If you have been charged with a federal or state drug crime, you need the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney who has defended other clients in similar situations. A conviction could impact your life for many years to come. Convictions for drug crimes carry severe penalties including prison, fines, probation, mandatory drug treatment programs, and community service.
Do not trust your future to an attorney who does not practice criminal law or an attorney with the public defender’s office. Contact the Webb Law Firm by calling 207-283-6400 now to speak with an experienced Maine criminal defense lawyer.
In general, many of the drug offenses filed in Maine are state crimes and tried in state courts. However, you can be charged with a federal crime if your offense meets specific requirements. For example, it becomes a federal matter when the illegal substance is carried across state lines or when it is brought into the country from another country. Federal cases generally take longer to prosecute and receive harsher punishments. They are tried in federal courts with judges who are appointed by the president. State crimes are tried in state courts with judges who are either appointed by the governor or elected. States mostly focus on possession and distribution while federal cases involve the manufacture and trafficking of the drug. Possession is defined as possessing the drug without the intent to distribute it.
Federal Drug Crimes
A person may be charged with a drug crime that relates to the possession, manufacturing, or sale of an illegal substance. Examples of illegal drugs include the following:
While marijuana has been legalized in Maine for medical use, it is still a crime to use marijuana for recreational use.
In some cases, a person can be charged with a drug crime involving prescription drugs. Some prescription drugs are highly addictive and must be monitored closely by the physician correctly. If abused, some prescription drugs can cause serious addictions. Because these drugs are so addictive, they are often sold on the street by drug dealers. Anytime a controlled substance is sold outside of a regulated pharmacy, clinic or, hospital, it can result in drug crime charges.
Federal Criminal Penalties
Federal crimes typically carry harsher punishments than state crimes; however, Maine takes a very harsh stance on these types of crimes; therefore, you could be facing substantial jail time and fines even for state drug crimes. Simple possession charges usually result in probation, a fine, or short jail time, depending on the person’s criminal history and the amount of the substance recovered. Cultivation of cannabis (marijuana) carries a penalty of six months in jail and $1,000 in fines, even if the person is only growing a few plants. Crimes involving trafficking of an illegal substance can carry long-term jail sentences, especially if the person is a repeat offender.
Schedules of Illegal Drugs (Controlled Substances)
Illegal drugs and legal drugs are considered controlled substances because they are governed by state and federal laws and regulations. Each drug is assigned a specific “schedule” according to the drugs properties, such as the drug’s addictive properties. The amount of the drug in possession also impacts sentencing. Schedule I drugs are highly addictive and include almost all illegal drugs. Schedule V drugs are the least addictive drugs. Some prescription cough medicines are included in the Schedule V drugs. Convictions for Schedule I drugs carry the most severe punishments; however, a conviction on a drug crime involving a Schedule V drug can have long-term consequences.
Charges for Drug Distribution
A person involved in selling drugs can be charged with distribution of drugs. You can be charged with distribution even if you did not intend to sell the drug but you have a large amount of the drug in your possession when you were arrested. A person who gives the substance to someone without exchanging money may also be charged with distribution. Trafficking is also distributing a controlled substance illegally, but it involves a larger amount. The main difference between distribution and trafficking charges is the amount of the drug in your possession. If you are charged with either of these Maine drug crimes, you need an experienced drug defense attorney.
Charges for Drug Manufacturing
A person doesn’t have to use or sell the drug to be charged manufacturing drugs. Growing an illegal drug, such as marijuana, is considered manufacturing just like using a chemical process to create the drug, as with methamphetamines. You can be charged with manufacturing if you have any part in the process of manufacturing the drug, regardless of how small your part may be. For example, if you are a member of a group who is making meth and your job was to purchase part of the materials used to make the meth, you can be charged with manufacturing illegal drugs.
Drug Possession Charges
If drugs are found in a car, locker, or other area, the owner may be charged even if the drugs do not belong to the owner. A person can be charged with possession even if that person only has a single use of the drug in his possession at the time of the arrest. You may believe if you only have a small amount of the drug the officer will just “let you off” but this is not the case. Any amount of a drug in your possession may result in jail time.
Are You Fighting A Drug Charge in Maine?
You are not guilty just because you are arrested. The prosecution must prove all of the elements of the crime in order for you to be convicted. An experienced Maine drug defense attorney can help you develop a strategy for your defense. He can also ensure that your legal rights are not trampled upon by law enforcement or the prosecution. If you are facing a drug charge, your first step should be to hire an experienced, trusted drug defense lawyer.