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Rochester Drug Lawyer

If you are or could soon be facing drug charges, it is a good idea to consult a Rochester drug lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer familiar with the prosecution of drug cases in Rochester could fight to protect your rights and minimize any adverse consequences. Even possessing a small amount of one of many types of controlled substances could lead to significant criminal consequences and permanent ramifications.

An Attorney Could Help With the Protection of Rights

The criminal laws at both state and federal levels are designed to treat individuals as innocent until prosecutors prove their guilt and to protect certain basic rights. However, many people do not understand that they can easily forfeit these rights, and once they do so, that protection is lost.

If an individual gives consent to a search of their home or vehicle, then the police may seek out and confiscate property without obtaining the warrant they must otherwise secure. Similarly, those accused of, charged with, or being investigated for a crime have the right to avoid self-incrimination. It is essential to say nothing other than what is legally required and to consult an attorney before answering any questions. Representation by an experienced Rochester drug attorney may prevent these types of costly missteps.

The Type of Drug Matters

Illegal drugs, often referred to as controlled substances, are treated differently under state and federal criminal laws depending on the nature of the substance. Generally, those with no accepted medical uses and a strong potential for misuse or addiction are considered more dangerous. Possession, distribution, and manufacture of these more hazardous drugs are often penalized more severely than actions taken in connection with drugs that may be prescribed for medical use.

Drugs are classified on different schedules according to the above factors. Examples of substances in different schedules include:

  • Schedule I – MDMA (ecstasy), heroin, marijuana, LSD
  • Schedule II –cocaine, amphetamines, hydrocodone
  • Schedule III – lower concentrations of morphine, anabolic steroids such as ketamine, some mixtures of codeine
  • Schedule IV – Tramadol, Valium, Xanax
  • Schedule V – Medications containing ephedrine or codeine

The type of drug and the amount involved in a situation play a major role in determining the severity of a drug offense. Although the state of Michigan has legalized the use of medical and recreational marijuana, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, and federally illegal.

Possession of Controlled Substances

Simple possession of a controlled substance is one of the least severe drug offenses. However, possession of 1,000 grams or more of a Schedule I or II substance can cause someone to receive a life prison sentence and a fine of $1,000,000 under Mich. Comp. Laws §333.7403. Potential penalties decrease for lesser amounts. For example, the maximum sentence for possession of less than 25 grams of a Schedule I substance or Schedule II narcotic is four years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Possession of marijuana is treated differently than possession of other Schedule I drugs. The maximum penalty for marijuana possession is a $2,000 fine plus one year in jail, but regulatory changes allow possession and use in certain cases and make some violations civil rather than criminal offenses. This is particularly true with the advent of the lawful use of recreational marijuana.

Work With a Rochester Drug Attorney

For someone to be convicted of possession, the government must prove that they knowingly possessed the substance. Therefore, a criminal defense attorney may be able to refute charges by showing that the person accused was unaware of the presence of the substance, did not understand the nature of the substance, or that they were not in a position to exercise dominion and control over the substance, negating their legal possession of it.

Similarly, when an individual is accused of distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, a Rochester drug lawyer could work to prove that other required elements of the offense are lacking, and therefore, a violation did not occur. The best time to collect evidence to support a showing of innocence is right after the event leading to the charges. For a consultation and to learn more about the assistance an experienced drug attorney could provide, call today.