Fargo Drug Charge Defense Lawyers
The State of North Dakota has very little tolerance for drug offenses. Whether an officer pulled you over and found some marijuana in your car or you’re facing more severe charges, the penalties could be life-changing. You’ll need an effective, aggressive attorney to provide the best representation.
The attorneys with Sand Law have the experience and resources needed to help. We’ll work to reduce whatever penalties you may face or possibly eliminate your case. Our attorneys know how investigators and prosecutors work, and we’ll put that knowledge to use for your benefit.
Please use our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation, or call 701-609-1510.
North Dakota Drug Offense Statistics
There were 3,606 arrests for drug violations in 2022 and 2,195 arrests for drug paraphernalia and equipment violations. Nearly 50% of all drug seizures involved marijuana and hashish.
Fargo Drug Laws
The consequences you may face after a drug arrest in North Dakota depends on many factors. These include the type of drug involved, the amount, and more. If an officer arrested you for possessing less than an ounce of a drug, you could face a misdemeanor charge. But even though this doesn’t seem serious, it could still involve a stiff fine and a few days in jail.
Possessing more significant amounts of a drug could lead to decades in jail and fines that reach thousands of dollars. You may never get out of prison if your charge is a federal crime.
Types of Drug Offenses
The three primary drug offenses in North Dakota are possession, distribution and manufacturing. The following is a brief look at each.
Possession usually involves a small amount of a drug for personal use. One example is having an ounce of marijuana.
This crime carries much more severe penalties since it typically involves a much more considerable amount of a drug. Since people don’t keep large quantities of illegal drugs for personal use, police assume they intend to distribute them.
Manufacturing is another serious crime with severe consequences. Examples include creating a meth lab, growing large amounts of marijuana and others.
Sentencing and Fees for Drug Offenses
The state of North Dakota classifies controlled substances, now known as illegal drugs, in one of five categories, or schedules. The smaller the number, the more severe the punishment for possession, distribution or manufacturing. The following is a list of some drugs that fall into the five schedules.
- Schedule I – Unsafe drugs that have no accepted medical use. Examples include ecstasy, LSD, marijuana and heroin.
- Schedule II – Drugs used as simulants with limited medicinal use, such as morphine, methamphetamine, opium and codeine, and a high risk of physical or psychological dependence.
- Schedule III – These substances have a lower risk of abuse yet can still lead to dependence. These include anabolic steroids, Tylenol and ketamine.
- Schedule IV – Schedule IV drugs are more widely accepted for medical use and carry a low risk for abuse. Examples include Valium, Halcion and Ativan.
- Schedule V – These are medicines, such as prescription cough syrup that contains codeine, that the government regulates because they contain narcotics – even though the amounts are small.
A charge involving drugs in these schedules carries a wide range of penalties, and here’s a quick look at just a few.
The penalties for possessing illegal drugs vary, depending on the drug and the amount. A first-time offender can face a year in jail and a fine of as much as $3,000. If the state has previously convicted you of possession, the penalties for subsequent offenses can carry felony punishments. A Class C felony, for example, carries a fine of up to $10,000 and five years in prison.
Many people refer to this as “possession with intent to distribute.” Again, it means having so much of a drug that it can’t possibly be for personal use. A distribution charge could result in a $10,000 fine or more and five years or longer in prison.
Manufacturing illegal drugs can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A second offense can mean a minimum jail term of three years; the penalty is a mandatory 10-year sentence if convicted for a third time.
How Can a Fargo Drug Offense Lawyer Help You?
As you can see, the penalties associated with drug offenses can be harsh. That’s why you’ll need the best attorney you can find. A skilled lawyer will know several potential defense strategies and pursue every option on your behalf. Some of these strategies are listed below.
The officer may have entrapped you into committing a crime. Entrapment means they may have coerced you into possessing drugs or even threatened you. Undercover police will sometimes encourage people to perform an illegal act and arrest them. If this happened to you, there’s a chance your arrest could be wrongful – and your case could be dismissed.
Malicious intent is a defense that attorneys rarely use in drug cases, but it can be effective. You must prove that you didn’t possess or distribute the drug on purpose. You’ll also need to prove you honestly didn’t know you had a controlled substance. In some cases, defendants have successfully used this defense by proving someone substituted drugs without their knowledge. For example, the defendant may have intended to sell sugar, but someone switched that sugar for cocaine.
Illegal Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects all citizens against unlawful searches and seizures. If officials searched your home or car without probable cause or a warrant, prosecutors could exclude anything they found from your case. If that happens, the prosecution will very likely drop your charges.
Call Sand Law to Speak with an Experienced Attorney Today
Sand Law attorneys have successfully used these and other defenses to protect our clients’ rights. Schedule a free consultation by calling 701-609-1510 or contacting us online. We look forward to telling you more.