Westchester County Drug Trafficking Lawyer
Drug trafficking carries the potential for some of the most severe punishments. There are no minor drug trafficking charges, so anyone facing these charges should immediately take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their rights from the possible consequences of a conviction. A Westchester drug trafficking lawyer could help defend you against these charges and protect your rights at all stages of the criminal justice process.
Having the assistance of an experienced drug attorney could be essential to a more favorable outcome in your case. By conducting an independent investigation into the charges against you, requesting discovery from the prosecution, and determining and executing the best defense strategy for your case an attorney could help you fight back against the charges you are facing.
What is Drug Trafficking?
The manufacturing, transporting, and distribution of large amounts of controlled substances constitutes drug trafficking. These schemes can range in scale from small local operations involving only a few individuals to huge conspiracies that include hundreds of individuals across borders. Depending on the circumstances, a person may face state or federal criminal charges.
Drug trafficking offenses commonly involve illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and marijuana, among others. However, drug trafficking offenses also can involve controlled substances that are legal with a prescription, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other opiates and painkillers. Different factors dictate the potential penalties that someone may receive for drug trafficking charges. These include:
- The type and amount of drugs
- Any prior criminal history
- Involvement of firearms
- Whether the trafficking occurred in proximity to a school zone or involved distribution to minors
Whether someone is facing federal or state drug trafficking charges also can make a difference in the outcome of the case. Federal sentencing guidelines tend to be more severe than potential state penalties. A Westchester County lawyer could give detailed information about how penalties for drug trafficking may differ at the state and federal levels.
What Evidence Could Be Used in a Drug Trafficking Case?
When the state brings a drug trafficking case to trial, they frequently have a wide range of evidence. Understanding the scope of this evidence could be useful to a person as they build a defense against these charges.
Drug trafficking charges typically result from long-running investigations as opposed to a single traffic stop or arrest. For that reason, the strongest evidence in these cases often comes from police surveillance. This could include video and audio of drug sales or the transportation of controlled substances.
Often, the police also rely on help from confidential informants. These informants could testify about the inner workings of a conspiracy to traffic in controlled substances. Then there are the drugs themselves. Trafficking cases cannot move forward without some evidence of the drugs themselves being trafficked. These cases usually involve busts that net a large amount of drugs. A lawyer in Westchester County could review the evidence in a particular drug trafficking case and determine how to proceed
Defenses to a Drug Trafficking Charge
There could be several defenses available to a defendant in a drug trafficking case. These defenses generally establish that the state has failed to prove at least one element of the crime. For example, a defendant could build their case on the lack of evidence that they intended to traffic drugs or even knew they were possessing a controlled substance.
Other defenses could center on a person’s constitutional rights. When the police illegally search or seize a person’s property, they could pave the way for having any evidence seized barred from trial. A Westchester County attorney could build a defense strategy for a drug trafficking case based on the specifics of the charge.
Penalties for Westchester County Trafficking Offenses
All sales of controlled substances under New York law are felony offenses, ranging in severity from fifth-degree, or the least serious, to first-degree, or the most serious. Under New York, Penal Law §70.71(b)(i) individuals convicted of a Class A-1 felony drug trafficking offense could face eight to 20 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
If conspiracy charges accompany trafficking offense, the penalties may increase substantially. Additionally, fines can range from a minimum of $5,000, or twice the value of the drug sales, to $100,000 for very large-scale operations. There is also the likelihood of federal or state authorities seizing personal assets that they believe individuals purchased with the proceeds.
Call a Westchester County Drug Trafficking Attorney for Help
Aside from the years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines that can result from a drug trafficking conviction, you are likely to continue to suffer the consequences after you have served your sentence. A permanent criminal record for a drug trafficking felony can alter your rights, make it more difficult to find employment, and hinder your ability to go to college or seek safe and affordable housing. A Westchester drug trafficking lawyer may be in the best position to defend you against these allegations and their potential repercussions.
Having legal counsel may enable you to challenge the legality of the evidence in your case, ensure that the substance identification was valid, and generally protect you from illegal actions by law enforcement authorities. With a strong legal advocate to guide you through any criminal proceedings, you may place yourself in a stronger position to successfully overcome or minimize the charges against you. Call today to learn more.