Being convicted of a drug crime is no small thing. The resulting penalties can leave you facing jail or prison, serious fines, a damaged reputation and a mar on your record that can haunt you for years, if not decades. In hopes of obtaining these convictions, prosecutors often rely on evidence gathered by law enforcement officials during a search. Although this evidence may seem damning, if it is not gathered in accordance with the law, then it may be suppressed at trial, meaning that the prosecution may be disallowed from using it against you.
Although many states are relaxing their drug laws, there is no doubt that the war on drugs wages on. As a result, many individuals have found themselves facing serious drug charges in the wake of aggressive investigations that seek to stem the distribution, possession and use of illegal narcotics. For these accused individuals, a criminal conviction can all but ruin their lives. They may face jail, prison, large fines and a marred record that renders living a normal life extremely difficult. If convicted of a drug crime, these individuals may even struggle to secure housing and employment.
When New Yorkers think of drug crimes, they probably think of drug possession and drug distribution. Although these are perhaps amongst the most common and most serious of drug offenses, there are a whole host of other drug=related laws that can leave an individual facing the potentiality of serious penalties should he or she be convicted.
We've all heard the phrase "guilty by association." Fortunately, this phrase often doesn't hold much water in the legal world, as prosecutors oftentimes have to prove that the defendant him or herself committed the crime for which he or she has been charged. Yet, when it comes to drug crimes, New York's aggressive laws spell out some situations where an individual may be guilty of a crime even when he or she did nothing wrong.
A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed drug diversion programs and how they can pose a legitimate option to those who are facing serious criminal charges. These programs, if successfully completed, may allow an accused individual to avoid the harshest of penalties if they were to otherwise fight the charges and lose. Yet, despite the benefits a drug diversion program can bring to the table, it isn't right for everyone. In many drug cases, diversion programs aren't offered and, even when they are, a criminal defendant may not feel like he or she should have to do anything other than prove their innocence.
Although many states are relaxing their laws as they pertain to marijuana possession, the war on drugs wages on. Both state and federal prosecutors still aggressively pursue those who they believe have broken the law, which can leave innocent individuals facing the potential for serious penalties, including extensive prison sentences and financially ruinous fines. However, depending on the facts of the case, certain criminal defense options may be available. Sometimes an individual may be able to suppress evidence and obtain an acquittal, but this isn't always a possibility.
Law enforcement in Rochester and throughout New York are invested in trying to stop drug crimes from taking place and making arrests when they do. Part of this is moving forward with large-scale investigations regarding drug crimes. This can vary from lower level drug sale to higher level possession with intent to distribute. Those who are caught up in and arrested as part of a drug investigation need to make certain that they protect themselves with a legal professional experienced in defending clients for drug crimes.
Arrests for drug crimes in New York are not necessarily limited to people accused of being high-level drug dealers or distributors. These are the stories that frequently pop up in the news, but are only a percentage of the drug arrests that take place across the state.
Although there is ongoing debate regarding the sale of marijuana and whether it should be legalized or not, people often forget that the drug is still illegal in New York State. With that, it is still possible to be arrested on drug charges related to being involved with it. Often drug arrests lead to charges for other allegations. For those who are arrested for drug crimes related to marijuana, it is important to remember that lodging a strong defense can make the difference between a conviction and the accompanying penalties and a plea bargain or an acquittal.
For many years, New York drug laws were some of the toughest laws in the country. Fortunately, drug crime penalties are continuing to undergo a series of reforms. If you are facing drug possession charges in New York, it is important for you to know what you may be facing.