|If you've been charged with drug possession or trafficking, you should consult an attorney to protect your rights.|
Penalties for Drug Offenses
Drug offenses carry severe penalties, and are very determinedly prosecuted. However, the State and the Courts have recognized that many drug offenses are the result of addiction. A defense attorney with knowledge of substance abuse treatment can often help an accused client receive treatment as an alternative to, or reduction of, any possible sentence. Contact Lipman & Katz at 800-660-3713 or use our free inquiry form to discuss your options. Continue reading to learn more about drug-related offenses.
Possession of a Scheduled Drug or Controlled Substance
Intentional or knowing possession of a scheduled drug or controlled substance is a crime. Maine law divides illegal drugs into W, X, Y and Z “schedules.” Schedule W contains amphetamines, cocaine and its derivatives, heroin and similar opiates, and other drugs that are considered the most serious. Schedule Z contains less serious drugs, such as marijuana and prescription drugs not contained in the other schedules. Read Maine statute §1107-A. Unlawful possession of scheduled drugs.
The class of crime depends on the schedule, type and amount of the drug possessed. For example, possession of more than 14 grams of cocaine—a schedule W drug—is a Class B offense. Possession of any amount of heroin—also a schedule W drug—is a Class C offense. On the other hand, possession of a schedule Z drug is Class E offense. However, possession of an amount of marijuana above 8 ounces can be charged as a Class D, C or B offense, depending on the amount.
The possession and distribution of drugs constitute very serious offenses. Even cases in which the person accused of possessing drugs thinks of the quantity as only being for their personal use, or that they only “deal a little to support their own habit,” can be facing a distribution charge based on the quantity or circumstances of the arrest. Commonly, criminal drug cases are not built on a one-time arrest where the person arrested has an ounce in their pocket. Often, an arrest is the culmination of a months- or even years-long investigation involving multiple informants and co-defendants. Even if the police only arrested you with an ounce in your pocket, if your co-conspirators or organization dealt in larger quantities, those quantities can very likely be attributed to every defendant in the conspiracy, including folks with a very minor role.
At Lipman & Katz, we pride ourselves on our trial practice. Our lawyers have had many years of experience defending drug cases in state and federal courts. We strongly believe that every client is entitled to go to court if they wish. In some cases, the client may wish to strike a favorable plea arrangement. The lawyers at Lipman & Katz can assist here as well, but we never lose sight of our willingness to go to trial.
Trafficking of a scheduled drug is generally a more serious offense than mere possession. Trafficking means more than just selling, and can include making or manufacturing, growing or cultivating (except for marijuana), selling or bartering, and even possession with the intent to sell or barter.
The type and amount of drug possessed may also lead to a trafficking charge. Possession of 2 grams or more of heroin, or 90 or more bags or containers of heroin, is considered to be trafficking. Possession of certain amounts of certain drugs—such as more than one pound of marijuana or more than 14 grams of cocaine—can be used to infer the person was also trafficking the drugs. Trafficking of at least one pound of marijuana is a Class C offense; trafficking of cocaine is a Class B offense.