There are a number of ways we can fight your heroin charges, and we will always present the very best defense on your behalf.
Pennsylvania Penalties Associated with Heroin Possession Charges
Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug; if convicted for heroin possession you could find yourself facing Pennsylvania’s tough mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Even if you are found with only small amounts of the drug—and it is your first offense—you could still be looking at serious consequences. Specifically, the penalties for heroin possession in the state of Pennsylvania include:
• You face misdemeanor charges for “simple” possession of less than a gram of heroin. You could receive a maximum penalty of one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
• Simple possession of less than one gram of heroin for a subsequent offense has a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison.
• Purchasing heroin is also a misdemeanor crime, with a maximum penalty of three years in prison (Multiple repeat offenders are subject to mandatory sentencing).
• Charges of manufacturing heroin, distribution of heroin, or possession with intent to distribute are much more serious as felony charges, and are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Mandatory sentencing applies in these cases. As an example, a conviction for making, distributing or possessing between one and five grams of heroin brings a mandatory sentence of two years on a first offense, or three years for a subsequent offense.
• A conviction for making, distributing or possessing more than 50 grams brings a mandatory sentence of five years for a first offense and seven years for subsequent offenses.
• Possession of heroin paraphernalia is illegal in the state of Pennsylvania, even if the paraphernalia does not contain drug residue. A conviction for possession of heroin paraphernalia is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail.
Additional Information About Pennsylvania Heroin Charges
In some cases, prosecutors may be willing to offer a plea bargain in exchange for information about other “players” in the heroin business. Depending on the seriousness of your heroin charges—and whether this is your first offense—you could also qualify for Pennsylvania’s drug court program, which includes frequent drug testing and drug counseling sessions during a probation period. Attorneys from the Ciccarelli Law Offices will fight hard for your future, with a goal of the least amount of criminal penalties possible.
In addition to criminal punishments, you could be subjected to additional adverse outcomes resulting from a Pennsylvania heroin conviction. These consequences include an inability to obtain employment when a potential employer accesses your criminal record, an inability to obtain a professional license you have worked hard for, or even the inability to obtain security clearance for a specific job. You could also be unable to qualify for government financial aid for continuing education, and if you are not a legal citizen of the U.S., you could be facing unfavorable immigration consequences. As you can see, the consequences of a heroin conviction don’t end once you are sentenced—although a jail sentence and a large fine can potentially derail your life in ways you cannot even imagine.
Pennsylvania Defense Strategies for Your Heroin Possession Charges
The Ciccarelli Law Offices rely on a quarter of a century of legal experience. We understand just how serious your heroin charges are, and should an acquittal simply not be possible, we will pursue options emphasizing drug treatment and rehabilitation over jail or prison time. Our attorneys have a clear understanding of how improper police procedures could have resulted in your arrest, and will also search for any violations of your Constitutional rights. These, along with evidentiary issues can be the basis for an effective defense on your behalf. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, success is our mission—we are driven to serve and ready to fight. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610)-692-8700.