If you have been charged with possession of cocaine or crack, you may be facing serious penalties, including fines, court costs community service, and time in jail or prison. The likely outcome of your case depends on the Alabama sentencing guidelines and the specific facts of your case. A cocaine lawyer can thoroughly review the evidence in your case to ensure that you present a solid defense.
Our drug attorneys will work to help you obtain the best outcome possible after discussing all the options with you.
For more information about your specific case, contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers for help. We have worked with countless individuals facing cocaine and crack charges, and we can develop a strategic plan to reduce your penalties too. Call us at (205) 981-2450 or use our online contact form today.
The “war on drugs” continues to be waged in communities across the United States. If you were caught with crack or cocaine, you are likely worried about how this can affect your future and whether or not you may be sentenced to jail time.
A prison sentence is a very real possibility, especially if you have been convicted of a drug crime previously. However, just because you have been charged with felony possession of crack or cocaine, don’t consider pleading guilty without talking to an experienced defense attorney. In many cases, our attorneys can get charges reduced or even dismissed.
In Alabama, cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule II controlled substances have a high potential for physical or psychological dependence with some accepted medical use.
Possession of a Schedule II controlled substance is illegal unless the substance was obtained with a valid prescription. Possession of crack or cocaine in an amount less than 28 grams is punishable by up to five years of time in a state correctional facility with or without hard labor a fine of up to five thousand dollars.
Possession of 28 to 200 grams is punishable by five to 30 years in prison and a fine of 50 to 150 thousand dollars. Possession of 200 to 400 grams of crack or cocaine is punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison and a fine of 100 to 350 thousand dollars. Possession of 400 grams or more of cocaine or crack is punishable by 15 to 30 years in prison and a fine of 250 to 600 thousand dollars.
Distribution, dispensing, manufacturing, or possession with intent to manufacture cocaine or cocaine base is punishable by at least two years and up to thirty years in prison and a fine of up to 50 thousand dollars.
During the first two years of the prison sentence, the offender will not be eligible for parole. Crack possession penalties are the same as those for cocaine because crack is manufactured from a cocaine base.
If you have been charged with possession or distribution of crack or cocaine, your sentence will depend on many factors, such as the specific facts of your case, the amount of controlled substance seized by law enforcement, and your criminal history. If you have no prior charges, you are more likely to receive a lighter sentence if convicted than you would if you have multiple prior drug charges.
If you are charged with possession of cocaine first offense, a cocaine lawyer may be able to keep you from serving time in jail or prison even if you plead guilty by negotiating a plea deal where you will serve a sentence of probation. If you qualify for a diversion program such as drug court, you may even be able to keep charges off your record and complete your sentence more quickly than you could have otherwise by participating in an intensive treatment program.
If you were caught with drugs, you may be able to get evidence thrown out if your attorney finds a basis to get the thrown out. If the police did something wrong such as conducting an illegal search and seizure without a warrant, your lawyer may be able to find a good basis to file a motion to suppress evidence and request a hearing to challenge the state’s case.
Whether or not a motion to suppress is the best way to defend your cases will depend on a number of factors, such as what area was searched and what steps police could have taken to obtain a warrant. Usually, a warrant must be obtained to conduct a search of a person where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Police may conduct a search of an area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy under limited circumstances, also known as “exigent circumstances.” Examples of exigent circumstances are a threat of imminent harm if the police do not enter and secure the area or the likelihood that evidence will be destroyed.
If a search was conducted on a vehicle, police must have reasonable suspicion that a traffic offense or crime occurred to pull you over. Police may not randomly stop drivers to conduct searches for controlled substances. Police may set up checkpoints to sobriety test drivers whom they suspect may be driving under the influence, but must follow the correct policies and procedures for doing so.
An exception to the warrant requirement is a search incident to arrest. If you are arrested, the police may search your person and your vehicle in the area where you might be able to reach. Police may also search if they have probable cause a crime has occurred, such as the smell of marijuana or a “hit” by a drug dog that indicates the presence of a controlled substance is likely.
In some cases, you may be charged with possession even if you did not actually possess any illegal substances. For example, if you were in a vehicle with multiple occupants and police conducted a search and found illegal substances in the car, all occupants may be charged, especially if the drugs were found in and are within reach of passengers.
This is known as “constructive possession”–where you did not actually possess a controlled substance on your person but were able to exercise control over the illegal item.
Many people are charged with possession just because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time based on the constructive possession concept. If this has happened to you, it may be possible to beat this type of charge if the state cannot prove that you had knowledge that the controlled substance was in an area you occupied or connect you with the crime.
If you have been charged with possession of crack or cocaine, you are likely feeling worried, scared, and overwhelmed. Keep in mind that sometimes there are ways to beat what seems like a solid case at first. Your attorney may be able to challenge the case based on police mistakes, lack of evidence, and other factors.
A cocaine lawyer can analyze your case and work to keep you out of jail or prison. If you are facing crack or cocaine charges, contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers office to schedule a consultation.