Drug Charges and Their Defense
Drug offenses come in many varieties with one common factor, the penalties for a conviction are severe and may result in lengthy prison sentences and fines. An aggressive defense is necessary. Review this article related to drug charges and their defense.
Drug charges come in many different varieties. Regardless of the offense, penalties may be severe. For even a first offense on a possession with intent to sell, state sentencing guidelines often result in up to 12 years in prison. In the federal system, the penalties may be even more severe.
Civil penalties may also apply. Police authorities make money by confiscating your property. If you were arrested for drug offenses, property can be seized. This includes cash that the person may have had with them, vehicles they may have been using or even homes where drug offense are alleged to have occurred. The evidence will be held without releasing it so long as there is an ongoing investigation. Often, prosecutors will attempt to forfeit the property permanently. It is often possible to file a lawsuit seeking the return of your property.
The collateral consequences of a conviction are also severe. Even a minor drug offense conviction may result in the inability to work in certain fields. For example, a drug conviction can disqualify a person from ever working in the health care field in almost any capacity. It may also impact employment in many other careers, particularly jobs that require a background check or security clearance. Background checks may also be performed for those seeking to rent a residence. A conviction may result in a denial. Finally, a conviction for a drug offense can have a significant impact on immigration and, in some instance, may result in deportation for non U.S. citizens.
Given the significant impact of drug offenses, consulting with experienced legal counsel is imperative at an early stage so that all defenses can be explored and evidence challenged.
Criminal drug charges may include:
Intent to Sell
Operation a Meth Lab
Possessing Material for a Meth Lab
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
State and federal law enforcement authorities often work together on drug enforcement cases. Moreover, counties often share resources to create drug task forces whose primary assignment is investigating drug offenses.
Once these law enforcement task forces believe they have enough evidence to charge an individual, they will often postpone charges, seeking, instead, to cast a wider net. They do this by trying to convince the suspected individual to provide them names of other drug dealers or users and, often, seeking to engage that suspect in drug purchases. In this way, law enforcement builds a small case into a much larger case by building a using the suspected individual.
Suspected individuals often feel compelled to cooperate. They mistakenly believe that by doing so, they will never be charged. The fact is that the charges may not be filed immediately, even for a year or more, but they will come. Moreover, the use of individuals who face charges of their own often means that they are motivated to come up with some evidence against others, whether it exists or not. In the end, it is not uncommon for the legal authorities to violate constitutional rights to be free from warrantless searches and seizures or Fifth Amendment rights related to custodial interrogation. Often, these issues can be the back bone of a defense case where suppression of evidence or statements is critical.
Possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia can often be challenged arguing that the person charged did not have control of the seized contraband. An officer must also have a reasonable, articulable suspicion of a particular criminal offense in order to stop a person. That is true whether they are walking, standing or driving. Often, when the basis for the stop is explored, the reasonable suspicion is found lacking and the subsequent discovery of drugs suppressed. Another critical factor is whether the officers involved conducted a constitutional search. Except for certain exception, the officers would require consent to search or have a search warrant in hand. Even a search warrant must be supported by probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. If the search is determined to be improper, the drugs seized may be suppressed. Even the weight and purity of the drug may be critical and can be challenged to reduce the drug offense charged.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Attorney Maury D. Beaulier
Maury D. Beaulier has over 16 years of experience in defending individuals against criminal drug charges in State and Federal Court. His is described as passionate and aggressive with reasonable fees.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.