Some of the ways a drug crime lawyer may build your defense if you are facing charges
In the United States, we have seen both a cultural and legal shift as to how to frame marijuana drug use. This is not the case with other drugs or controlled substances. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., is what governs the legal standing of various drugs. If you are facing criminal drug charges, depending on the substance(s) in question, your drug crime lawyer will build your defense around one main strategy. This article will discuss six of the most common defenses.
If you or someone you care about is facing criminal drug charges, do not hesitate to contact Murphy & Rudolf, LLP for a free consultation. Call us at 508-762-1397.
State vs Federal Drug Laws
State and Federal laws do not always frame drug crimes in the same way. Generally, federal laws are focused on drug trafficking, where state laws are centered around manufacturing or distribution. With a substance like marijuana, although recreational and medicinal use is legal in some states like Massachusetts, it is not yet federally legal.
The CSA categorizes controlled substances into five different classifications:
- Schedule 1: Ecstasy, LSD, and heroin. Marijuana is also considered a Schedule 1 drug, despite studies finding it to have medical uses.
- Schedule 2: Cocaine and methamphetamine.
- Schedule 3: Anabolic steroids, ketamine, testosterone.
- Schedule 4: Ambien, Xanax, and Valium.
- Schedule 5: Lyrica and cough suppressants.
These are the federal classifications. Each state, however, can try and pass local legislation in order to alter the definitions and expand or minimize legality within the state. Marijuana, or cannabis, is an excellent example of this.
How will a drug crime lawyer help you?
First and foremost, if you are facing criminal drug charges, it is crucial that you find yourself an aggressive and experienced drug crime lawyer to help with your case. Experience affords you a fighting chance to achieve the best outcome for yourself. If you are looking into various lawyers, some of the main areas of expertise and skill you should inquire about are:
- Expert witness handling and cross-examination
- Years of experience (whether theirs or the collective experience of their firm)
- Average attorney caseloads
6 Possession Defenses
Every drug and every case will greatly affect the strategy your drug crime attorney decides to use for defending criminal charges. For this article, we will focus specifically on drug charges as they may pertain to possession. When you are charged with possession of drugs you may be charged with possession for personal use or possession with intent to sell. Depending on your case, there are six different defenses your attorney may choose to use:
Unlawful Search and Seizure:
Your Fourth Amendment rights were violated. Meaning, the drugs connected to you were not collected through lawful search and seizure procedures
Drugs Belong to Someone Else
It can be properly demonstrated that the drugs were not yours or you had no knowledge of their presence.
Crime Lab Analysis
A skilled defense attorney can challenge the expert witness (like a chemist) or order proper testing using a private lab. You may have been arrested because something looked like an illegal substance, but it was never tested in a lab.
The drugs apprehended at the time of the arrest cannot be located
Drugs were Planted
Not a commonly successful defense as law enforcement testimonies are hard to challenge. However, there are motions that can be filed that if approved, the judge will order any filed past complaints against an arresting officer to be released.
Sting operations are legal but your drug crime attorney may be able to prove that you were forced to commit a crime you would not have otherwise committed were it not for their involvement.
If you are facing criminal charges for possession of drugs, find yourself a trustworthy and aggressive drug crime attorney to be your legal advocate. What may seem like a helpless situation may be completely manageable with the proper legal support.