All it takes is flipping on the news and you’ll hear about the latest suspected heroin overdose. As a highly powerful Schedule I opiate, it has the potential to not only break up families, but snuff out an individual’s life as well.

While laws surrounding the use of many recreational drugs have become more lax in the last few years, ones surrounding the use of heroin have not. This is due in large part to this particular drug’s strong potential for causing significant harm or death among those who use it.

Any conviction for the possession, sale, purchase or manufacturing of the Schedule I drug heroin is an automatic felony. Under state law §961.41 et seq., any possession under 3 grams is considered a Class F felony. At the same time, any possession of between 3 and 10 grams or 10 to 50 grams are considered Class E and D felonies respectively. Finally, any possession over over 50 grams is considered a Class C felony.

Not only does the amount of the drug in an individual’s possession affect the amount of fines assessed, but also punishments. Enhanced penalties can be tied in to the aggravated nature of the offense as well, such as for the selling of heroin to a minor or within 1,000 feet of a school. While the former carries double penalties, the latter calls for a mandatory sentence of three years in jail without the possibility of parole.

Wisconsin is known for its stringent handling of drug-related crimes. While a low-level defendant may face six months in prison, a higher-level dealer may face as much as 40 years. Fines can reach as high as $100,000 as well.

Sentences imposed largely center around what charges appear on the defendant’s criminal history. In certain circumstances, a prosecutor may even offer plea deals to small-time drug dealers in hopes of landing larger-scale ones, greatly reducing jail time and fines.

At the same time, as an alternative to less rehabilitative sentencing options such as prison, many jurisdictions have also begun relying upon drug courts to handle cases. In doing so, defendants who have violated drug laws for a first or second time can participate in drug treatment programs that are more rehabilitative.

If you are facing felony drug charges associated with heroin possession, a Racine, Wisconsin, criminal defense attorney may be able to advise you as to options you have for handling your case.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Wisconsin heroin laws,” accessed March 31, 2017

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Robert W. Keller - author

Robert W. Keller practices exclusively in the areas of criminal defense law, and has been doing so since 1992. Clients are represented throughout the State of Wisconsin in both State and Federal Courts.