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Three common heroin offenses and penalties in Wisconsin

Heroin use is on the rise. A recent publication by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports that heroin use climbed 34 percent between 2013 and 2014. These numbers are more than just data from a study - they translate to real people with real struggles throughout the country.

More than a national problem. Heroin statistics in Wisconsin: Here in Wisconsin, deaths connected to heroin addiction increased 18 percent in the same time frame. The surge in addiction and jump in deaths is likely connected to the rise in use of opioid pain relievers combined with the falling prices of heroin, which gives effects similar to opioids.

In addition to health issues and the battle with addiction tied to heroin use, those who possess the drug can face serious criminal penalties.

Wisconsin takes heroin charges seriously: Getting accused of possession, distribution or trafficking of heroin in Wisconsin is a serious offense. Those charged with a heroin offense can face the following penalties:

  • Three grams or less: Class F felony
  • Between three and ten grams: Class E felony
  • Between ten and fifty grams: Class D felony

The penalties associated with these convictions vary depending on the details of the allegations. Penalties often involve both monetary fines and jail time. Fines can exceed $100,000 and jail sentences can range from six months to 40 years.

State penalties are just the beginning - federal penalties may apply as well: It is important to note that these penalties focus primarily on state convictions. Additional federal penalties can apply. The penalties vary based on a number of factors, including previous convictions and the location of the alleged crime.

Societal stigma also an issue: Those facing these charges should also be aware of the fact that these convictions often com with long-lasting consequences.

Even after criminal penalties are paid, societal penalties can remain. The stigma of having a drug crime conviction on a criminal record can be an enormous hurdle when attempting to pursue employment or educational opportunities. It can even make it difficult to find housing as many rental applications ask about the presence of a criminal record.

Don't let the charge become a conviction, defenses are available: A charge does not automatically become a conviction. Those facing these charges can fight back. Defenses are available that can result in the reduction or even the potential dismissal of charges. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help better ensure your legal rights are protected.

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