Drug charges can range from simple misdemeanors to multi-jurisdictional federal felonies. Regardless of the charge, you need a competent and dedicated criminal defense attorney to help you obtain the most favorable outcome. Depending upon the nature of your drug crime, your attorney may also advocate on your behalf for the imposition of an alternative sentencing structure wherein you are able to obtain rehabilitation for an underlying substance abuse problem. By working with an attorney through the drug defense process, you are taking the guesswork out of the prosecution’s next move and are gaining greater control over the outcome of your case.
Drug Possession Cases
Drug possession crimes generally fall into two categories: possession for personal use and possession with intent to distribute. The former likely carries a lower penalty and the distinction between the two crimes is often a source of contention between prosecutors and drug defense attorneys. The criminal code contains guidelines for determining whether the accused had the intent to distribute the drugs in his possession or was merely transporting the contraband for personal use. Factors considered include:
- Quantity of drugs in the defendant’s possession;
- Location of drugs when found (e.g., pocket or container);
- Presence of baggies or a scale;
- Observance of hand-to-hand transactions with others;
- Presence of large amounts of money in the defendant’s possession.
Drug Cultivation or Manufacture
If you are facing charges relating to the cultivation of marijuana or the manufacture of illegal drugs, you should have a criminal defense attorney aggressively representing you because of the severity of the potential consequences. Law enforcement often circumvents the bounds of constitutional criminal procedure when engaging in the surveillance of alleged manufacture or grow operations. For this reason, there is a possibility you could have these charges dismissed altogether if your attorney can successfully argue for the suppression of drugs seized as a result of unlawful surveillance.
Drug Sales or Trafficking
Drug trafficking activity often crosses state or national lines and could result in the involvement of federal authorities in your drug crimes case. If you are facing both state and federal drug trafficking allegations, your attorney may begin by arguing that only one prosecution is necessary. Your lawyer will also represent your rights to a reasonable bond as judges overseeing drug trafficking cases routinely post bonds in excess of $250,000.00
If you are caught engaging in drug sales, you could face serious felony penalties depending on the amount and type of drugs sold. There are also sentencing enhancements for drug sales within a certain distance of a playground, school or daycare. Regardless of the nature or extenuating circumstances of your drug sales charge, your lawyer will advocate for a reduction or dismissal of charges – particularly if this is your first offense or you are engaged in the sale of small quantities of drugs.
Protecting your rights early in the process is critical. Call us today to discuss your case.