Understanding heroin laws in South Dakota

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2020 | criminal defense |

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that destroys lives. Unfortunately, those who become addicted to the drug face huge challenges when getting clean, because of the profound withdrawal symptoms and the highly addictive nature.

Federal laws and South Dakota state laws make heroin illegal, and those found in possession of even the smallest amount of heroin can face severe consequences. If you or a loved one has been found in possession of heroin in South Dakota, you must take action to better understand the law.

The legal consequences of heroin possession in South Dakota

In South Dakota, heroin possession is charged as a Class 4 felony. As the amount of heroin found increases, so too does the severity of the crime. Those found with any amount of heroin in their possession could expect to face up to 10 years in prison, and they may additionally face a crime of up to $20,000. However, South Dakota does recognize the fact that many people possessing heroin are simply victims of addiction, and what they need is rehabilitation rather than punishment. This is where drug courts come in.

What are the benefits of drug courts?

Some jurisdictions in South Dakota have specialized drug courts. This helps decedents to avoid jail time and to get help for their addiction. Generally speaking, defendants are more likely to gain access to drug courts if they have never been involved in the selling of drugs, if they have never committed a violent crime, and if they show motivation and commitment to tackling their addiction.

What are the benefits of plea bargains?

Plea bargains are a common route for defendants to gain a lesser sentence. Many prosecutors offer a defendant a plea bargain. If the plea bargain is accepted, the defendant will avoid going to court. However, they will not have the chance to plead their innocence. Additionally, lower sentences may be offered by prosecutors in return for the defendant giving information to help inform a larger case.

Early action must be taken to defend yourself if you have been accused of possessing heroin. Getting involved with the legal system could be a blessing in disguise, because drug courts may help you to fight your addiction and to live a sober life.