The heroin epidemic is one that can’t be denied. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is much more geared toward punishing adults who are addicted to this drug than it is to helping them to address the underlying addiction that is forcing them to continue using the drug.
One of the most frightening things for a person who is addicted to drugs is to be arrested because this means a sudden withdrawal from the drugs. This can be life-threatening, but it is certainly reality for some people. As the journey through the criminal justice system moves forward, the person will have to face the possibilities that are coming.
What is the penalty for heroin possession?
In New Hampshire, all heroin charges are felonies. This means that even a person who just needs help with an addiction will be branded a felon if he or she is convicted of possession. Sadly, on a first possession offense, the person is looking at up to seven years in prison. On a subsequent offense, the term increases to up to 15 years in prison. Fines are also possible for these convictions.
Are there any alternatives?
Some people who are facing heroin charges might qualify to go through the drug court program. This allows them to stay out of prison, but requires that they get help to address the addiction. The court supervises their progress and they have to meet specific requirements throughout the program. Failing to comply to drug court conditions, which include passing random drug tests, can mean that they are back to facing the possibility of time in prison.