Drug Offenses: Was someone arrested on Drug Charges?
America has been fighting a war on drugs for decades, and our federal and state prisons are filled with drug offenders facing long-term sentences. Defendant face very high bonds as a condition of release or, in federal court, no bond at all. Cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin are the controlled substances most commonly prosecuted in New Mexico. For simple possession, your attorney may be able to argue for inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment instead of long term incarceration but large amounts of drugs seized, and paraphernalia such as digital scales or firearms or other facts may suggest possession with intent to distribute. And the most difficult drug cases involve purchases of drugs from an undercover agent using controlled sums of money.
Of course the first analysis will be as to the strength of the prosecution and whether the law enforcement officer violated the law in obtaining defendant’s arrest. A motion to suppress evidence is the best way to challenge the legal standing of the case.
If the case results in a plea agreement, many factors enter into the likely sentence: (1) is the defendant pleading to possession, possession with intent to distribute, or drug trafficking; (2) what is his criminal history including past drug convictions; (3) what amount and why type of drugs were seized; (4) were others involved; (5) was a firearm present or nearby; (6) what defendant’s role as a courier or the person negotiating or supplying the drugs? Federal sentences tend to be much higher than convictions in state court for the same offense, but that situation may change as Congress considers the cost of housing so many drug offenders for so long.