As with other drug crimes, heroin charges will become more severe with greater amounts of the drug involved and if the alleged crimes were committed across state or national lines. Other factors that will likely increase the severity of heroin charges — and the penalties if the accused are convicted of them — include:
- Accusations of trafficking
- Charges being filed in the federal court
- Prior convictions of drug crimes on the criminal record of the accused
- Other criminal charges being filed as part of the case (These may include charges of assault, racketeering, etc.)
- Allegations that the heroin crime occurred near a school or in a government building
Heroin Crime Charges
Because heroin is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it is considered to be among the most dangerous and addictive of all illegal narcotics, even first-time heroin crime convictions based on cases where very little of the drug has been found can have extremely harsh sentences.
The following outlines the typical nature of heroin charges and their penalties (upon conviction) for first-time offenders when no other aggravating circumstances are associated with the case:
- With 4 or fewer grams of heroin, the accused will likely face class 6 felony charges.
- With more than 4 grams but fewer than 25 grams, the accused will likely face class 4 felony charges.
- With amounts of heroin between 25 grams and 450 grams, the accused can face felony charges associated with distribution or drug sales, which may be filed at the federal level.
- With amounts greater than 450 grams, the accused can face the most severe types of drug charges such as federal drug trafficking charges.