How Can a Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer Help My Case?
In Oklahoma, being accused of drug trafficking is a serious offense. It can be nerve-racking to face such an accusation, and you may not know where to begin with your questions.
You might be unsure of what exactly you are being charged with, how to begin preparing a defense, or how the course of the case will affect your work, personal life, and family.
Although the unknowns may seem to outnumber the certainties in the beginning, what is for certain is that a drug trafficking defense lawyer can help you whether you’re guilty or innocent.
Any allegations regarding drugs, both illegal and prescription, can have severe consequences. Oklahoma is known for strict rules around illicit substances, and if your case is left in the hands of unskilled counsel, what could be decreased to a misdemeanor can quickly escalate to a felony or federal drug conviction.
Regardless of how familiar you are with the legal system or how sure you are that your innocence will be proven, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you have the best possible defense.
Whether you are in direct need of legal representation or have questions about your rights, Cannon & Associates is available to discuss the matter. Our legal team can assess your circumstances, determine your options, and build a plan of action for moving forward. We offer a free initial consultation to assure that our law firm is a good fit for your case.
Call today to speak with a federal drug lawyer. Dial 405-591-3935
What Is Drug Trafficking?
A drug trafficking charge in Oklahoma can apply to the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, or sale of controlled substances. The Oklahoma Trafficking in Illegal Drugs act imposes some of the harshest penalties nationwide and can mean serious prison time and costly fines for individuals who are found guilty. Both state and federal drug trafficking cases should not be taken lightly.
What Are Controlled Substances?
In Oklahoma, controlled substances are any drug or substances regulated by state or federal law due to their potential for abuse or addiction. Each substance is categorized by its potential for harm and holds different regulations and penalties depending on the form and quantity it is found in. Controlled substances in Oklahoma include, but are not limited to: marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine, and heroin.
Consider the Penalties
As mentioned, Oklahoma is known for its tough laws on drugs. Possession charges typically result in misdemeanors, however, trafficking charges can have drastically worse penalties.
A first time offense of drug trafficking in Oklahoma has no mandatory minimum, but can result in a sentence of zero to twenty years in prison along with fines in the thousands of dollars. A second offense does carry a mandatory minimum of 4 years and can be punishable by life, and a third offense has a mandatory minimum of 20 years to life.
These penalties apply to controlled substance in the following quantities:
- Marijuana – 25 pounds
- Cocaine – 28 grams
- Heroin – 10 grams
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (commonly known as LSD) – 1 gram
- Methamphetamine – 20 grams
- Phencyclidine (PCP) – 20 grams
- Crack Cocaine – 28 grams
A drug trafficking conviction in Oklahoma is no joke.
Fighting For Your Rights
You may fear that your future is set in stone after being charged with drug trafficking. It’s not unknown for law enforcement and prosecution teams to intimidate suspects into believing their options are extremely limited. However, drug trafficking cases can be affected by outlying factors, and depending on the specifics of your case, you may have options.
Important factors that can affect a case include:
- Where the arrest and charge took place (during a routine traffic stop, at your home, etc).
- The validity and presence of a search warrant.
- If coercion was involved in a confession.
- Any Racial profiling.
Our criminal defense attorneys at Cannon & Associates can help you clarify these crucial factors to determine your rights. Such facts may seem straightforward, but an experienced criminal defense lawyer will know exactly how to strengthen your defense based on the specifics.
For years, our law firm has defended people accused of both state and federal drug trafficking charges in Oklahoma. With our team of skilled defense lawyers, your rights will be protected.
How Can I Protect My Rights During a Drug Trafficking Investigation?
Being arrested under any circumstances can be intimidating and it’s common for individuals to react to these stressful situations with opposition. However, resisting arrest or engaging in aggressive behavior towards an arresting officer can worsen a situation and potentially add additional charges to your plate.
When confronted with an arrest, it is best to remain calm and avoid physical confrontation, regardless if the officers are uncooperative or hostile towards you. This does not mean you should ignore unlawful conduct. If the arresting officers breach your rights, we advise you to start recording if possible, or ask someone nearby to record if you are unable to. Law enforcement officers may be unhappy in the face of a camera, but it’s your legal right to record as long as the recording does not interfere with the officer’s duties.
Know Your Rights
When charged with a crime, many laws and regulations protect a defendant’s rights throughout the process. Protections begin with your basic civil rights along with police officers following the correct protocols. These protections continue while you are being arrested, questioned, and detained. Being aware of your civil rights can help defend your case from the beginning, and help you avoid common pitfalls that can arise when dealing with law enforcement.
In the case that law enforcement seems overly friendly, their kindness may be a tactic to get information that could be used against you. It’s best to keep your guard up and invoke your right to remain silent.
When you are detained or questioned by the police, you have the legal right to an attorney. We strongly advise anyone facing a charge as serious as drug trafficking to consult with a lawyer right away. Following an initial arrest or questioning, make sure your attorney is readily available in case you are called back in for further questioning. A trained criminal defense attorney knows the power of language and can advise you on what to say and what not to say to avoid incriminating yourself.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits law enforcement from carrying out unreasonable searches or seizures. If officers search your property without a legitimate warrant, this can be crucial in your defense. Your attorney can challenge the legality of any warrants used, or the lack of a warrant. If a search and seizure is done illegally, any evidence collected can be deemed inadmissible, potentially leading to the charges against you being dropped.
What Are The Potential Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges?
Your defense in a drug trafficking charge will always be unique to your case. However, there are some common strategies to developing a defense, including:
- Lack of knowledge or intent – If you were unaware that you were carrying or in possession of illegal substances, and had no intention of trafficking.
- Illegal search and seizure – If the search of your property or possession was done unlawfully due to a lack of warrant or an improper warrant, the evidence obtained in the unlawful search can be dismissed from trial.
- Entrapment – When law enforcement induces or coerced you to commit a drug traffic offense that you would not have committed otherwise. Entrapment can be the result of a “setup” by police officers.
- Insufficient evidence – Like many cases, the prosecution must prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is insufficient evidence to support the charge, the defendant can be found not guilty.
The above defenses are not available for every drug trafficking case. When weighing your situation, a qualified attorney can determine if such defenses apply to you.
Can a Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer Negotiate a Reduction in Charges or Sentence?
Negotiation can be an invaluable tool when confronting drug trafficking charges. Working with Oklahoma law, there are a handful of approaches to negotiating a reduction in your charge or sentence. A criminal defense attorney can guide you through the process.
Review the Evidence
Attorneys are trained to examine the smallest details of cases, and yours will have to do just that. Reviewing all the evidence against you, such as the full police report, witness statements, and any physical evidence confiscated by police, can help your attorney determine the strength of the prosecution’s case. Knowing the ins n outs of the evidence can give your attorney insight into the potential weakness of the case against you, or if any inconsistencies that could be of your benefit. Based on the evidence and facts of the case, an attorney can discern if your rights have been violated, and what legal path is best for your case.
Discuss a Plea Bargain
In the case that the evidence against you outweighs your potential defense, it’s a good time to start considering a plea bargain. Typically, plea bargains involve the defendant pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence or other settlements from the prosecution.
Present Mitigating Factors
During negotiation, a defense lawyer can present mitigating factors that establish the good conduct of the defendant. Mitigating factors can include a clean criminal background , a lack of criminal history altogether, the defendants’ cooperation with law enforcement, or a defendant’s commitment to drug addiction treatment or a counseling program.
Meet With the Prosecutor
Once you’ve established a plea bargain you are willing to make, your defense lawyer will meet with the prosecutor to discuss what reductions are possible. In this meeting, your lawyer will be able to present your compiled defenses and any mitigation factors.
Attend a Plea Hearing
If a plea bargain is reached, you and your lawyer must then attend a plea hearing where the guilty plea is stated and a court will sentence accordingly.
Reduction of Sentence or Charges Through Cooperation
If credible evidence against you is piling up, you may consider what ways you can cooperate with the legal system to reduce your sentence or penalty.
Under the federal sentencing regulations, to receive a reduction, an individual must give “substantial assistance” to an investigation or prosecution of another individual. This substantial assistance can be directly related to your case, or unrelated, but still relevant to an ongoing investigation or crime.
The process of a reduction via cooperation first requires the defendant to give substantial assistance to law enforcement or prosecution. Sharing just any information may not be enough. The information has to be valuable to the police and typically requires incriminating others. This can involve acting as a confidential informant or relaying ongoing criminal activity to the police.
If your cooperation is deemed sufficient by law enforcement, the prosecuting attorney will then file a motion to reduce your sentence based on your cooperation. This doesn’t guarantee a reduction, but can increase your likelihoods of a lesser penalty.
Examples of cooperation can involve:
- Information – Giving information that is not already known to law enforcement such as names of involved suspects in a crime, whereabouts of a wanted suspect, whereabouts of weapons, illegal drugs, or other evidence connected to a crime.
- Testifying – Simply agreeing to testify against someone may be enough to support a prosecution’s cases, but directly testifying in a trial against another defendant can be strong substantial assistance.
- A sting operation – Aiding law enforcement in an operation that leads to the capture of a suspect, illegal weapons, or illegal substances.
The best approach to reducing your sentence via cooperation is acting early. If other defendants are involved and reveal valuable information before you do, you may not have much to offer the prosecution to change your sentencing.
As with all cases, it truly depends on the circumstances you are facing. Legally, you are granted attorney-client confidentiality and by discussing what you know with your criminal defense lawyer, they can establish if you have the grounds to cooperate with prosecution to reduce your sentence.
Speak With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Considering Oklahoma’s stance on drug trafficking, it’s crucial to have a skilled criminal defense attorney at your aid. At Cannon & Associates, our legal team has years of experience defending, litigating, and negotiating drug trafficking charges. A drug trafficking attorney can inspect every component of the evidence gathered to identify any weak spot in the case against you.
Our legal teams have succeeded in reducing drug trafficking charges to lesser criminal charges, which can keep you from facing prison time and majorly reduce the fines that come with convictions.
Our attorneys at Cannon & Associates are committed to exhausting every avenue possible to strengthen a client’s case. We offer a free initial consultation where we can discuss your charge, determine what options may be available to you, and create a plan to move forward.Speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers today. Call 405-591-3935.
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