Drug Crime Lawyers | Livingston Office | Serving Cuba, AL
112 Marshall St., PO Box 907, Livingston, AL 35470-0907
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Drug crimes are some of the most common crimes in the United States, ranging from (unlawful) possession of a controlled substance to large-scale drug trafficking and racketeering. Drug crimes encompass any illegal actions involving controlled substances. Controlled substances include illegal narcotics like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Drug crimes can also involve selling, distributing, or possessing controlled prescription drugs like oxycodone or Vicodin.
It is generally not a drug crime to be “high” or under the influence of drugs. However, if you still have any drugs in your possession, you may be charged with possession. You could also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if you have something with drug residue, like a pipe. If you are high in public, you could face a ticket for public intoxication. However, if you are caught driving while impaired by drugs, you can face a drug DUI or DWI.
The most common drug crimes in the U.S. are drug possession charges. Having one or more illegal drugs in possession is against the law. Some states consider possession of small amounts of marijuana to be a petty offense or infraction. However, drug possession is still a misdemeanor criminal offense in most states.
Drug possession with intent to distribute may include a suspect caught in the act of trying to sell drugs. Drug distribution could also be charged if the suspect is in possession of a larger amount of drugs or with indicators of sales, like scales, baggies, and large amounts of cash. Drug possession with intent to distribute is generally a more serious charge than simple possession.
Drug trafficking and manufacturing drugs are among the most serious drug offenses. Drug trafficking is generally a felony, with penalties including years in prison. Large-scale drug operations can also involve related charges like racketeering and money laundering.
The penalties for drug crimes can depend on the type of drugs, the amount of controlled substance, and whether the drugs were for personal use or for sale. Penalties can also depend on the surrounding circumstances, related charges, and the defendant’s criminal history.
Simple possession generally involves possession of a small amount of drugs, generally an amount to be considered for personal use. The maximum amount is generally based on drug laws, not based on the amount the defendant generally consumes. In most states, a simple possession case is a misdemeanor. However, a first-time offense can often result in probation instead of jail time.
Those convicted of large-scale drug trafficking could see between 10 years to a life sentence if convicted. Possession with intent to distribute is generally a felony, charged at the state level, and penalties vary based on the individual facts of the case. Penalties can increase based on the type of controlled substance, amount involved, and related crimes involved.
The majority of states now have laws for limited medical marijuana use and possession. A large number of states and territories have also legalized recreational cannabis. However, some states still treat marijuana like other controlled substances. Under federal law, medical marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance.
Probation is a monitored release where you still have to follow certain rules and restrictions to stay out of jail. Probation can require regularly meeting with your probation officer, drug testing, curfew, holding down a job, or other conditions. Individuals can get probation as a way to avoid jail time or as part of a plea deal. Getting probation depends on the seriousness of the crime and other factors, so you can talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about how to get probation.
If you are facing drug-related criminal charges, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can give you legal advice about your rights, defense strategies, and legal options to avoid a permanent criminal record. Your drug crime lawyer can also help you get approved for a drug diversion program, drug court, or deferred judgment to keep the drug charges off your record.
Drug crimes are some of the most common crimes in the United States, ranging from (unlawful) possession of a controlled substance to large-scale drug trafficking and racketeering. Drug crime typically involves the possession, distribution, manufacture, cultivation, or illicit sale of recreational drugs, from morphine to heroin to cannabis.
Nearly any drug offense could see you end up in the federal system because these substances are all banned under federal law. If federal officers, such as those with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), are conducting operations in your area, an arrest by one of those officers would likely lead to federal charges. Using illegal drugs on federal property, such as national parks, can also lead to drug charges. While federal officials often target distributors and traffickers more than people possessing a small amount of drugs, the potential does still exist.
Drug crimes involve any actions related to the use of local, state or federally banned narcotics like heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Some common drug crimes include selling, distributing, consuming or possessing these substances. The illegal use of prescription drugs like oxycodone and Vicodin also falls under this category. For example, if police find you with oxycodone, but you do not have a prescription for it, you are likely to be arrested.
The most common drug crime in the U.S. is drug possession. Having one or more illegal drugs on one’s person constitutes the crime, whether an offender is under the influence of said drugs. Some states consider possession of small amounts of marijuana to be a petty offense or infraction if they prosecute it at all. This leniency in the face of increasingly common relaxation of laws regarding cannabis consumption does not apply to most other drugs scheduled by the federal government.
Drug possession with intent to distribute (or simply possession with intent to distribute) is a charge which straddles the gap between simple possession (of small amounts, personal amounts of a controlled substance) and drug trafficking (which involves the large-scale movement/dealing of illicit drugs). A “street dealer” moving moderate quantities of cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, etc. may be charged with drug possession with intent to distribute if a case can be made based on the evidence provided by law enforcement.
Drug trafficking is the highest order of drug offenses, at both the state and federal levels. Almost always classified as a felony, drug trafficking refers to conducting unlawful trade in controlled substances, generally involving great quantities of the drug(s) in question.
While simple possession of most scheduled drugs (particularly cannabis) results in, at most, misdemeanor charges — and typically, a drug diversion program or rehabilitation — possession with intent to distribute and drug trafficking are prosecuted more aggressively.
Those convicted of large-scale drug trafficking could see between 10 years to a life sentence if convicted. At the state level, drug trafficking charges typically range from three years to a life sentence, depending on the drug being moved and the quantity being transported. If death or serious injury results from the trafficking of these drugs or the demonstrable use of the drugs, penalties are almost always enhanced to 20 years to life.
Possession with intent to distribute is generally charged at the state level, and penalties vary based on the context of the crime as well as the jurisdiction laws of each state. In some states, possession of cannabis with intent to sell is classified as a third degree felony. If found guilty of these charges, offenders could face up to five years behind bars. If the substance in question is instead cocaine, the maximum sentence is increased to 15 years incarceration. A range of between one to five years is common for first-time offenders, with penalties increasing for repeat offenders or for more harshly scrutinized drugs.
You can be handed a probation requirement in response to a conviction for a drug-related crime or even as part of a potential plea deal. The likelihood that you receive probation as part of your sentence depends on the severity of the alleged offense and a variety of other factors, so it is vital to speak with an attorney to determine if you can reasonably expect to get probation. Regularly meeting with your probation officer, abstaining from drugs or with those who use drugs, and other conditions may be part of your probation.
If you are facing charges related to drugs or drug-related crime, you should seek the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney at your earliest opportunity. A conviction in response to a drug crime, even simple possession, can create a lifelong disadvantage in the form of a permanent criminal record.
Retaining proper legal counsel not only increases your chance of avoiding conviction, but in situations where the prosecution has a viable case, your attorney may be able to negotiate a lesser sentence in exchange for your cooperation. Together, you and your lawyer can craft the best defense possible in the event that you decide to proceed to trial, and if not, your lawyer can help to guide you through every option available to you.
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
An experienced lawyer should be able to communicate a basic “road map” on how to proceed. The lawyer should be able to walk you through the anticipated process, key considerations, and potential pitfalls to avoid. Once you’ve laid out the facts of your situation to the lawyer, he/she should be able to frame expectations and likely scenarios to help you understand your legal issue.
In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.
Affidavit – A sworn written statement made under oath. An affidavit is meant to be a supporting document to the court assisting in the verification of certain facts. An affidavit may or may not require notarization.