Nassau County Drug Crime Lawyer
As a resident of Nassau County, you may find yourself in need of a drug crime lawyer if you are charged with a crime related to drugs. Whether you were arrested for using cocaine in a club on Long Beach or trafficking methamphetamine in Hempstead, it’s important to enlist an experienced Nassau County drug crime attorney to assist you in defending your case in court.
In any given year, hundreds of people face felony drug charges in Nassau County, with hundreds more facing misdemeanor charges.
At The Matera Law Firm, we can help you to fight for a fair outcome in your case. Our skilled Nassau County drug crime lawyers have over 25 years of experience in representing individuals who are facing serious drug charges.
What Types of Drug Crimes Can I Be Charged With In New York?
The state of New York recognizes several different types of drug crimes. These include the following:
- Criminal marijuana possession
- Criminal sale of a controlled substance
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Drug trafficking and distribution
- Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine
- Possession with intent to distribute
Each crime carries a potential for fines, penalties, and incarceration, depending on the type of drug, where it was found, and the quantity you held.
Typically, crimes of possession result in less severe penalties than distribution or trafficking crimes. However, it is not unusual for those who have been charged with distribution or trafficking to also be charged with possession.
Drugs and controlled substances are defined by the Controlled Substance Schedules listed under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are considered to be the most dangerous and generally carry the most serious penalties.
A non-comprehensive list of drugs defined in the schedules follows:
- Concentrated cannabis
- Cough syrup
What Type of Defenses Can Be Used When Facing a Possession Charge?
If you are charged with possessing a drug or another controlled substance, your Nassau County drug crime lawyer will consider the facts of the case and help you to decide which defenses might be the most appropriate for your circumstances.
For a possession charge to stand in court, prosecutors must prove four elements of a case:
- The defendant possessed the substance
- The substance was on the schedules for controlled substances
- The defendant knowingly possessed the substance
- Possession of the substance was not lawful
Common defenses used in possession cases include:
A Lack of Knowledge
A lack of knowledge defense can be applied if the defendant did not realize that the drug was in their possession. This defense is most likely to succeed when the substance was a small amount found in a vehicle or in an article of clothing that another individual had access to.
This defense works when an individual had a legal right to use the drugs. A prescription for the controlled substance is often enough for a court to throw out possession charges when this defense is used.
However, if the individual has a significant amount of the drug on their person or within their possession, prosecutors may consider that the individual was using the prescription to gain access to drugs they intended to sell or distribute.
If the individual is under the age of 16, a Nassau County drug crime lawyer may be able to have possession charges reduced and penalties thrown out on the grounds of their age. In many cases, however, the individual may need to attend substance counseling.
What Happens If a Person Is Convicted of Drug Possession?
A drug possession conviction is less serious than a trafficking charge, but it may still result in significant penalties. Charges vary based on the amount found. Minimum penalties involve a Class A misdemeanor with up to a year in jail or three years of probation. A fine of up to $1,000 may also be given for this type of charge.
What Type of Defenses Can Be Used Against a Distribution or Trafficking Charge?
Distribution and trafficking of controlled substances are much more serious than possession charges. It can also be harder for a Nassau County drug crime lawyer to oppose distribution and trafficking charges.
There are five common defenses used in distribution and trafficking charges.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
With this defense, an attorney will attempt to prove that the police made procedural errors during the arrest. This can include establishing doubts about probable cause or establishing that there was no warrant to search property when the arrest was made.
If the prosecutor loses the drug that you were possessing, it is possible for the entire case to be dropped. Losing drugs can happen when they are not transferred directly to the evidence locker or when there are several different transfers across precincts.
If the prosecutor does not have the drug in hand, they cannot prove that you possessed it.
Entrapment may be argued if a Nassau County drug crime lawyer wants to prove that you would not have committed the crime if police officers or other individuals working with them had not induced you to.
For this defense to succeed, the attorney may need to prove that the police officers or other individuals provided the drugs.
Controlled Substance Lab Analysis
Some substances may look like drugs, but a lab analysis will show that they are not actually drugs. An attorney who believes the drugs that were seized were actually not controlled substances may have them examined by a lab.
If it’s found that the substances do not have the chemical makeup of a drug defined in the Controlled Substances Schedule, charges may be dropped.
Another common defense for intent to sell or drug trafficking charges is to argue that the drugs were in possession only and the defendant did not intend to distribute or sell them to others.
An attorney may attempt this defense if the drugs were not separated into baggies, there were no labels or other indicators of potential to distribute, and no large amounts of cash were found on the defendant. The attorney can also argue that the value of the drugs found did not total $75,000 or more.
What Happens If a Person Is Convicted of Drug Trafficking?
A major drug trafficking charge carries significant penalties. If prosecutors can prove that the individual directed or intended to direct sales of controlled substances totaling $75,000 or more, the defendant can be charged with a Class A-1 felony.
This type of charge carries a minimum imprisonment sentence of 15 years and may result in a life sentence.
In addition to prison time, a convicted individual can receive a fine of up to $100,000. Individuals who are charged with trafficking are often charged with other crimes, as well, which can increase monetary fines and the length of a prison sentence.
How Can a Nassau County Drug Crime Lawyer Help Me?
If you’re facing drug charges, an experienced Nassau County drug crime lawyer help you. Experienced Nassau County drug crime lawyers at The Matera Law Firm can review your case and establish a comprehensive defensive strategy to protect your legal rights.
With over 25 years of experience, we are the premier law firm assisting individuals charged with drug crimes in Nassau County. Contact us for a free consultation today.
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