Alaska’s laws regarding heroin possession can be harsh. The amount a person possesses factors into the severity of the potential penalties.
Many persons arrested on heroin charges might face significant jail time since heroin possession is a felony in Alaska.
Unlike other states, Alaska does not utilize a sliding scale punishment based on the amount of heroin someone possesses. Possession of heroin in any amount is a class C felony. Someone guilty of possession could face a maximum of five years in prison and $50,000 in fines.
Nonviolent offenders arrested for possession might receive a court-ordered mandate for drug treatment. Such an outcome is contingent upon a guilty plea. Persons who plead guilty will have a permanent criminal record.
Selling heroin is a class A felony, and the penalties are substantial. Upon conviction, someone could face upwards of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Trafficking, indicated by continuing involvement with a criminal enterprise, involves penalties of 5 to 99 years in prison and upwards of $500,000 in fines. Selling heroin to a minor could result in the same penalties.
Drug charge defenses
Anyone charged with drug-related offenses would have a chance to defend themselves. The defense could focus on proving the person only possessed heroin for personal use and had no intention or involvement with the sale or trafficking. Sometimes, possession charges could be weak because the prosecutor cannot prove the person knew about the drugs’ presence nor controlled them.
Other issues could fit into a criminal defense strategy, such as whether the police had probable cause or violated the defendant’s constitutional rights. Any heroin procured through an illegal search would likely be inadmissible in a court of law.
Heroin laws in Alaska are strict. However, the standard remains guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.