A drug arrest occurs when police authorities arrest a person on suspicion of drug possession, drug use, or drug trafficking. Drug charges are among the most serious of crimes due to their potential to cause widespread harm in a given community. As such, drug crime penalties tend to be somewhat severe when compared to simpler criminal charges.
What are Some Penalties for Drug Crimes?
Some crimes like drug possession or being under the influence of drugs may result in misdemeanor charges. These will lead to sentences such as one year maximum in a jail, and/or criminal fines.
More serious crimes such as drug trafficking can lead to felony consequences, which include longer sentences in prison (not a county jail), as well as additional criminal fines. It may also lead to the loss of various rights, such as child custody rights or the right to own a firearm. Possessing certain drugs in large amounts may lead to an automatic presumption that the person intends to distribute them.
Certain factors may lead to penalty enhancements. This is when misdemeanor charges are converted into felony charges due to additional factors. Some of these enhancement factors may include:
- The charge is a repeat offense
- The crime also involved the use of dangerous weapons
- The crime involved the death or serious bodily injury of another person
- The drugs involved was distributed to or sold by children
- The drug crime involves large amounts of dangerous substances.
Are There Any Defenses for Drug Charges?
Drug arrests are usually planned ahead of time by police authorities. They will usually scope out a residence or building to determine the nature and extent of any possible drug activities. If evidence of a drug operation is found, the police will need to secure a proper search warrant and/or arrest warrant. Failing to secure the proper warrant can often invalidate a drug arrest.
Also, other defenses may apply such as intoxication or coercion (i.e., someone forced the defendant to perform the crime against their own will).
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Drug Arrest Issues?
Drug crimes are often very serious and require the assistance of a qualified criminal attorney. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need help with a drug arrest or other type of legal issue. Your attorney can provide you with the answers to various legal questions, and can also represent you in court during the criminal trial proceedings.