Representing Individuals Facing Drug Charges
Drug crimes include several offenses, including possession of drugs for personal use or sale, possession of drug paraphernalia, cultivation of marijuana, transporting drugs for sale, being under the influence of drugs, and more. The sentences for drug crimes can vary wildly, from court-mandated rehabilitation to life in prison, depending on the severity of the offense.
Types of Drug Crimes in Connecticut
At The Sills Law Firm, we have 20+ years of combined experience in the legal field, and can effectively fight the drug charges that have been brought against you. The fact of the matter is that law enforcement officials are prone to making mistakes and outright breaking the law in order to conduct a drug investigation and make an arrest.
Our Connecticut drug charge lawyers will thoroughly investigate the details of your case, determine if any statements or physical evidence are inadmissible if warrants used were valid, and if you were stopped and searched illegally. By conducting a detailed review of the circumstances, we have been able to help numerous clients have their charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Have you been charged with one of the following drug crimes?
- Possession with intent to sell or distribute
Penalties for Drug Crimes in Connecticut
The state of Connecticut takes drug crimes very seriously and imposes severe penalties for convictions. From the mere act of possession to sale or intent to sell, many drug crimes are considered felonies. In addition to this, if you were charged with possession or sale in a school zone, you could be facing mandatory jail time. With the potential of time in jail or prison, costly fines, probationary restrictions, and a permanent record at stake, it is absolutely crucial to retain the services of experienced Connecticut drug crime lawyers to handle your case.
Common Defenses for Drug Charges in Connecticut
A criminal defense lawyer will be able to determine the best arguments for your defense. The following strategies are common defenses for drug-related cases.
THE 4TH AMENDMENT
The 4th Amendment is constitutional protection from unlawful search and seizure of your belongings, including your home and vehicle. You have the right to refuse your consent to a search of your person, vehicle, or residence. With probable cause, the officer may still be able to search you or your vehicle, but withholding consent protects you from incriminating yourself. Additionally, you will want to exercise your right to remain silent as well.
If you have refused to consent to a search, your attorney may argue that any evidence seized during a search was unlawfully obtained, and cannot be used in a case against you. The laws surrounding search and seizure are complex, however, and a skilled criminal lawyer can help interpret them.
OWNERSHIP OF THE DRUGS
An experienced attorney may also require prosecutors to prove that the evidence found actually belonged to the accused, rather than another driver of the vehicle or a passenger in the car.
Connecticut legalized medical marijuana in 2012. It may be enough to clear the charges if you are able to show a clear, convincing medical need. Connecticut requires medical marijuana users to register with the state, so it is worth seeking out a proper diagnosis and recommendation from your physician. This defense is not a possible defense in federal court, as federal law does not allow any type of legal marijuana use.
Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials set up a suspect to commit a crime they might not have otherwise committed, such as pressuring them to pass drugs to a third party. If the state provided the drugs used for the operation, it is frequently considered entrapment.
PRODUCING THE EVIDENCE
Often, with drug-related evidence, it will go through several transfers before ending up in an evidence locker. Your lawyer may push the prosecuting attorney to produce the evidence in court. If the drugs are lost or misplaced and are unable to be produced, the case might be thrown out.
CRIME LAB ANALYSIS
Your lawyer may ask that the prosecutor have the evidence subjected to a thorough analysis by a crime lab to prove that it is actually what the prosecutor says it is. This can cause delays as the analysis is processed, and will require the lab analyst to come to court to testify.
Case Histories for Connecticut Drug Cases
If you have previously been convicted of drug possession in Connecticut, then you may be considered a persistent or habitual offender. Under Connecticut law, if you have two previous convictions for drug possession, the prosecution may charge you as a persistent offender for a third offense. As a result, the potential sentence for drug possession increases from up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000 to up to 3 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $3,500 (the equivalent of a Class E felony sentence).
To be considered a prior conviction under this statute, each conviction must have been for separate, independent offenses that were disposed of in separate criminal proceedings. In other words, if you were convicted on multiple drug charges related to a single incident, then it would only be considered one conviction for the purposes of this law.
A persistent offender charge is not considered a separate criminal offense. Instead, being charged as a persistent offender means that a defendant may be subjected to enhanced penalties. These charges are handled in two phases:
- The defendant must plead or be found guilty of the drug offense; and
- The court must determine, by clear and convincing evidence, whether the standards for a persistent offender sentence enhancement have been met.
If you have been charged as a persistent offender, a skilled Connecticut criminal defense lawyer will aggressively advocate for a favorable outcome in the underlying case. If you are convicted or plead guilty to the charge, they may be able to argue that your criminal history does not meet the statutory requirements to be subjected to persistent offender penalties.
How Case Histories Can Affect Your Connecticut Drug Case
Now and then Connecticut Drug Defense Attorneys are asked to recount some of their war stories. We are asked to share some stories of cases that we have worked on that were either particularly unusual or looked like the person was doomed, but we were able to achieve a great result.
Helping a Client Get His Life Back after a Long History of Drug Use
I had a client once who was arrested, and he had a history of selling drugs and using drugs. He was arrested with over 70 bags of heroin on him. At the end of it, we were able to get him out of the case with only a possession charge, and with no jail time. As crazy as it sounds, the 70 bags were actually all for personal use. The state’s attorney initially had a hard time believing this, but eventually came around.
He is one of the people that I look back on. He is somebody that really feels like you made a difference because he got into a program to receive treatment. He had stellar reports from his program. He started working. He just really did everything right.
The fact that I have not heard from him in many many years means he is still on the correct path. I do not think I will ever hear from him again. And for that I am grateful.
Drug Treatment Only Helps People Who Want to Help Themselves
For the most part, if you get someone who is facing something serious and it becomes a wake-up call for them, and they could show a track record of doing everything right, generally those people prevail. It is the people who jump right back into doing the same thing the very next day, or cannot kick the habit or do not show any effort to kick the habit, that we are not able to help.
Especially with possession cases, and even for possession with intent to sell, or sale cases, if you can show to the court that your client is trying to make strides in doing everything that they can to change the course of his life, often we can do great things for those people.
An Arrest by Warrant Case
The unusual cases tend to be when there are arrests by warrant, and you have confidential informants involved and you have a video of all that transpired. You are actually looking at what is going on, and what’s happening on the street.
I remember I represented one client that was arrested as part of a raid. The police break-in. They have their guns pulled. It’s the SWAT Team. Everyone is down on the ground, guns pointed at them. All of this is on videotape as well.
That was a case where the evidence was built from the ground up and they had the individual dead to rights before they even entered his house. That case really just became about mitigating the amount of jail time that he would do.
Fighting for You Through Negotiations or in Court
Even the most minor drug conviction on your criminal record can have a long-lasting impact on your ability to find employment, obtain government assistance, get into schools, and more. Our team of Connecticut drug crime defence attorneys is well-aware of the potential consequences. Whether through negotiations or in a court of law, we will do everything in our power to fight for the outcome you need.