Experienced Fort Wayne Attorney Defends Drug Crimes
Aggressive Indiana trial lawyer contests state and federal charges
Both Indiana law and federal law make it a crime to knowingly possess drugs classified as controlled dangerous substances. Charges of possession are notoriously difficult to defend, because courts often give prosecutors a pass on proving the defendant knew where the drugs were and accept the mere presence of the drugs as sufficient evidence for conviction. Additionally, prosecutors do not have to show evidence of intent to distribute, as long as police seized a sufficient quantity of drugs. At the Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey, these are the kinds of issues we press. We aggressively challenge the prosecution and law enforcement to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt or, if they cannot, to dismiss or reduce charges. We thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your arrest and use the available facts to fight for your best possible outcome.
Defenses available to drug crimes
Even if police have seized drugs in your possession, they may not have an open-and-shut case. The law requires proof that you “knowingly or intentionally” possessed a controlled substance, which means you had knowledge and control over that substance. Available defenses include:
- Lack of knowledge — The drugs were in your possession, but you didn’t know they were there. Someone borrowed your car, and left the drugs behind without telling you.
- Lack of constructive possession — You had knowledge of the drugs, but they were under someone else’s control. You share a residence with a drug dealer who leaves a cache of drugs under the sink in a common area of the residence. You know they are there, but have nothing to do with them.
- Illegal search and seizure — If the police discovered the drugs only after violating your constitutional rights by making an illegal traffic stop, stop and frisk, or search of your home or car, they cannot submit the drugs as evidence.
Most arrests for drug possession never go to trial. Usually, the defense attorney and the prosecutor resolve these cases through negotiation. Given the severity of the potential punishments, you need an experienced and determined criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Schedules and penalties for Indiana drug possession crimes
Indiana divides controlled substances into five schedules, based on their potential for abuse and whether they have legitimate medical use:
- Schedule I — High potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. These include opiates, such as heroin, and LSD.
- Schedule II — High potential for abuse and dependence, but have an accepted medical use. These include cocaine, morphine and methadone.
- Schedule III — Have less potential for abuse and dependence than Schedule I or II and have an accepted medical use. These include anabolic steroids and testosterone.
- Schedule IV — Have a lower potential for abuse and dependence than Schedule III and have an acceptable medical use. These include diazepam.
- Schedule V — Have the lowest potential for abuse and a currently accepted medical use. These include medicines that have very small amounts of specified narcotic drugs such as cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine.
The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule I drug, but Indiana has its own set of regulations governing it.
Indiana has recently revised its felony crime classifications as follows:
- Level 1 — Minimum sentence of 20 years
- Level 2 — Minimum sentence of 10 years
- Level 3 — Minimum sentence of three years
- Level 4 — Minimum sentence of two years
- Level 5 — Minimum sentence of one year
- Level 6 — Minimum sentence of one-half year
The charging of a drug crime as a felony of a certain level depends on the schedule of the drug, the quantity of the drug, and whether the person in possession intended or attempted to sell the drug. Other circumstances, including the following, enhance the charge:
- Possession of a firearm
- Prior conviction for dealing
- Committing the offense in the presence of a child
- Selling drugs to a person under 18 and three years junior
- Committing the offense in a drug-free zone
- Committing the offense on a school bus; in, on or within 500 feet of school property while any person under 18 could reasonably be expected to be present; or in a public park while a person under 18 could reasonably be expected to be present
Indiana law also makes it a crime to possess drug paraphernalia.
Contact our Fort Wayne office for aggressive drug crime defense
Drug crime defense can be highly technical, so you need an experienced attorney who can confidently challenge police procedures. If you’ve been arrested on a drug charge in Indiana, the Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey can help. Let us protect your rights and fight for positive results. Call today at 260-209-1666 or contact our Fort Wayne office online.