The so-called War on Drugs was reaching a fevered pitch when Elvis met Nixon in the White House. The resulting photo, which shows a rather befuddled President Nixon shaking hands with a velvet-clad Elvis, is iconic. The King visited Washington because he wanted to be an undercover federal marshall. In a letter to Nixon, Elvis said he was qualified because he was familiar with the drug culture and with communist brainwashing techniques. We aren’t sure how these things relate to one another.
The War on Drugs has tailed off considerably since then. Nevertheless, Ramsey County prosecutors still press the most aggressive drug charges which the facts possibly support. Obtaining big convictions in major drug cases is a good way for prosecutors to move up the ladder.
So, when dealing with drug prosecutions, the best St. Paul drug crime lawyers always anticipate penalty enhancements. A solid expectation, and a solid plan for dealing with these enhancements, usually helps attorneys successfully resolve these cases.
Generally, the penalties for drug trafficking are much stiffer than the penalties for drug possession. Contrary to popular myth, even if the defendant is not caught in flagrante delicto (red-handed), sales or trafficking charges may hold up in court. Circumstantial evidence on this point includes things like:
First, St. Paul drug crime lawyers deal with the physical evidence. In press releases, police officials often arrange the drugs and money or other circumstantial evidence side-by-side. That creates the impression they are connected. Officers often provide similar testimony in court.
Quite frequently, however, there is little connection between the drugs and other physical evidence. That’s especially true if, for example, officers found drugs in the living room and firearms in a firearms closet.
St. Paul drug crime lawyers can use procedural defenses to address the defendant’s statements. Typically, officers ask sales and trafficking-related questions before they Mirandize the defendant. If that’s the case, any statements the defendant made are probably inadmissible in court.
Under current law, officers must Mirandize defendants when custodial interrogation begins. “Custody” does not mean slapping the cuffs on the defendant. People are in custody when they do not feel free to leave. If armed police officers are in your living room, you probably will not feel free to leave.
Minnesota law also sets forth a number of drug-free zones. Sales and trafficking penalties are especially harsh in these situations. In some cases, there may be a mandatory prison sentence.
The listed enhancement areas seem straightforward, but they are actually complex. Some issues that St. Paul drug crime lawyers deal with include:
Additionally, the drug-free zone boundaries do not start at the property line. They extend three hundred feet or one block from the property line, whichever is greater. That distance is different in most other jurisdictions, so rushed prosecutors often use the wrong measuring stick.
As mentioned, the War on Drugs is not as gung-ho as it used to be. Judges are more willing to look at drug crime defendants as people with problems. That’s especially true in designated drug courts, which is where most of these cases end up.
Voluntary drug treatment helps immensely. Even if the defendant does not have a substance abuse problem, many St. Paul drug crime lawyers recommend treatment. Once the defendant emerges with a clean bill of health, it is easier to engineer a favorable plea bargain.
Often, this arrangement involves pretrial diversion or deferred disposition. Pretrial diversion may only be available in rather minor drug trafficking cases or drug-free zone cases. If the defendant completes program requirements, which vary slightly in different courts, prosecutors dismiss the charges.
Deferred disposition works differently. The defendant pleads guilty or no contest, and the judge sentences the defendant to probation. If the defendant successfully completes probation, the judge dismisses the case. Deferred disposition is a high reward/high risk proposition, so carefully review this option with your St. Paul drug crime lawyer.
Drug possession add-ons may significantly increase the possible penalties. For a free consultation with an experienced St. Paul drug crime lawyer, contact Capitol City Law Group, LLC. Go online now, call us at (651) 998-7634, or stop by 287 6th St E, Suite 20, St Paul, MN 55101.