If you or a loved one has been arrested for a drug or controlled substance offense, the uncertainty can be overwhelming. In either case, you need a respected drug crime defense attorney in Crown Point on your side.
While every drug case is different, they all require a criminal defense attorney with the experience and skill to dig in and obtain the best possible outcome for you. Stracci Law Group has successfully handled hundreds of state and federal drug and controlled substance cases ranging from simple misdemeanor possession to felony dealing.
Types of State and Federal Drug and Controlled Substance Crimes We Defend
Maybe you were stopped on the interstate for speeding. Or, maybe the police came to your door asking about a package you received with pills, marijuana, or other drugs. Whether you were pulled over with pills in your car, caught receiving marijuana through the mail, or secretly filmed by a confidential police informant, we know how to dissect the case against you and protect you from shoddy investigations, unconstitutional stops, and illegal searches. We aggressively challenge overzealous practices like “interdiction” stops, warrantless searches, cell phone tracing/tracking, wiretapping, and the use of questionable confidential informants to make undercover buys. Some of the most common drug charges include:
If you find yourself under federal or state investigation or charged with possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances, you are being accused of owning or having control over a drug or controlled substance without a valid prescription. The following are some common drug and controlled substance possession crimes that our experienced drug possession attorney at Stracci Law Group defends:
- MDMA (ecstasy)
- Prescription drugs
- Synthetic drugs
You could also be charged for the possession of precursors, which are certain substances used to make illegal drugs like methamphetamine.
Dealing or Intent to Distribute
Depending on the drug amount, the manner in which it is packaged, or any other indication of intent to distribute or sell, the prosecutor can upgrade your drug charges to possession with intent to distribute (drug dealing). Federal or state drug dealing charges are serious offenses that carry greater penalties than drug or narcotics possession alone.
You can be charged with dealing or selling, or even just giving drugs to another person. Police investigate drug dealing charges with undercover officers and confidential informants who secretly recorded videos. But you can also be charged with possessing drugs with the intent to distribute based on how much you have, how it is packaged, and other circumstantial evidence.
Drug Manufacturing or Cultivation
Making or growing drugs can result in the same federal or state charges with the same penalties as Dealing or Possessing with Intent to Distribute. If you are charged with a drug manufacturing or cultivation crime, the prosecutor is alleging that you either grew or manufactured a drug or controlled substance with the intent to distribute, dispense, “deal” or deliver it to someone else.
Charges of drug manufacturing can also come with increased penalties for possessing drug precursors and other items used to make the substances, or even environmental contamination. The drug charge attorney team at Stracci Law Group has years of experience defending federal and state drug manufacturing and cultivation crimes.
Firearm Possession and Drug Trafficking
If you are federally indicted for possessing, brandishing, or discharging a firearm in the course of a drug trafficking crime under 18 U.S.C. §924(c), you face a mandatory minimum sentence that will be run consecutive to the underlying drug offense. Under the law, you can even be charged for legally purchased and registered firearms found in your home if it can be proven you possessed that firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime. If you are charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, contact the firearm and drug lawyer team at Stracci Law Group so we can put our experience to work for you.
Nobody loves a conspiracy like the federal government. The government is known for indicting vast, complex, multi-defendant drug conspiracies by alleging you and at least one other person agreed to work together to possess, manufacture, make, distribute, deal, sell, import, otherwise dispense drugs or controlled substances, and at least one of you took some sort of step to make that agreement a reality.
Because federal drug and controlled substance sentences are based on drug type and weight, a conspiracy charge brings additional concerns. Federal drug or controlled substance conspiracy charges allow the government to attribute the drug weight of the entire group to each defendant, individually. That means if an entire conspiracy’s drug weight is 20 kilos of cocaine but you only received 1 of those kilos, you might be sentenced on the entire amount of 20 kilos of cocaine.
When the government charges a drug conspiracy, it casts a wide net in an effort to bring in as many co-defendants as possible in hopes that some will cooperate or testify against others in an attempt to earn themselves a more lenient sentence.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) provides enhanced criminal penalties for those who engage in organized crime. It was originally intended to combat crime syndicates like the mafia, but the federal government now uses RICO to investigate and indict members of other organized groups, like street gangs, who distribute, deal, or manufacture drugs, commit a series of other crimes, or have a pattern of committing violent crimes.
To prosecute under RICO, the federal government must show that members of a criminal enterprise (a street gang) engaged in a pattern of racketeering (an ongoing scheme) to distribute drugs, rob or kidnap other drug dealers, or launder money, and that those actions had an effect on interstate commerce.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Common Nuisance
Under Indiana State law, simply possessing drug paraphernalia might result in a Class C misdemeanor, a drug-related offense punishable by a fine and no more than 60 days in jail. You could also be charged with maintaining common nuisance, a level 6 felony, for or visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor.
Prescription Drugs Fraud or Forgery
It is a federal controlled substance offense to knowingly and intentionally distribute a controlled substance other than in the standard practice and for a legitimate medical need. Likewise, it is a federal crime to attempt or conspire with others to violate this federal law.
It can take many forms, probably the most common or well-known form is a “pill mill” in which medical practitioners are accused of dealing controlled substances by means of writing prescriptions for pain medication or other opioids to persons who lack any legitimate medical need. Doctors, pharmacists, patients, and drug users, can all be charged with drug or controlled substance prescription fraud under federal or state law.
Interstate Drug Traffic Interdiction Stops
In Northwest Indiana, interstate drug traffic interdiction stops are used to identify and intercept drug trafficking on major highways, such as I-80 and I-94. Law enforcement officers may use various tactics, including drug-sniffing dogs and visual inspections, to search for drugs in vehicles. If drugs are found, the driver and any passengers may be subject to federal or state drug-related charges and penalties, which can be severe.
Punishments and Penalties for Northwest Indiana Drug Offenses
While state penalties for possessing or dealing drugs and controlled substance crimes are severe, they pale in comparison to the penalties you will face on a federal drug or controlled substance charge.
Both state and federal penalties for drug crimes in Northwest Indiana depend on factors like the type of drug involved, drug amount or total weight, proximity to a school or protected location, presence of children, whether a firearm was present, a person’s criminal history, and other circumstances surrounding the offense. But drug trafficking or distribution crimes are thought of as more serious offenses and result in more severe penalties, including much longer, and sometimes mandatory, prison terms.
Generally, state court felony-level drug crimes in Northwest Indiana are classified into five categories:
Level 6 Felony
The lowest level of felony applies to someone with a prior drug-related conviction who is in possession of over 30 grams of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish or salvia. The punishment for a Level 6 felony can include imprisonment for between six months and 2.5 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Level 5 Felony
A Level 5 felony involves possession of between 5 and 10 grams of methamphetamine, cocaine, or narcotic drugs. The punishment can include imprisonment for one to six years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Level 4 Felony
You can be charged with a Level 4 felony for possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, or narcotic drugs in an amount between 10 and 28 grams. A conviction could mean imprisonment for 2 to 12 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Level 3 Felony
Possession of at least 28 grams of methamphetamine, cocaine, or a narcotic drug could result in Level 3 felony charges. The consequences can include a prison sentence of 3 to 16 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
When comparing the consequences of state and federal drug and controlled substance crimes, sentences handed down by federal courts are considerably harsher. Federal drug and controlled substance offenses often carry a mandatory minimum sentence mandated by statute, ranging from 5 to 10 years of imprisonment, with the upper limit extending to life behind bars.
Sentences for federal drug and controlled substance violations are determined by statute and according to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, a set of non-binding rules used by all federal courts to calculate a guideline-based recommended sentence. The Guidelines base a recommended drug offense sentencing range on a variety of factors like the type of drug involved, prior drug convictions, drug weight, possession of a firearm, use of violence, and whether a building or structure was maintained for the purpose of manufacturing or distributing drugs. Drug weight is often what drives a recommended sentence because the greater the drug or controlled substance weight involved in the offense, the higher the suggested sentencing range.
It used to be that federal judges had to impose a sentence within the range dictated by the sentencing guidelines. But this is no longer the case. Now, federal judges have the discretion to take various factors into account and impose sentences below the guideline recommendation. These "below Guideline sentences" are often more aligned with an individual's personal history and characteristics, allowing for a more tailored approach to sentencing.
Types of Federally Regulated Drugs and Controlled Substances
Drugs and controlled substances are regulated by federal and state law, including the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). Under the CSA, regulated substances are assigned to one of five schedules based on medical use, the potential for abuse, and the likelihood of causing dependence.
Schedule I controlled substances are illegal drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse:
- MDMA (ecstasy)
Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, leading to severe physical and psychological dependence:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Methadone (Dolophine)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
- Fentanyl (Sublimaze, Duragesic)
Schedule III includes drugs with moderate to low potential for physical dependence but high potential for psychological dependence:
- Benzphetamine (Didrex)
- Anabolic steroids
Schedule IV controlled substances are drugs with a lower potential for abuse and a lower risk of dependence:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Carisoprodol (Soma)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
- Darvon, Darvocet, Talwin, Ambien, and Tramadol
Finally, Schedule V controlled substances are drugs with low potential for abuse and include medications with small amounts of certain narcotics:
- Cough preparations like Robitussin AC or Phenergan with Codeine
What to Expect After You Have Been Arrested for Drug Crimes
How you were arrested and what happens next depends on what sort of drug offense you were arrested for and what charges the prosecutor brings based on that arrest.
If the police pull you over and discover small quantities of drugs on you or in your car, your car will likely be towed, resulting in impound fees and a further search of your vehicle. You may be questioned by police about where you obtained the drugs. Once at the station, police may use deceptive or coercive techniques to get information from you. They may ask you to give the names and addresses of people who sell drugs. They may even promise that you will have no charges if you cooperate with them, for example, they might ask you to wear a hidden camera and buy drugs for them. They may even threaten to increase your charges if you don't cooperate.
If you choose to cooperate without seeking the advice of a lawyer, you might end up entangled with the police for years to come, buying more drugs from different people, giving depositions, and testifying in court. This decision will have significant and sometimes dangerous consequences for you and your family and should not be made until you understand all of your options. The Stracci Law Group drug and controlled substance defense legal team is ready to help you make the right decisions even before you have been formally charged.
If you are taken to jail for a drug arrest, you may be held in jail. Being stuck in jail is a significant disruption in your life, causing missed appointments, loss of wages, or even your job.
Getting out is vital to defending your case. It prevents another inmate from making false and damaging allegations against you for their own benefit. It also eliminates the risk that you or a well-meaning loved one says something damaging on the recorded jail telephone line. Remember: Never discuss your case over the phone or with another inmate while in custody.
Even in cases with strong evidence against you, getting out of jail gives us the chance to help you show the judge that you have turned your life around through counseling, education, and employment. It gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that you belong anywhere but in jail or prison, regardless of the case against you. Stracci Law Group has the knowledge, skill, and ability to advocate for your release or some other alternative to staying in jail, like home detention or GPS monitoring.
Without a strong advocate on your side to help you fight a drug or controlled substance arrest or charge, you may end up entangled with the police for years to come or end up with extended jail or prison time. Whether your case is drug possession, dealing, or distribution, all drug or controlled substance charges require a thorough, detailed, and aggressive criminal defense.
Potential Defenses to Drug Charges in Crown Point, IN
There are several potential defenses to drug charges in Crown Point, IN, that can be used to fight against criminal charges and, potentially, have them reduced or dismissed. Here are some common defenses:
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: If the police obtained evidence against you through an illegal search and seizure, like a warrantless search or search without probable cause, the evidence may be inadmissible in court;
- Lack of Possession or Knowledge: If you were not aware that you had drugs in your possession, you may be able to argue you were not guilty of drug possession;
- Entrapment: If the police coerced or induced you to commit a drug crime that you would not have ordinarily committed, you may be able to argue that you were entrapped;
- Insufficient Evidence: If the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove that you committed the drug crime beyond a reasonable doubt, you may be able to argue that there is insufficient evidence to convict you;
- Mistaken Identity: If you were mistakenly identified as the person who committed the drug crime, you may be able to argue that you were not the person involved.
It is highly recommended to seek legal advice from a qualified drug crime lawyer in Crown Point, IN, who will assess your criminal case and determine the best defense strategy for your situation.
Why Choose Our State and Federal Drug Crime Lawyers in NWI?
At Stracci Law Group, drug crimes like those mentioned above are what we do. From misdemeanors to felonies to large-scale trafficking, we are experienced in defending both federal and state offenses, and work hard to try to obtain the best possible result for each and every client who walks into our office.
When you hire Stracci Law Group, you hire a team of seasoned criminal defense lawyers who are proud of our track record of defending federal and state drug and controlled substance crimes as well as our drug crimes sentencing advocacy.
Schedule a Consultation with a Crown Point, IN, Drug Lawyer
If you are currently being investigated, have been charged with an illegal drug or controlled substance possession or trafficking crime, or any federal drug crime, contact a Crown Point drug defense attorney. The team of criminal defense attorneys at Stracci Law Group is experienced in defending all varieties of state and federal drug crimes and will work hard to defend your case.
Consult a Northwest Indiana Drug Charges Lawyer
Let Stracci Law Group fight for your rights and defend you against drug charges. Schedule a consultation today with an experienced Crown Point criminal defense attorney.
Schedule a Consultation with a Northwest Indiana Drug or Controlled Substance Attorney
The Stracci Law Group is uniquely qualified to help you if you have been arrested for a drug offense. We offer comprehensive and confidential consultations, and we want you to feel confident that we are the best choice to defend your legal rights. To discuss your drug conviction case with the Stracci Law Group, contact us online or by phone today.