The state of Kansas takes drug charges very seriously. As a result, people facing drug charges are unlikely to find prosecutors or judges willing to treat them leniently.
Drug charges require a skilled and aggressive defense attorney. If convicted, a person faces severe consequences in addition to jail, probation, and a fine. Someone with a drug conviction might have trouble getting employment, housing, educational opportunities, and credit. In addition, a parent with a drug offense is disadvantaged in child custody matters.
A Lawrence drug lawyer has extensive experience defending individuals facing drug charges. They could review the circumstances of your arrest, scrutinize the evidence against you, and prepare a defense that leads to the best outcome possible.
Marijuana Remains Illegal in Lawrence
Although many states have decriminalized marijuana to some degree, Kansas has not. Possession of any quantity of marijuana remains a crime in this state.
When someone is accused of possessing less than 25 grams of marijuana, they likely face a Class B misdemeanor charge leading to up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offender. However, a skilled Lawrence drug attorney could negotiate a sentence that avoids jail time in some cases.
Possession of larger quantities of marijuana or possession of a small quantity with evidence of an intent to distribute will result in felony charges. For example, possessing less than 25 grams with intent to distribute could mean a level 4 felony drug charge with penalties of 14-51 months in prison and a fine of up to $300,000. A person possessing between 450 grams and 30 kilos of marijuana faces a level 2 felony charge, a prison sentence of 92-204 months, and a fine of up to $500,000.
Crimes Related to Other Controlled Substances
According to Kansas Statutes § 21-5706, possessing or distributing controlled substances other than marijuana is a more serious crime. Sentences depend on factors such as the quantity of the substance and an accused’s criminal record, if any.
For common street drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, possessing even small amounts for personal use could be a level 5 felony. Penalties could include 10-42 months in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, and probation, including mandatory drug treatment.
Possessing up to 3.5 grams of heroin or methamphetamine or up to 100 grams of cocaine is a level 3 drug felony and could lead to 46-83 months in prison and a $300,000 fine. In addition, a conviction could carry mandatory registration as a drug offender. Possessing larger amounts for distribution leads to even harsher penalties. A knowledgeable drug lawyer in Lawrence could explain the possible sentence in a specific case.
Defenses to Drug Crimes
Prosecutors often put significant pressure on people accused of drug crimes to plead guilty, especially when the accused has prior convictions. Although taking a plea is sometimes the best strategy, a capable attorney could present an effective defense in many drug cases.
Civil Rights Defenses
The best defense to a drug charge often centers around whether the police respected the accused’s civil rights and followed proper procedures. For example, a traffic stop might have been improper if law enforcement did not have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Likewise, if they did not have a warrant, consent to conduct a search, or probable cause to suspect drugs were present, any search they led might have been illegal.
A proactive defense attorney could investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest and determine whether police might have overstepped. If so, the legal professional could ask the judge to throw out any evidence law enforcement collected through improper means. Suppressing evidence leads to the prosecutor dropping the charges in many cases.
Issues Related to Drug Identification
The prosecution must prove what substance the accused allegedly possessed and how much of it was present. The defense could subpoena police records to verify the chain of custody of any substances seized. If law enforcement cannot show they followed proper procedures to prevent anyone from tampering with the evidence, the defense could argue there is no proof the accused possessed a controlled substance. A determined defense attorney also could challenge a lab’s record of correctly identifying and weighing controlled substances.
A person must knowingly possess a controlled substance to violate the law. Raising questions about whether the accused knew the substance was in their possession or knew it was a controlled substance could lead to an acquittal.
When people are accused of intent to distribute, a well-practiced defense lawyer could challenge the evidence of intent to sell. Doing so could lead to a reduced charge unless significant proof of a distribution operation exists.
Contact a Lawrence Drug Attorney if You Face Charges
Anyone facing drug charges in Kansas must take the matter seriously. The penalties for even minor drug offenses are severe. You need an experienced Lawrence drug lawyer to defeat a drug charge.
Do not speak with the police before talking to a seasoned defense attorney. Call as soon as you are arrested.