Kansas drug laws subject offenders to some of the most severe consequences in the country. Being arrested for possessing illegal drugs can result in heavy fines, jail time, and a criminal record. When you sit down with a drug defense attorney in Johnson County, KS, you will be shown why pleading guilty is not your only option. If you choose to fight the charges, your lawyer can work to build a strong defense case, despite the evidence against you.
How Do You Build a Solid Defense for Drug Crimes?
The criminal justice system is set up to pressure individuals accused of drug crimes into a guilty plea. You may be told that there is ample evidence against you and that you can avoid the worst consequences by affirming the state’s allegations. However, a drug crime lawyer can often overcome those allegations by discrediting the state’s case and suppressing evidence.
When building a solid defense in a drug crimes case, it is essential to address the charges quickly before your opportunity to plead innocent expires. A drug defense case can often be successfully argued by:
- Demonstrating that the evidence was obtained illegally
- Showing that the drug test results could be inaccurate
- Proving that police violated protocols
- Arguing that you did not commit any illegal actions
What Is a Drug Crime?
Any substance that has a physiological effect on the body is considered a drug. While some substances like caffeine and aspirin are socially accepted in our culture, other drugs like heroin and cocaine are considered highly dangerous. The drugs that are associated with heavy fines and prison time are called CDSs (controlled dangerous substances.) The illegal possession of any CDS, with or without the intent to distribute, is a crime.
Kansas categorizes CDSs according to their addictive qualities, the likelihood that users will abuse them, and their approved medical uses. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous, being highly addictive and having no approved medical uses. At the other end of the spectrum, Schedule V drugs are most often used in a medicinal context and are not often abused.
Schedule I and Schedule II Drugs
Some of the more dangerous drugs on the list of CDSs in Kansas are:
- Magic mushrooms
- Other opiates
Schedule III, IV, and V Drugs
Schedule III, IV, and V drugs include many substances used to treat medical issues and include commonly prescribed medications. Nevertheless, they are regulated due to concerns about their addictive properties or potential side effects. Some examples of Schedule III, IV, and V drugs are:
- Anabolic steroids
- Products containing a small amount of codeine
Classification of Drug Crimes in Kansas
In Kansas, possession of any amount of marijuana without the intent to distribute is a misdemeanor, as is the illegal procession of any Schedule V CDS. Offenders can be convicted of a Class D felony if they are found in possession of any opiates, narcotics, or stimulants from Schedule II. Possession of other drugs listed in Schedules I-IV can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the type of substance and the number of prior convictions.
The Evidence Was Illegally Obtained
The court cannot consider the prosecution’s evidence against you if your lawyer can show that the authorities broke the law when they conducted their search. Therefore, you may be able to build your case around an argument that the police did not have a warrant to search you, your home, or your car. Even if you consented to the search, your lawyer may be able to show that the police used coercive tactics to gain your permission.
You Were Not Treated According to Correct Protocols
If the police held you in custody for more than the allowed amount of time, your case could be thrown out on the grounds that you were not treated in accordance with the law. Additionally, if you were pulled over illegally, your lawyer might be able to get your case dismissed. The police can only pull over a car under certain conditions. For example, if a car is weaving, the driver can only be stopped if he or she crosses a white or yellow line.
Another way in which police often violate protocol is by questioning an individual without first reading his or her Miranda rights. Exercising your right to remain silent until you can speak with a lawyer is always advisable in a drug arrest. If you answered the officers’ questions because you were not made fully aware of your Miranda rights, you have grounds to argue against the validity of the state’s case.
You Were the Victim of Entrapment
Entrapment is an illegal strategy that police sometimes use to arrest individuals or obtain evidence in association with drug crimes. Officers are guilty of entrapment when they persuade individuals to commit crimes they would not have engaged in otherwise.
The Drugs Were Not Handled Correctly
In addition to protocols regulating how people must be treated during searches and arrests, there are legal guidelines pertaining to how any confiscated drugs must be handled. In some cases, a defense lawyer is able to show that the police violated these protocols, allowing the confiscated substances to become contaminated or mislabeled.
There Were Problems With the Drug Test You Were Given
If you took a drug test at the time of the arrest, your lawyer might be able to call the results into question. A conviction is less likely if your lawyer can show the possibility that there was a manufacturing problem with the test or that the authorities who administered it did so incorrectly. In addition to following the test’s instructions carefully, officers must do the administration within a limited time frame following the arrest.
Other defense strategies focus on demonstrating that you did not actually break any laws. In order to be convicted of possession, the prosecution needs to show that you knowingly had the drugs. In some cases, the defense lawyer is able to prove that the drugs belonged to someone else who hid them among your belongings.
Similarly, if you can provide evidence that the drugs were prescribed to you for an approved medical use, you can show that your possession of the CDS was legal. This strategy is only available in cases involving drugs in Schedule II, III, IV and V that have approved medical uses.
Obtaining a Lighter Sentence
Sometimes, the best defense strategy is to minimize the penalties for conviction. In drug cases, a range of sentencing options is available to the court when the defendant is found guilty. Even if you are not able to prove your innocence, your lawyer may be able to help you reduce or avoid jail time.
Build Your Strategy With a Drug Defense Attorney in Johnson County, KS
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Kansas, having a solid defense strategy is the only way to overcome the state’s case against you. The criminal justice system is not intuitive, and it pays to have an experienced attorney who can help you consider the advantages of pleading not guilty according to the defense strategies you have available. To speak with a drug defense attorney in Johnson County, KS, contact Billam & Henderson, LLC.