If you or a loved one has been arrested for a drug offense, the uncertainty can be overwhelming. Maybe you were stopped on the interstate because your car was “riding low.” Or, maybe, you are faced with police at your door asking about a package you sent or received with pills, marijuana, or other drugs. In any case, you may find yourself asking:
- Will I be charged with a felony?
- Why was I charged with dealing?
- How do I get my money or property back?
- What will happen to me because of these charges?
- Will I have to go to prison?
Every drug case is different, and they all require an attorney with the experience and skill to dig in and obtain the best possible outcome for you. The Stracci Law Group has successfully handled hundreds of drug cases ranging from simple misdemeanor possession to major felony dealing. Whether you were pulled over with pills in your car, caught shipping or receiving marijuana through the mail, or secretly filmed by an informant, we know how to dissect the case against you and protect you from poor investigations, unconstitutional stops, and illegal searches. We aggressively challenge such over-zealous practices as “interdiction” stops, warrantless searches obtained with coercive or deceptive techniques, cell phone tracing/tracking, and using unsavory confidential informants to make undercover buys.
Understanding the Charges Against You
If you have been arrested for a drug offense, you may not know exactly what that offense is until after the fact. The most important question is whether you will be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor charges can have serious consequences, but felony charges could result in forfeiture of your property and years or decades behind bars. Some of the most common drug charges include:
- Possession of drugs or paraphernalia and visiting or maintaining a common nuisance
- Dealing drugs or possession with intent to distribute
- Drug manufacturing or cultivation
- Obtaining prescription drugs by fraud or forgery
These charges can be enhanced from misdemeanors to felonies or to even higher level felonies in certain circumstances such as:
- Large amounts of the drug
- Possessing a firearm
- Manufacturing the drug
- Being within so many feet of a school, park, or youth center; and
- If children are present or involved
Learn more about the charges against you:
- Possession of Drugs or Paraphernalia and Common Nuisances: Simply possessing a drug or a device to use a drug, or being where others are using drugs, usually results in misdemeanor charges punishable by a fine and no more than one year in jail. But sometimes, after you are arrested, you are suddenly charged with a felony.
- Dealing or Intent to Distribute: You can be charged with dealing for selling, or even just giving drugs to another person. Usually, police will investigate these charges with confidential informants, undercover officers, and secretly recorded videos. However, you can also be charged with possessing drugs with the intent to distribute them based on how much you have, how it is packaged, and even how much money you have in your pocket. Most charges of dealing or possession with intent to distribute are felonies punishable by up to 6 years in prison. But, under certain “enhancing circumstances,” dealing or possession with intent to distribute can be punished by up to 30 years in prison.
- Drug Manufacturing or Cultivation: Making or growing drugs can result in the same charges, with the same penalties, as Dealing or Possessing with Intent to Distribute. In some circumstances, you might even end up with higher felony charges because you made or packaged the drugs. But charges of drug manufacturing can also come with additional felony charges for possessing the items to make the drugs, what are called precursors, and even felony charges for environmental contamination!
- Prescription Fraud or Forgery: While possessing a few prescription pills without a prescription is usually a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine and up to one year in jail, obtaining those pills with a fake prescription or someone else’s prescription can result in felony charges punishable by up to 6 years in prison.
What to Expect After You Have Been Arrested for a Drug Offense
How you were arrested and what happens next depends on what sort of drug offense you were arrested for and what the prosecutor charges based on that arrest. If the police pulled you over and discovered small quantities of drugs on you or in your car, your car will likely be towed, resulting in impoundment fees and a further search of your vehicle. You may be questioned by police about where you obtained the drugs and whether you used the drugs before driving. If police accused you of using drugs before or while driving the car, learn more about Operating a Vehicle with a Controlled Substance here.
Once at the station, the police may use deceptive or coercive techniques to get you to cooperate against other people. They may ask you to give 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, and agree to wear a hidden camera and buy drugs for them. They may even threaten to increase your charges if you don’t cooperate. But if you choose to cooperate, 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 in the case. The Stracci Law Group team has the experience 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 on a bond that is simply too expensive for your family to post. Being stuck in jail is a significant disruption in your life, causing missed appointments, loss of wages or even your job, and financial and emotional hardships to your family. Bonding out is vital to defending your case. It eliminates the risk of an unscrupulous inmate reading your police reports and then making false and damaging allegations against you for his own benefit. It 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, being out on bond gives us the chance to help you show the judge that you have turned your life around through counseling, education, and employment. Even in felony cases, bonding out 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 quickly press for you to get an affordable bond or some other alternative to staying in jail, such as GPS monitoring or home detention.
Without a strong advocate on your side, you may end up with unnecessary jail or prison time, costly counseling classes, ‘interdiction fees,” and even the loss of your driving privileges as the result of a drug arrest. You might end up entangled with the police for years to come, or held in jail at a high bail for several days, only to get out and discover your property has been seized for “forfeiture.” Whether your case is simple possession or felony dealing, all drug cases require a thorough, detailed, and aggressive defense.
Schedule a Free, Thorough Consultation About Your Northwest Indiana Drug or Controlled Substance Case
The Stracci Law Group is uniquely qualified to help you if you have been arrested for a drug offense. Paul Stracci has spent his entire career defending people facing drug cases, from simple possession to high-profile dealing. His assembled team includes two former deputy prosecutors who were both former members of the drug prosecution unit. If you have been arrested for a drug offense in Northwest Indiana, we invite you to contact us to learn more about your case. We offer free, comprehensive, and confidential consultations, and we want you to feel confident that we are the best choice to defend your legal rights. Drug offenses carry significant and serious consequences for you and your family. To discuss your case with the Stracci Law Group, please contact us today at (219) 525-1000.