Annapolis Drug Distribution Lawyer
Possession with intent to distribute a large volume of drugs is a much more serious charge than possession with intent. This charge may be applicable in cases where the defendant is believed to be a drug kingpin, which is the person that is providing to distributors. A drug kingpin may be the person bringing mass quantities into the country.
Most of the time, those cases are not handled by the Annapolis courts; they are referred to the federal system because they are complex in nature and the investigation usually involves police from a number of states and/or federal agencies. Although it is rare for those cases to be in Annapolis courts, they occasionally do come up.
If you are being investigated for or are charged with possession with intent to distribute large quantities of a controlled substance, contact an Annapolis drug distribution lawyer today to ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can guide you through the arrest and trial process as well as build a robust defense for your case.
The aggravating factor that is most common is handgun possession at the time of an arrest for possession with intent to distribute. A person that is convicted of handgun possession and possession with intent to distribute faces a nexus count, which is an attempt by the prosecution to link the use of a handgun to the commission of the felony.
That charge is punishable by a mandatory minimum five-year sentence. During that time, the defendant is not eligible for parole or bond. In that circumstance, a person will find themselves at the mercy of the court. Even the judge, as the most powerful person in that courtroom, does not have the legal authority to sentence below the five-year mandatory minimum that is outlined in the statute.
Law Enforcement Priority
Reducing drug distribution is a priority for Annapolis law enforcement. In fact, it is a priority for all law enforcement because they recognize that drug distribution can have a negative impact on the community. They also recognize that that drug distribution charges can lead them to other criminal activity, including firearm cases, theft cases, crimes of violence, and other crimes that the state police and prosecutors are concerned with.
The most common constitutional issue that comes up in drug distribution cases is Fourth Amendment concern. Specifically, whether someone has been unlawfully searched and seized by police must be addressed by the Annapolis drug distribution lawyer in every case. An unlawful search or seizure will usually yield the evidence drugs that were seized inadmissible in court, generally disposing of the criminal charges altogether.
Additionally, there are constitutional issues associated with the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment, which respectively discuss a person’s right to not self-incriminate and the right to due process. Finally, the Sixth Amendment, the right to a speedy trial, is also a common constitutional issue that arises in possession with intent to distribute cases. The prosecution is required to bring the case within 180 days to move forward with the criminal charges.
A prosecutor has to prove that the method used to seize the evidence was lawful. Once they get past that question in a motions hearing, they are tasked with proving other factors that are inherent to their case. For example, if the issue of constructive possession is raised, they might have then the additional task of proving that ownership of the drugs can be linked to the person charged.
Generally, the most highly-contested issue at trial is the question of possession. For example, if a client had drugs on their person or their bag, it will be difficult to argue that they were not in possession of them. If, however, the drugs were found in a home that they shared with several roommates or in a vehicle that was not registered to them, constructive possession would be more difficult for the prosecution. That may be a case that the Annapolis drug distribution attorney would be more inclined to take to a jury or judge when contesting the criminal charges against a client.
Important Qualities of a Defense Lawyer
First and foremost, when seeking a drug distribution attorney in Annapolis, you should look for mastery of constitutional principles. The importance of understanding the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Sixth Amendment are important in any criminal possession case.
Additionally, it is important to have an attorney that is familiar with the parties in Annapolis. Having a relationship with prosecutors and judges and understanding which judges lean more heavily toward constitutional principles can impact the outcome of your case.