Possession or trafficking of cocaine are major crimes in the United States, with strictly enforced repercussions. The United States government spends billions of dollars every year trying to crack down on drug crimes and incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. Despite your personal opinion on the success of the war on drugs, it can still affect your life if you choose to sell or use illegal drugs, especially highly addictive drugs such as cocaine.
Punishment for trafficking of cocaine can equal life imprisonment, while a first possession charge can still land you a year in jail and cost you thousands of dollars. These penalties can be harsh, especially when you consider that they are for people who are struggling with addiction.
If you are arrested for possession or trafficking of cocaine, the most important thing you can do is stay calm and contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Unfortunately, because the government is so dead-set on stopping drug crimes, law enforcement may not always be relied upon to conduct fair investigations, and harmful assumptions about your case can go unchecked all the way through the courtroom without the help of a knowledgeable drug crime defense lawyer.
It’s not an insult to your intelligence or capabilities to say that you are not able to defend your rights as well as a lawyer can. A lawyer who has experience with drug crime defense knows the tricks law enforcement uses, as well as their shortcuts. They have seen people get taken advantage of before, and they know how to ensure that that doesn’t happen to you. Namely, your lawyer will be paying attention to whether law enforcement pushed the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment (making sure they didn’t break search and seizure laws).
In many cases, law enforcement unlawfully searches a suspect’s home or property, which gives the defense a case for lessening the sentence or overthrowing the case entirely. According to Bruno Law Offices, the four main cocaine charge defenses are:
- This is when law enforcement entices a person to commit a crime that they would likely not have committed otherwise.
- Drugs Belong to Someone Else
- Sometimes, the wrong person is arrested for a crime, especially when there are many people involved.
- Unlawful Search and Seizure
- Law enforcement officers have to abide by the rules outlined in the Fourth Amendment regarding search and seizure of property.
- Missing Drugs
- Law enforcement has to be able to present the drugs that the suspect is accused of possessing or trafficking. If they can’t, they may not have a case.
Drug defense lawyers are important to making sure everyone who is accused of a drug-related crime is both fairly heard in court and fairly sentenced if they’re convicted.