Since the “War on Drugs” began several decades ago, criminal laws relating to drugs have steadily been strengthened across the country, as have the penalties for violating those laws. If you were recently arrested and charged with violating one of Nebraska’s controlled substance laws, you could be facing a number of serious judicial penalties and non-judicial consequences if convicted. The most important step to take after being charged with any criminal offense is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. In addition, you probably have several questions about your situation and the possible outcomes. Because every criminal prosecution is unique, specific questions relating to your case should be directed to your attorney; however, an Omaha drug defense attorney has offered to provide some general information you may find beneficial by answering the top five most frequently asked questions.
- The drugs weren’t discovered on my person so I can’t be convicted, right? This is a very common scenario. For example, imagine you are the passenger in a vehicle that is the subject of a routine traffic stop. Ultimately, the police search the vehicle and find a bag of cocaine under the passenger seat. They charge both the driver of the vehicle and you with possession of a controlled substance. The prosecutor will use a constructive possession argument to try and secure a conviction. Construction possession is a term that applies when someone does not have actual, physical possession of an item. To prove constructive possession, the prosecutor must convince the judge or jury that the defendant had “the intent to maintain dominion and control over the contraband.”
- I have a prescription so how can they charge me with a crime? Prescription drugs are now a significant percentage of the drug problem in the United States. Having a valid prescription may be a defense if you are charged with possession of a controlled substance; however, several factors could affect that defense. For example, if the substance you had in your possession wasn’t the same dosage, or you had more than you should have had, the prosecutor may still have a case. You could also be charged with delivering or distributing a controlled substance if you gave any of your prescription drugs to another person for any
- I was charged with dealing but can’t I say the drugs were for my own personal use? The line between dealing and possession can be blurry if the State is basing a dealing (distribution) charge solely on the quantity of drugs involved. Usually, there is additional evidence of dealing, such as the drugs packaged to sell, scales, packing supplies, records of sales, or a large amount of cash. If none of that additional evidence was located, claiming the drugs were for personal use might work as a defense.
- The police didn’t have a warrant to search my car/house so can you get the charges thrown out? The warrant requirement for a vehicle is much laxer than for a home, meaning the police likely did not need a warrant to search your vehicle. If the warrantless search was conducted at your home, it may have been illegal if none of the limited exceptions to the warrant requirement apply. If the search was, indeed, illegal, your attorney may be able to get all evidence seized during the search excluded from trial which may effectively result in the State dropping the charges against you.
- My charge is a misdemeanor. Why not just take the probation only plea agreement to save time and money? There are two reasons not to jump on a plea agreement. First, although you may not be facing jail time, the non-judicial ramifications of a drug related conviction will haunt you for the rest of your life. The money you save now by not launching a defense may pale in comparison to the money you will lose because of lost job opportunities over the course of your lifetime. Second, you may have a defense that could prevent a conviction altogether; however, you won’t know unless you consult with an experienced drug defense attorney.
Contact an Omaha Drug Defense Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with a drug related criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Omaha drug defense attorney right away to discuss possible defenses. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.