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Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Crimes
Q: What are the common legal challenges raised in drug cases?
A: The most common challenges in drug cases relate to how the evidence was obtained. If the police violated the defendant's Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights or Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, the court will suppress the drugs or statements as being unlawfully obtained. Without this evidence, the prosecution may not be able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and the case may be dismissed as a result.
Q: How is drug court different from regular criminal court?
A: Drug courts combine criminal justice and medical treatment models to deal with drug crimes. They recognize that incarceration may not be the most effective method for breaking the cycle of drug addiction and crime, especially for first-time and low-level offenders. Drug courts emphasize a cooperative approach between the prosecutor, defendant and court, and they favor rehabilitation over jail. Successful completion of drug court programs can result in reduced charges or sentences, or dismissal of charges altogether.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports estimated that in 2002 there were a total of 1,538,800 state and local arrests for drug violations in the United States. If you are one of the many facing drug charges this year, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel at once.
Drug Offenses Information Center
Call Ray Taylor at (210) 807-9916 to arrange a free initial in-office consultation and case analysis. Remember, the key to successful representation is the earliest possible intervention. Ask for a lawyer immediately and then remain silent.
State or federal drug offense charges carry significant penalties. If convicted, you may face serious prison time, fines, forfeiture and other consequences. At the San Antonio, Texas, Law Offices of Ray Taylor & Associates, P.C., we defend clients charged with any serious drug offense. Not all criminal defense attorneys are the same. If you are facing serious drug charges, contact a lawyer with many years of experience and certification in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Call our San Antonio firm at (210) 807-9916 to arrange a free initial consultation and case analysis.
Drug Crimes - An Overview
Drug crimes cover a broad range of offenses involving controlled substances, from possession and sale to manufacture and distribution. These crimes involve violations of federal or state law, or both. Depending on the particular circumstances of a case, these offenses can result in a broad range of potential criminal and administrative consequences, including probation, prison, property forfeiture and participation in a court-ordered drug treatment program.
Though more severe charges typically result in harsher penalties, even less serious charges, such as possession of a small amount of a controlled substance, may have severe consequences, especially if the defendant has prior convictions, used a firearm in the commission of the crime, engaged in criminal activity near a protected zone (such as a school or park) or involved minors in the crime. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact Law Offices of Ray Taylor & Associates, P.C. in San Antonio, Texas, today to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options.
Federal Drug Crimes
The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, also known as the Controlled Substances Act, classifies narcotics, marijuana and other drugs into five categories, or Schedules. Besides establishing requirements relating to manufacture and distribution of drugs, the law also defines penalties for violations of the Act. Depending on the nature and quantity of the substance involved, as well as the presence of sentence-enhancing factors, the criminal penalties can be severe.
Searches and Seizures in Drug Cases
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Particularly in drug cases, the legality of how law enforcement officials obtained the evidence used to support the State's case is a central and often-challenged issue. If the government's conduct violated the Fourth Amendment, the evidence is deemed inadmissible. Without the necessary evidence to prove the criminal charges, the State may have to dismiss its case against a defendant.
Criminal and Civil Forfeiture
Forfeiture is the government seizure of property connected to illegal activity. Utilized by the federal and state law enforcement in the ongoing "war on drugs," the practice has not been without controversy. Law enforcement has asserted that it is a necessary and effective deterrent to drug crime, while opponents argue that existing procedural safeguards result in too many innocent parties having their property taken away, with little or no recourse for recovery.
Alternatives to Incarceration in Drug Cases
Since the late 1980s, there has been a dramatic shift in the American justice system's approach to drug crimes. Drug courts, which operate or are being planned in all 50 states, offer an alternative to traditional incarceration. By providing a structure that emphasizes substance abuse treatment and on-going supervision, drug courts aim to rehabilitate and reduce repeat offenses.