Trafficking in Heroin

Trafficking in Heroin is a very serious charge that generally carries a minimum mandatory prison sentence.  If you have been charged with Trafficking in Heroin in Charlotte, you need the counsel of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer who is dedicated to achieving the best result possible.  A knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney knows what the State must prove and the consequences of a conviction of Trafficking in Heroin.  David Q. Burgess, who is available for a free consultation at (704) 377-9800 in Charlotte, is a dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows what the State must prove and the consequences of a conviction of Trafficking in Heroin.

In order to prove Trafficking in Heroin the prosecution must show that the defendant knowingly possessed, sold, manufactured, delivered, or transported 4 grams of heroin.  The prosecution is not required to prove that the defendant had knowledge of the weight or amount of the heroin, only that the defendant knowingly possessed the heroin.

Possession may be either actual or constructive.  Actual possession is where a person has it on his person.  Constructive possession exists where the person does not have it on his person but is aware of its presence and has both the power and intent to control its disposition or use.  More than one person may have the power and intent to control its disposition so that one or more persons may have constructive possession of the heroin.

A person’s awareness of the presence of the heroin and his power and intent to control its disposition or use may be shown by circumstantial evidence alone.  However, that the heroin was found in close physical proximity to the person is not, by itself, enough to show that the person was aware of its presence or had the power or intent to control its disposition or use.  Instead, there must be additional circumstances to show that the person was aware of its presence or had the power or intent to control its disposition or use.  For example, if the heroin was found in a house or a vehicle and that the person exercised control over the house or the car, that would be an additional circumstance from which it could be shown that he was aware of the presence of the marijuana and had the power and intent to control its disposition or use.

The penalty for trafficking in heroin depends upon the amount of the drugs involved.  If the amount 4 grams but less than 14 grams, the offense is a Class F felony and the sentence is a minimum term of 70 months and a maximum term of 84 months followed by a 9 month period of post-release supervision by a probation officer and a fine not less than $50,000.  If the amount is more than 14 grams but less than 28 grams, the offense is a Class E felony and the sentence is a minimum term of 90 months and a maximum term of 108 months followed by a 12 month period of post-release supervision by a probation officer and a fine not less than $100,000.  If the amount is more than 28 grams, the offense is a Class C felony and the sentence is a minimum term of 225 months and a maximum term of 270 months followed by a 12 month period of post-release supervision by a probation officer and a fine not less than $500,000.

The only way to avoid a minimum mandatory sentence and minimum fine is to provide what is called “substantial assistance.”  If the defendant provides substantial assistance, the sentencing judge may reduce the fine, impose a prison term less than the applicable minimum, or suspend the prison term imposed and place the defendant on probation.  Substantial assistance means that the defendant provided substantial assistance in the identification, arrest, or conviction of any accomplices, accessories, co-conspirators, or principals.

If you have been charged with Trafficking in Heroin, call David Q. Burgess for a free consultation at (704) 377-9800 in Charlotte.