Being charged with a drug crime can have long-term consequences on your life and your future opportunities. At the office of Thomas Law, our experienced Indiana drug crimes lawyer knows that if you are facing charges for a drug crime, you need a skilled drug crime lawyer in Evansville who can defend you and protect your best interests. Our lawyers are ready to help. To learn more about your rights and how to protect them when you’ve been charged with a drug crime, call our law firm directly today at 812-492-1900.
Our Indiana drug crimes lawyer can represent you during your criminal drug crime case and has experience working on a wide range of case types. Common types of drug charges for which we can provide a defense include:
● Possession of a controlled substance. Indiana’s drug crime offenses are broadly split into two categories: possession and dealing. Within those categories, however, there are different offenses and penalties for possessing or dealing marijuana and possessing or dealing controlled substances such as methamphetamines, cocaine, or narcotics. Additionally, there are also two types of possession crimes:
○ Constructive possession. Constructive possession of drugs is a much harder crime to prove in Indiana. Constructive possession occurs when drugs are recovered in a common area that is used by the defendant, but not on the defendant’s person. For example, if drugs are recovered in a shared vehicle. When this is the case, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the drugs are indeed the defendant’s.
○ Actual possession. Actual possession is much more straightforward and easy to understand and occurs when drugs are actually found on the body of the defendant.
● Dealing a controlled substance. Being charged with possession is serious and can have serious consequences, but the consequences for dealing are much more severe. Dealing refers to knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, delivering, financing the manufacturing or delivery of, or possessing with intent to deliver a controlled substance. The penalties for dealing marijuana are separate and distinct from the penalties for dealing other controlled substances; the same is true for possession.
Being charged with a drug crime is incredibly serious and can have long-term consequences; being convicted is even worse.
The penalties for drug crimes are based on the type of drug in question (there are different penalties for marijuana, narcotics, and methamphetamines), the specifics of the drug crime, and the amount or quantity of drugs involved. With that in mind, a possession crime could result in a sentence of anywhere from up to six months in jail to up to 50 years in prison; fines for possession can range from $5,000-$10,000.
The penalties for dealing a controlled substance are even worse and, like possession, will depend on the type of drug, the amount of drug, and the circumstances of the case–for example, delivery in a school zone or to a minor may be more harshly persecuted. All felony sentences for drug dealing carry a maximum fine of $10,000. A conviction of dealing could be a Class A felony, which can result in a sentence of up to 50 years in prison.
In addition to a jail or prison sentence and a sizeable fine, those who are convicted of drug possession or dealing may also lose their parental rights, could be expelled from school or lose their right to receive federal student aid, could lose their ability to legally own a firearm, and could face challenges in securing housing or employment in the future. When facing drug charges and the serious consequences that are associated with drug charges, working with a skilled criminal defense attorney is always recommended.
It’s important that you work with your attorney to build a defense that is sensible and appropriate for your case. The following outlines some of the most common defenses to drug charges; note, of course, that the defenses may not be relevant to you.
● Constitutional violations. One of the most common defenses to drug charges, as well as one of the most effective, is to allege that at some point during the criminal process, the defendant’s Constitutional rights were violated, and therefore the evidence that was collected cannot be used. For example, if the drugs were seized during an unlawful search and seizure in violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, the evidence is invalid. Or, if the police failed to advise the defendant of their legal rights at the time of arrest and the defendant said something incriminating, that statement may be thrown out by the court.
● Lack of possession. Another common defense in a drug possession case is simply defending yourself against the charges by claiming that you were not, in fact, in possession of any drugs. This might mean proving that the drugs were not yours, the drugs were planted, the drugs in question were not in fact illegal drugs, or the drugs belonged to someone else in your party/family/group.
● No chain of custody. In order for the prosecution to secure a guilty verdict, they must be able to show what’s called a chain of custody. The chain of custody requirement means being able to show how the drugs were handled from the time that they were seized from the defendant through the time of the defendant’s trial. If the prosecution can’t show a chain of custody, then the evidence cannot be admitted to the court. That being said, it is very difficult to keep evidence out based on chain of custody arguments.
Sometimes, pleading innocent and defending oneself against charges isn’t the best case strategy. Instead, it might be more sensible to enter a plea bargain with the prosecution. In a plea bargain, the defendant pleads guilty to the charges in exchange for some concession from the prosecution, such as reduced charges or a reduced sentence. An attorney can represent you during the plea bargain process.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Indiana, it’s important that you understand the charges you’re facing, the penalties for drug crimes in Indiana, and how to defend yourself. Our experienced attorney at the office of Thomas Law is ready to serve you. Call today at 812-492-1900 for the legal help you need during this critical time. Consultations are offered free of charge.