30th April 2020
What Legal Defenses are There for Drug Offenses?
Whether you are facing prosecution for possession of a controlled substance or the intent to sell or distribute an illegal substance, you may have a number of potential legal defenses available to assert. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, choosing the right drug defense in North Dakota can dramatically reduce the potential punishment that you are facing. When meeting with your attorney, here are some key defense strategies they may use.
It happens more than you would think. You are offered drugs by someone you don’t know. And despite repeatedly refusing them, they continue to pester you. Eventually, you may just make them go away. But as soon as you agree, you find the cuffs slapped on your wrists. This is referred to as entrapment. And it is not something that police officers are allowed to do. When investigating drug crimes undercover, officers cannot aggressively pursue or persuade you to purchase drugs illegally. However, many will do it, especially if you are hanging around a common drug trafficking area. This is just one scenario. But entrapment can take many different forms.
Malicious Intent Defense
If you are arrested for drug possession, you may have no idea where they came from. If so, then taking up a malicious intent defense may be the next natural step. Your attorney will rule out the possibility that the drugs were planted on you. Either by someone seeking revenge or by a police officer. This can be a huge deal and difficult to prove. It requires a lot of investigation into the person you believe to have planted it. For this defense, you and your attorney will need to turn up evidence proving they planted it. For example, witnesses or documents that point to their malicious intent.
Medicinal Use of Drugs
This defense only works for marijuana specifically and can be a gamble. Marijuana is legalized for medicinal use in North Dakota. However, it’s required that you carry a card to signal that you are a licensed user of medical marijuana. These cards can be difficult to obtain. If you can prove you were possessing marijuana in order to use it for a medical condition that studies have shown marijuana use to be effective, for then it may still be a valid defense. If you have proof you have back pain or glaucoma, both of which can be treated by medical marijuana, are conditions that may make you eligible for such a card.
Denying Ownership of the Drugs
If there is one drug defense that is used more than others, it is the denial of ownership. While you may think it is the first step of this defense to deny the ownership of illegal substances at the time of arrest, it is best to just keep quiet. Instead, contact your attorney as soon as possible so they can advise you as to how to proceed.
Some Common Categories of Drug Offenses
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Controlled Substance Crime, 1st – 5th degrees
- Possession of Substances with Intent to Manufacture
- Importing Controlled Substances Across State Borders
What Happens if I am Convicted of a Drug Crime?
North Dakota treats drug crimes very seriously. There are severe penalties even for first-time offenders that can end up serving local jail time or even several years in prison. Drug crimes involving the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics are taken especially seriously by the justice system and are considered federal crimes that bring the severity of punishment to a new level tried in federal court that comes with a whole new set of rules. Drug charges are already tried in special drug courts most of the time where the focus of rehabilitating drug offenders can consist of different punitive measures such as repeated drug testing, ongoing addiction treatment, and recurring court check ins. When dealing with the defense of a drug charge, you need a lawyer that understands how these different courts work and how to best mount a defense in response.
Seek an Experienced North Dakota Drug Defense Attorney
These defenses may work for some types of drug offenses. While others will not have as much success. It is important to remember that every case is different with its own set of details and factors that can affect how successful certain defense strategies are as well as the overall success of defense in general. Therefore, it is imperative that you seek not just any legal council when dealing with a drug charge but a criminal defense attorney with specific experience in dealing with drug charges. There are many criminal defense attorneys out there that will make a number of claims regarding their success and skills, but always remember to look at your attorney’s case histories to be sure that their experience and skills are relevant to your type of case. Experience can often tip the scales of justice towards a favorable outcome in regard to your case ruling.
North Dakota Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been arrested for drug possession with or without the intent to sell, no matter what you think your defense strategy should be, your first steps should be to shut your mouth right after you ask for your lawyer. The worst thing you can do for your case can often be the defensive utterances that you make at the time of your arrest. What you say then can greatly derail a potentially effective drug defense. If you need a drug charge defense lawyer in Watford City, Williston, Minot, or Bismarck, North Dakota, contact us today. The criminal defense lawyers at Sand Law PLLC will fight in order to help you get the best possible result for your case. We offer free consultations. Call us today at 701-609-1510.