Thousands of people in the US who have been accused of drug crimes feel that there’s no silver lining in the cloud. They think that they can do nothing to avoid jail time. But the reality is that pleading guilty is the biggest mistake that won’t do any good.
Consulting with a drug attorney is critical before making any statements. An experienced drug lawyer in Delaware County will inform about the available options that can help minimize or reduce the charges.
In this post, you will learn why hiring a professional drug attorney should be the first priority if you want to avoid jail time.
About Drug-Related Crimes
The state laws for drug-related crimes are strict in Delaware. Anyone convicted of a possessing between 1 ounce and 175 grams of an illegal drug can face misdemeanor charges with a maximum fine of $575 and 3 months jail time.
Possession of more than 175 grams of illegal drug results in a felony charge with jail time ranging between 3 years and 25 years. Maximum fines for a felony are at the discretion of a judge.
Even if a person possesses less than an ounce of an illegal drug, a civil penalty of $100 is imposed. However, first-time offenders are usually placed on probation instead of being fined or sent to prison.
The penalties for the distribution, manufacture, and sale of an illegal drug are even harsh. The police may also seize all products, equipment, vehicles, paraphernalia, and other assets of the convict. The following table illustrates the penalty for multiple offenses of illegal drug possession.
|First Offense||60 days to 3 months||$250 to $1500|
|Second/Third Offense||60 days to 3 months||$575 to $1,500|
|Fourth Offense||2 years to 5 years||$3,000 to $7,000|
|Fifth Offense||3 years to 5 years||$3,500 to $10,000|
|Sixth Offense||5 years to 8 years||$5,000 to $10,000|
|Seventh Offense||10 years to 15 years||$10,000 to $15,000|
While the drug laws in the state are severe, certain aggravating factors can further increase the penalties. For instance, if a person has been found to possess an illegal drug at the place of worship, a protected park, or school zone, the person will face a stricter penalty.
The state laws also have strict drugged driving laws. The laws prohibit a person from driving under the influence of drugs. Apart from the above-mentioned penalties, a person guilty of a drugged driving offense will have the driving license revoked. The license is revoked for up to a year for the first offense, two years for a second and third offense, and five years for a subsequent offense.
Keep in mind that unlike some other states such as Washington, Alaska, and Colorado, possession of marijuana is not legal in Delaware. The term Marijuana is referred to not just the Cannabis plant but also manufacture, derivative, compound, and mixture of the plant.
Important Facts About Drug Criminal Conviction
A lot of people think that a drug conviction will lead to a person serving the prescribed penalty. But the reality is that in certain situations, the state allows an individual with a first offense a conditional release oralternative sentencing.
The individual can elect for probation instead of a trial. Successful completion of the probation will result in the release and the removal of the conviction in the criminal record of the individual.
Another important thing that you need to remember regarding the state’s drug laws is that possession and the use of a small amount of the drug will be treated as a traffic violation. In addition, those who are convicted of possession of marijuana will have the option to get their records expunged.
In addition, you should note that hemp is legal and authorized in the state. This is a different type of cannabis plant, which contains a minimal amount of the main psychoactive ingredient that is found in marijuana.
The state‘s medical marijuana
laws allow licensed dispensaries to distribute marijuana for medical
purposes including research. Patients can get a prescription for possessing up
to six ounces of marijuana. The qualifying conditions for which the use of
marijuana is allowed are the following.
- Persistent and severe muscle spasms
- Alzheimer Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
You need to find a lawyer if you or your loved one have been convicted of a drug crime. A lawyer will give you full representation in order to lessen the penalty and even have the charged remove from the record.
Knowledge of the Criminal Process
Hiring an experienced drug lawyer will also allow you to have complete knowledge of the criminal system. Your attorney will explain to you the process involved in navigating through the complex requirements of the court. In this way, you will not have to face the hassle of meeting court requirements to defend your case.
The drug lawyer will help you at all stages of the case. A good attorney will take care of all the paperwork involved in filing a court case. The legal expert will ensure that the hurdles in successfully filing claims. The attorney will use the knowledge to ensure that you get the best possible representation.
Expert Negotiating Skills
Drug lawyers have excellent negotiating skills. The legal professional will use negotiation skills during the plea bargaining process. A successful plea can result in reducing the charges and penalties.
Experienced in Drug Conviction Cases
A drug lawyer is experienced in cases that relate to defending individuals charged with a drug offense. The legal experts know about the nuances in handling cases involving drug conviction.
A lot of drug charges are dropped because the lawyer proves in the court that the search carried out by the police was illegal. Although the police have the legal right to search you for possession of drugs, they should have a reasonable reason for the search. If the lawyer can prove in the court that the police had searched the defendant without reasonable suspicion, the case can be dropped and the guilty police officer will have to bear the legal cost even if drugs are found.
Police officers can’t randomly search for an individual. The suspicion should be based on the basis of facts such as:
- When the police officer’s sniffer dog indicates that there might be drugs in the car
- When the police officer smells drugs inside the house or car
- When the police officer has seen you selling drugs to someone.
A police officer cannot search someone just because of a previous criminal record. In addition, a police officer cannot search someone who appears nervous and agitated. Lastly, a police officer cannot search for someone in an area that is known for drug-related activities.
Sometimes, drugs are found in shared premises. The lawyer knows about this and points it out to the court that proof about the sole or joint possession is not conclusive. When the rooms are shared, proving that the drugs belong exclusively to one person is difficult. Unless you have made a confession, or there is evidence such as fingerprints, the court cannot convict you of possession of a drug.
There are also cases in which the evidence might be insufficient. Examples include when the police saw you disposing of drugs when it’s possible someone might have put the drugs without your knowledge.
Using extensive experience in defending drug convicts, the attorney will marshal evidence to convince the court to minimize the offense. The lawyer will try to get the prison sentence shortened. The lawyer will have specific knowledge related to the drug laws that can help to tilt the case outcome in your favor.
Support from a Team of Legal Experts
When you contact a drug lawyer, you will get the support of a strong and experienced legal time. The legal experts will work bind the scenes providing valuable services in investigating and researching relevant laws. Their services will prove invaluable in gathering the required evidence that can help in reducing the prison sentence and fine.
Save You Cost in the Long Run
The most important reason you should get the help of a legal attorney is that it will save you a lot of costs as compared to self-representation in the court. Even a minor error such as missing a deadline to file a letter in the court could have serious negative consequences.
An experienced attorney will make sure that proper legal formalities are fulfilled when filing a drug-related case in the court. This will have a positive bearing on your case related to drug possession, distribution, or sale.
With the help of a drug lawyer in Delaware, you can win even if you are convicted of possession of illegal drugs. A lawyer will use the experience, knowledge, and expertise to convince the court of lesser court outcome. Through the efforts of an experienced lawyer, the judge can reduce the penalty or prison terms.