Are you facing drug crime charges? The stakes could not be higher. Drug crimes carry severe sentences and penalties. Even if you are only convicted for drug possession, you potentially face years behind bars and fines.
That is why you need to rely on a skilled defense attorney for drug crimes. With your attorney’s assistance, you stand a chance of beating the charges or reducing your sentence.
Keep reading to learn why it is vital to hire a drug crime defense attorney right away.
About Drug Crime Charges
Prosecutors file drug crime charges when arrested for possessing or trafficking in illegal drugs. The US government has declared illicit drugs illegal to use, possess, or distribute without proper authorization.
These drugs usually are ranked in a schedule of how dangerous they are to people. The drug schedule’s idea is to ensure that the public is safeguarded from these drugs’ dangers.
Below are examples of illegal drugs in the US:
- Narcotics: Morphine and codeine
- Stimulants: Cocaine, crack cocaine, and amphetamines
- Depressants: Barbiturates
- Hallucinogens: Peyote, mescaline, and LSD
- Cannabis: Hashish, marijuana, and synthetic marijuana
Drug Crimes Overview
Common drug crimes include the following:
This is the most common charge. Drug possession laws state that a person possessed an illegal drug without a prescription for personal use or sale. It is not always a crime to possess a drug regulated by the US government, but it is illegal to use or have an illegal drug without being authorized.
Creating or Manufacturing
Involves creating synthetic chemical components, extracting a drug, or packaging one. State laws are different in qualifying what “manufacturing or creating a drug” is.
Anyone involved in the drug manufacturing process can be charged with conspiracy. So, even if you did not possess the drugs, you still can face criminal charges.
Consuming an illegal drug without authorization. The government considers a drug illegal if you do not have a prescription from a physician who directed you to take the drug.
Drug Distribution or Trafficking
Includes selling or delivering illegal drugs. This charge also includes smuggling, taking drugs from one location to another to distribute, sell, possess, or use.
Drug Crime Defenses
If you are charged with a drug crime, your defense attorney will review your case and determine the best defense. Each case varies by the circumstances, but common defenses include the following:
The most common drug defense crime is stating you did not know you possessed the illegal drug. Your attorney will attempt to present evidence that you did not know that the drug was on you, in your car, or place of residence.
A typical example is when you borrow a vehicle from someone else who has illegal drugs there. Some states let you use unwitting possession as a defense. But others allow it if a condition is “had no reason to know.”
But note that some states do not allow this defense. You and your lawyer have the burden to prove that you did not know by a preponderance of the evidence.
Illegal Search and Seizure
This might work as a criminal defense if law enforcement obtained their evidence illegally. The Constitution outlaws police from searching vehicles and homes without a warrant.
If the police get evidence illegally, your attorney can suppress it in court. The jury will not see the evidence, so the conviction is impossible.
Abuse of Power
The police may have done illegal surveillance, planted evidence, or pressured suspects or witnesses.
Any drug charge requires a robust defense. So contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you have been arrested on these charges.