Heroin is a Schedule I drug and is officially classified as an opium derivative under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act. [Cal. Health & Safety Code §11054]. Simple possession of heroin for personal use is punishable as a felony by a sentence of up to three (3) years of incarceration in state prison. [Cal. Health & Safety Code §11350]. Because heroin is considered to be particularly dangerous and harmful, possession or purchase of heroin for sale is punishable by up to four (4) years in state prison. [Cal. Health & Safety Code §11351]. Selling, distributing, importing or simply transporting heroin, even if transportation is for personal use, can carry a state prison sentence of up to five (5) years. [Cal. Health & Safety Code §11352]. Transportation for the purpose of sales between noncontiguous counties carries a maximum sentence of up to nine (9) years in state prison. [Cal. Health & Safety Code §11352(b)].
If you are facing a criminal investigation, or criminal charges for possession of heroin or any other drug or narcotic have already been filed against you, a friend or a family member, we advise you most strongly to contact a criminal defense attorney in order to thoroughly evaluate your situation and explore your options. It is possible that an investigation or charges against you might be dismissed because the evidence against you was obtained by an illegal search and seizure, or some other reason. In the event chances for complete dismissal of the criminal charges are not great, you should know about your options for alternative pleas and sentencing. For example, you should know that first time drug and narcotics offenders, and individuals who do not have a significant past criminal record, especially in situations involving simple possession for personal use, are often eligible to be sentenced to a drug treatment program without serving any time in county jail or state prison. Alternative sentencing options include programs such as the state financed Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) also known as PC 1000, Proposition 36 or a private outpatient or residential treatment program of your choice if approved by the Court. You also might be eligible for formal or informal (also known as summary) probation with or without a treatment program. Probation might include some custody in county, city or private jail.