If you find yourself to be the defendant in a prosecution for dealing a controlled substance, you are likely more than a little concerned about the outcome of your case. Just as with almost any offense, there is more than one possible defense tactic you might decide to use to avoid a conviction. An experienced Nebraska I-80 drug stop lawyer explains how challenges the “dealing” element of the charges against you may be an excellent option.
Nebraska Controlled Substance Statute
Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 28-416 governs most offenses involving controlled substances, reading as follows:
Except as authorized by the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally: (a) To manufacture, distribute, deliver, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, deliver, or dispense a controlled substance; or (b) to create, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute a counterfeit controlled substance.
One of the first things you might notice when reading through the governing statute is that the word “dealing” doesn’t appear anywhere. That does not mean that it isn’t illegal, just that the law uses words such as “distribute” and “deliver” to refer to what we usually think of as “dealing.” For the purpose of the above statute, the word distribute means “to deliver other than by administering or dispensing a controlled substance” while the term deliver means “the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship.
What Does the State Have to Prove?
In any criminal prosecution, the State has the burden of proving a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Exactly how the State goes about proving that a defendant was “dealing” will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the arrest. Among the most common strategies and evidence used by the state to prove that a defendant was dealing are:
- Undercover buys — this is typically the most difficult to refute because it involves an actual controlled buy by an undercover law enforcement officer which was probably also recorded on audio and/or video. In rare cases, you may be able to use entrapment as a defense; however, entrapment is much more difficult to prove than most people think.
- Confidential informant – this also involves the sale of drugs, but to a civilian. That civilian is typically someone who has been arrested himself/herself and is trying to get out of trouble by arranging the purchase of a much larger quantity of drugs from you. Questioning the reliability and motive of a CI is always a defense option – and one that often works well considering the circumstances.
- Drugs found pursuant to a search – challenging the legality of the search may be a defense option. Depending on the quantity seized, you may also be able to make the argument that the drugs were for personal use, not for distribution. For that defense to work, it is certainly helpful if no additional “tools of the trade” were recovered during the search and if you can prove that you had the financial means to purchase such a quantity of drugs for your own personal use.
- Tools of the trade found in a search – this may refer to things such as scales, lab equipment, baggies, substances to “cut” the drugs, and anything else known to be used in the drug trade. Most of these items also have perfectly legitimate uses which may be argued as part of your defense. Baggies, for example, are legitimately used to store a myriad of items, including food.
- Records – written records of transactions and/or money owed for sales of a controlled substance can be very damning if they are fairly clear. The best way to handle this type of evidence is to try and get it excluded, if possible.
Contact a Nebraska I-80 Drug Stop Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with dealing in the State of Nebraska, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska I-80drug stop lawyer immediately about the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Contact a Nebraska criminal defense attorney at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case.