What To Know When Hiring A Drug Crime Attorney

What To Know When Hiring A Drug Crime Attorney

The courts in most states are much tougher on drug dealers than they are on users. Because politicians and legislators view drugs as a direct cause of illegal activity, they typically target the source. Many states prosecute suspected dealers to the fullest extent of the law. A conviction for the crime of possession with intent to sell a controlled substance is punishable by fines, probation, and jail or prison time.

Possible Outcomes

Drug crimes are generally based on the type of controlled substance and the amount that was seized by authorities. A defendant may be charged with the crime of trafficking if he has a certain quantity of a certain substance. For example, if a person is caught with over 28 grams of cocaine in the state of Florida, he will be subject to the state's mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking, which is 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

With all other things being equal, possession with intent to sell is not quite as serious a charge for a drug crime attorney to defend against. It falls somewhere between simple possession and trafficking. A defendant may be charged with the crime if the police and prosecutors believe that the seized drugs were not simply for personal or recreational use. A few things that may lead them to this conclusion include: the presence of drug paraphernalia, such as scales or baggies at the scene, the way it was packaged, the type and/or quantities of the substance, the presence of weapons, and an admission by the accused to police or prosecutors that he intended to sell the goods.

Possible Legal Defenses

No matter how dire the outlook, an experienced drug crime attorney can help. Law is all about procedure, and if the police or prosecutors overstepped their bounds, it might be possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed. For example, if the original search was conducted without a warrant or if the suspect was illegally detained, the charges against him may not stand. It is also important to note that intent is a difficult thing to prove. Unless the accused actually admitted that he was planning to sell the seized substance, he may only be subject to simple possession.

An attorney may also build a defense based on the presumption that the defendant had no intention of selling or distributing the illegal substance. If he can convince the judge or jury that the substance was for personal or recreational use only, then the defendant would not be subject to a distribution charge. In that instance, the prosecutor might drop the charges. In the worst-case scenario, the prosecutor might offer a deal for simple possession, which is a far less serious crime in most states. Many states even offer rehabilitation programs instead of prison time for people who are convicted of possession.

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