Fighting Drug Charges
Drug charges come in many forms — from misdemeanors that may result in probation to felonies, some of which could carry a sentence up to life in prison. The severity of the charge and the resulting penalty depends on the type of drug found, the weight of the drug and the circumstances of the arrest. Consult a drug lawyer to start your case correctly.
Some drug charges are minor offenses called misdemeanors. Though the state considers the charge a misdemeanor, the penalty may still include jail time. Misdemeanors carry up to a year in jail. In addition to jail time, penalties for misdemeanor drug charges include up to a year of probation, fines and other conditions that the judge may order. The most common example of a misdemeanor drug charge is possession of a marijuana cigarette. Though simple possession of marijuana is becoming more accepted culturally, be assured that acceptance has not reached the criminal justice system. Even a charge of misdemeanor possession carries severe consequences which will affect the accused for years to come. If you are a first-time offender, our drug lawyer may negotiate a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Possession of drugs other than marijuana (or possession of large quantities of marijuana) will generally result in a felony charge. Felonies are charges which carry a sentence of more than a year in prison. The criminal record, the type of drug and the circumstances affect the prison time. It may seem surprising, but a felony arrest may result from the possession of just one pill. The criminal justice system treats one pill and a baggie of cocaine similarly — both situations would result in a felony arrest. But we may be able to find issues in your case that can be difficult for the prosecution to overcome. For instance, if the case involves constructive possession (drugs found in close proximity to the accused but not actually on their person), the state may have difficulty proving that the defendant knew of the presence of the drugs and the illicit nature of the substance. Recognizing these areas of difficulty can alter the strategy used in defending the case.
Possession With Intent To Distribute
Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute carries stiffer penalties than simple possession. The items found near the drugs often determine whether a person has the intent to distribute. The discovery of items such as scales, baggies and cash will likely lead to an Intent to Distribute charge.
Our drug lawyers may be able to suppress such evidence (excluded from trial). The successful suppression would result in the prosecution only being able to proceed on a simple possession charge. Thus, the penalty would be much less severe.
The Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance charge is similar to Intent to Distribute in that it carries stiffer penalties than simple possession. Also, the state supports the charge by presenting the items found in proximity to the illegal substance. For instance, the discovery of blackened windows, certain chemicals (such as methanol, ether, toluene or sulfuric acid), packages of cold medicine that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, and sheets stained red from filtering red phosphorus will assuredly lead to a Manufacturing Methamphetamine charge. Just as in a Possession with Intent charge, examining the case for potential suppression is vital to a successful defense.
Sale Of A Controlled Drug
The Sale of a Controlled Drug is a serious offense which can result in a significant prison term. Often, police will set up sting operations to attempt to catch someone in the act of selling drugs. These operations usually utilize confidential informants: people who the police caught in possession of drugs who then attempt to reduce their own sentence by wearing a wire while purchasing drugs from a seller. The police monitor the transaction from afar and then arrest the seller at a later time, often after recording several buys. Transactions that are caught on videotape are vigorously prosecuted. The accused will benefit significantly from an aggressive defense which examines the police conduct. Analysis of conduct determines whether their actions are cause for challenging the admissibility of the evidence.
Trafficking a Controlled Substance is the most serious drug offense. To qualify as trafficking, the amount of drugs present must be significant. Trafficking charges carry minimum mandatory sentences which must be imposed if the accused is found guilty. The drug involved and the amount found determine the minimum mandatory sentence. The minimum can range anywhere from five years in prison up to 25 years. Keep in mind that the minimum mandatory sentence is just that, a minimum; a defendant charged with a crime that carries a minimum mandatory of 25 years can be sentenced to an even longer term of imprisonment. Additionally, fines in trafficking cases can reach $1 million. Often, police will set up sting operations to catch someone allegedly engaged in drug trafficking. These operations usually utilize undercover police officers who are introduced to the accused by people who are trying to get their own case dismissed. Trafficking operations are often conducted over several days, weeks, even months during which multiple conversations are recorded. The stakes are obviously quite high in trafficking cases, so choosing the right drug lawyer is a necessary first step in preparing to defend the life of the accused. And really, the rest of their life is what is at stake.
Contact Our Drug Lawyers
Our seasoned legal team receives over 100 hours specialized training annually so that we can always be one step ahead of prosecutors. With zealous advocates both in state and federal courts, our attorney knows what has to be done to successfully fight drug charges. No matter what level of drug offense you or your loved one has been accused of, each charge should be treated seriously as any conviction can have a significant impact for years to come. Drug convictions can disqualify a student from financial aid, affect a career and deny the accused their freedom, potentially even denying their freedom for the rest of their life. As soon after arrest as possible, contact us so our drug lawyers can protect your interests and the interests of your family.