Drug Crimes Lawyer
Drug-related charges vary greatly in terms of prosecution and sentencing. In many cases, the prosecution aims to force defendants into treatment as opposed to prison sentences. If the charges detail intent to distribute, penalties may increase significantly. In addition, the type of drug and where it was found has a profound impact on the seriousness of the charges and how the prosecution will move forward.
Drug-related charges can be very complex and require the skills of an experienced drug crimes attorney. If you or a loved one is facing a criminal drug investigation, the dedicated staff of Boyle & Jasari, are here for you. Our drug crime defense lawyers understand the intricacies of illegal substance laws.
Attorney Dennis Boyle is an accomplished white-collar and criminal defense attorney. In his vast experience, he has served as a former;
- Navy Judge Advocate
- First Assistant District Attorney
- Special Assistant US Attorney
Attorney Dennis Boyle has also served over a decade as a prosecutor, giving him special insight into his client’s cases.
Having practiced throughout the nation in federal and state courts and international settings, Attorney Dennis Boyle has crafted his expertise in complex civil and federal litigation.
How a Drug Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Criminal drug charges can have a profound effect on your life. If found guilty, you could face time in prison, heavy fines, and a felony on your record permanently. Careers, families, and reputations are often ruined in the wake of a drug crime conviction. Convicted felons often experience hardship finding employment and housing. A guilty verdict for illegal substances may follow you for life.
It is important that you know criminal drug charges are seldom simple offenses with clear-cut defenses. An experienced drug crime attorney understands the many nuances involved in each case. The defense team at Boyle & Jasari, can help mitigate the impact of criminal drug charges.
Our drug crime attorneys can;
- Evaluate your case to assess the strengths and weaknesses. Attorney Dennis Boyle is a former prosecutor and brings a unique perspective to his defense team.
- Listen and understand your position while developing the facts of the case
- Interview witnesses and persons related to the matter
- Retain investigators, experts, and other professionals to add to your defense
After a thorough investigation, our attorneys may be able to persuade the prosecution to drop the charges against you. This is one of the most crucial aspects of having a skilled drug crime attorney advocate on your behalf. If your case must proceed to trial, our attorneys have extensive experience litigating complex cases, trying over 200 jury trials to verdict in state and federal courts across the nation.
What Factors or Variables Affect the Severity of Drug Charges?
There is a wide range of drug-related crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Import factors that affect your case include;
- The type of controlled substances. Illegal drugs are classified by addiction risk and harm, leading to harsher charges for drugs considered more dangerous. If a person has a controlled substance without a legal prescription, they could be charged with a felony regardless of the type or amount.
- The amount of illegal substances found could lead to charges of ‘intent to distribute,’ considered a much greater offense.
- Charges often differ depending on if the person has had prior encounters with law enforcement. First-time drug offenders are sometimes treated more leniently. However, the charges still have serious and life-altering consequences.
- The whereabouts of the person at the time of their arrest is also an important factor. In the District of Columbia, there are drug-free zones that can carry twice the penalties. Drug-free zones are areas commonly linked to children, specifically within 1,000 feet of;
- Daycare centers
- Schools, including elementary, vocational, secondary, colleges, and universities
- Public swimming pools
- Video arcades
- Youth centers
- Public libraries
- Public housing
How Drug Charges Are Defined
Drug charges are defined as;
- Possession of a controlled substance:
- Barring other factors, a simple possession charge is considered a misdemeanor. Possession of an illegal drug or controlled substance must be in a small enough amount to warrant personal use only.
- Distribution of a controlled substance:
- Selling illegal drugs or controlled substances have much harsher penalties, especially if the offender sells or gives drugs to a minor. The penalties increase if the offender provides the illegal substances to a person under the age of 17 with intent to sell or deliver.
Trafficking illegal drugs:
Trafficking illegal drugs or controlled substances across a border is considered a federal crime. The Office of National Drug Control Policy oversees collaborative Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and public health efforts to disrupt drug trafficking and production, leading to severe penalties.
Manufacturing illegal drugs:
Creating illegal drugs or using ingredients to produce or manipulate a controlled substance can lead to penalties that surpass distribution in terms of harshness.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a misdemeanor, felony, or multiple charges, it is crucial you speak with a knowledgeable drug crime attorney immediately. Often, law enforcement officials use a combination of surveillance, wiretaps, and other methods to investigate drug crimes. Sometimes the information gathered could be subject to constitutional issues.
What Defenses Are Available in Drug Crime Cases?
In addition to understanding the drug crime laws, it’s also crucial to understand the legal defenses that an experienced criminal defense lawyer can raise in your case. While the strategy of how to defend you will ultimately be up to your lawyer, familiarizing yourself with these defenses will allow you to be involved in your case.
Illegal Search and Seizure
One of the most common defenses to any type of drug crime, whether it be possession or possession with the intent to distribute, is that law enforcement did something illegal/unconstitutional and seized the drugs illegally. Under the 4th amendment of the United States Constitution, all people have the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. This means the police are not permitted to simply start searching your car, your house, your person, or anything else where you have standing and a reasonable expectation of privacy in order to try to find something illegal simply based on a hunch or just because they feel like it.
If the police see you walking down the street, for example, they can’t simply stop you for no reason and search you, looking for drugs or other illegal items. They must have reasonable suspicion that you were committing a crime or that you were about to be engaged in criminal activity in order to stop you.
In order to frisk you, they must have reasonable suspicion that you are armed and dangerous, and even then, this doesn’t give them the right to search your pockets for drugs just because they think you might have them. If they do this and they find drugs, your lawyer will file a motion to suppress and hopefully get the evidence thrown out. This is one of the most successful ways to defend a drug case.
Entrapment is another defense that can be used for drug crimes; however, this can be a bit more challenging to succeed in. To prove entrapment, you and your lawyer must be able to show that you, the defendant, would not have engaged in the activity if it weren’t for the undercover police officer convincing you to do so. For example, a police officer somehow coerces you to sell drugs that you never would’ve sold otherwise. You had no intention to do so, you didn’t have the drugs, didn’t know where to get them, and hadn’t even thought about it. Then, along comes an undercover police officer who gives you drugs and gets you to sell them for him. In this case, you could try to raise an entrapment defense. This is a particularly difficult defense if you already have prior drug offenses because it arguably shows that you’re predisposed to selling or possession drugs anyway, even without entrapment.
The Drugs Belong to Someone Else
Finally, another primary drug defense is that the drugs belonged to someone else. If you were pulled over in a car and someone else was in the vehicle with you and the police find drugs in the center console of the car or somewhere else not on your person, it’s a perfectly valid defense to claim that the drugs belonged to someone else. This is especially true if the drugs were equally in both of your control. For instance, if the drugs were in the center console and you and the driver or other passengers both had access to the drugs and were around the same distance away from them, it’s possible to claim that the drugs really did belong to someone else.
Criminal drug charges can lead to years in prison, hefty fines, a felony record, and the loss of your reputation, career, and future opportunities. The drug crime attorneys at Boyle & Jasari bring their skills, expertise, and experience to your defense and advocate for your rights.