Lawmakers in Iowa view heroin as a major threat to public safety, and individuals convicted of possessing small quantities of the drug can be sent to jail for up to a year even if they have never been in trouble with the law before. However, the harshest penalties are reserved for offenders who distribute large quantities of heroin or sell the drug to minors or while armed.
The penalties for possessing heroin
Being found in possession of heroin is usually a misdemeanor offense in Iowa, but repeat offenders can face felony charges. A first heroin possession offense is charged as a serious misdemeanor in the Hawkeye State. The penalties for a serious misdemeanor are a fine of up to $1,875 and a jail sentence of up to one year. A second heroin possession offense is an aggravated misdemeanor that is punishable by up to two years behind bars, and a third offense is charged as a Class D felony. Offenders convicted of Class D felonies in Iowa can be sent to prison for up to five years.
The penalties for distributing heroin
Heroin is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means distributing it is a serious drug crime. Distributing even small quantities of heroin can lead to a prison sentence of up to 10 years, and individuals convicted of distributing more than a kilogram of the drug can spend up to 50 years behind bars. The penalties are even harsher for offenders who sell heroin to minors or distribute it within 1,000 feet of a school, and they are tripled when individuals distribute the drug while carrying a firearm.
Drug treatment programs
Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is not used in medicine, so the penalties for possessing or selling it can be severe. However, the Iowa heroin laws do not include mandatory minimum sentences, which means judges may choose to order misdemeanor offenders to enter drug treatment programs instead of sending them to jail.