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What are the types of drug charges involving heroin in Oregon?

In a recent article, this blog highlighted the arrest of one Portland woman for possession of heroin. In that case, police accused the woman of using heroin in her car while her child was present. Many people are likely aware that heroin is illegal in Oregon. However, people may not be aware of the different drug charges that a person can face as a result of heroin.

In general there are three major categories of drug charges involving heroin. The first is possession of heroin. Possession laws apply when a person is found with less than three grams of the drug. Possession of heroin is considered a Class B felony in Oregon. A person found guilty of a Class B felony can be sentenced to up 10 years in prison.

The second category of heroin offenses is for the sale of heroin. Under Oregon statute 475.850 it is illegal for anyone to deliver heroin, and under statute 475.846 it is illegal to manufacture heroin within the state. In both cases, someone charged with the delivery or manufacture of heroin can be charged with a category six, class A felony and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Typically, those found with between three and five grams of heroin will face charges for the sale of heroin. Other factors -- including possession of packaging materials, having more than $300 in cash, owning a firearm or a customer list -- will be used by law enforcement to determine if a person should be charged with the sale of heroin.

The final category is for trafficking of heroin. A person could face trafficking charges if they are found with five or more grams of heroin. In cases of trafficking, people face a category 8, class A felony and the most severe penalties. People in these cases could face up to 20 years in prison.

The exact charges faced by a person can be complicated and based on a number of factors. People should make sure they seek legal advice when they are facing drug charges so that they can craft the appropriate criminal defense strategy for the specific charges they face.

Source: FindLaw, "Oregon Heroin Laws," accessed on July 27, 2014

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