Finding The Best Criminal Defense Attorney

What are Drug Crimes?

Drug crimes are those in which controlled substances, such as illicit drugs are involved. Illicit drugs are substances that have been declared illegal to possess, use, or distribute without authorization under federal and/or state laws.

These drugs are typically classified under schedules that rank the drugs in terms of how dangerous they are to individuals, as well as society. Illicit drugs are subject to intensive control and monitoring by the government, in order to ensure that the general public is protected from the dangers of these drugs.

Most laws categorize illicit drugs into categories or schedules, including:

Narcotics: Narcotics are drugs used to relieve or control pain, and they are typically addictive and able to induce sleep. Examples of narcotics include morphine and codeine.

Stimulants: Stimulants are drugs that activate or excite the nervous system, and generally produce more energy. Stimulants are also highly addictive. Examples of stimulants include cocaine, crack cocaine, caffeine based drugs, and amphetamines.

Depressants: Depressants are substances intended to reduce tension and anxiety. One of the main examples of depressants are barbiturates.

Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens produce altered states of being, and change the way a person perceives reality. Examples include LSD, peyote, and mescaline.

Cannabis: The cannabis category or schedule refers to substances taken directly from, or created from, the hemp plant. Examples include marijuana, hashish, and synthetic marijuana variants.

 

Drug Possession Defenses

If you’re charged with possession of drugs, either for personal use or with intent to sell, a criminal defense attorney can determine which defenses might apply to your case. Some defenses challenge the stated facts, testimony or evidence in the case; others target procedural errors, and some defendants challenge drug possession charges on the basis of an affirmative defense.

Unlawful Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to due process of law, including lawful search and seizure procedures prior to an arrest. Search and seizure issues are common territory for drug possession defenses.

Illicit drugs found in “plain view,” such as a car’s dashboard after a legal traffic stop, may be seized and used as evidence. But drugs found in the trunk of a car after prying it open with a crowbar, (assuming the suspect didn’t give permission) can’t be entered into evidence. If the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated, then the drugs can’t be used at trial and the charges typically are dismissed.

Drugs Belong to Someone Else

A common defense to any crime charge is to simply say you didn’t do it. The drug possession equivalent is to claim the drugs aren’t yours or that you had no idea they were in your apartment. For instance, a skilled defense attorney will pressure prosecutors to prove that the joint found in the car belonged to their client and not one of the other passengers.

Crime Lab Analysis

Just because it looks like cocaine or LSD doesn’t mean it necessarily is. The prosecution must prove that a seized substance is indeed the illicit drug it claims it is by sending the evidence to a crime lab for analysis. The crime lab analyst then must testify at trial in order for the prosecution to make its case.

Missing Drugs

Another drug possession defense is that the drugs are missing. Similar to the need for crime lab analysis, prosecutors who lose or otherwise lack the actual drugs risk having their case dismissed. Seized drugs often get transferred several times before ending up in the evidence locker, so it should never be assumed that the evidence still exists during trial.

 

What Type Of Drug Charges Are Threatening Your Future?

A drug charge is more than a threat to your personal freedom – it can affect every area of your life, from getting the financial aid you need for college to securing a good job. We understand what is at stake, and we will fight for your best interests at every step. Our experience includes helping those charged with possession, manufacturing, distribution, and trafficking of the following types of drugs:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription drugs
  • Heroin

Your future is worth protecting, and you deserve to work with an attorney who will take your case seriously. We are genuinely compassionate allies, but we are also aggressive advocates in the courtroom. Our lawyers will keep you updated about the progress of your case and make sure you understand what is happening.

 

Potential Penalties For A Drug Crime Conviction

Every crime in Pennsylvania is given a gravity score, which indicates the seriousness of the crime. Using this factor and the number of convictions on your record, a judge uses a sentencing matrix to determine the appropriate penalty, which may be the minimum, maximum, or something in between.

law outlines potential penalties for each specific type of drug offense, including:

  • First-degree felony– 20 years in prison, and fines reaching $25,000
  • Second-degree felony– 10 years in prison, and fines reaching $25,000
  • Third-degree felony– Seven years in prison, and fines reaching $15,000
  • First-degree misdemeanor– Five years in jail, and a fine up to $10,000
  • Second-degree misdemeanor– Two years in jail, and a fine up to $5,000
  • Third-degree misdemeanor– One year in jail, and a fine up to $2,000

The drug crime penalty schedule is confusing, which is why it is essential to speak with a Pittsburgh drug crime attorney as soon as possible. By working with an experienced and trusted criminal defense lawyer from our firm, you have someone who can explain the law, the potential punishments, and whether or not you may qualify for a drug diversion program.

 

Drug Court

The Dallas County Drug Court program, also known as DIVERT (Diversion and Expedited Rehabilitation and Treatment) targets alleged felony offenders eligible for pre-trial release that have been charged with the following offenses:

Possession of a Controlled Substance (less than one gram),

Possession of Marijuana (more than 4 ounces, but less than five pounds), and

Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud (Prescription pill fraud or doctor shopping).

Individuals who have allegedly committed a delivery or manufacture of controlled substance offense, DWI offenders, offenders who have a history of assault, and individuals who have committed previous criminal offenses are not eligible for the DIVERT program.

The DIVERT program is generally three phases long and is about 12 to 18 months long. Individuals enrolled in the program go through substance abuse education, participation in education and employment services, in addition to an orientation and stabilization phase, intensive treatment phase, and a transition and graduation phase.

If the alleged offender successfully completes the program, their case will be dismissed. However, if the alleged offender fails to successfully complete the program, their case will be presented for prosecution.

Is A Family Law Attorney Right For You

Tips For Choosing The Best Family Lawyer

How Do You Find The Best Family Lawyer

Choosing the best family lawyer during your divorce is very important, helping you reach the best outcome, understand the process and make the most appropriate decisions.

Not many people facing a marriage break-up have previous experience in legal matters of any kind, much less in the legal aspects of a divorce, so it can be difficult to know exactly how to go about finding the right person to guide you through the process.

Start Looking As Early As Possible

Deciding which lawyer you want to help you through this significant and often difficult life change is not something you want to do in a rush. As soon as you think you might need a family lawyer, start searching for one that suits your needs.

Ask Around or Check Reviews

Approach the search for the best family lawyer as you would the search for any other professional: ask friends and family members whether they know any lawyers that they can recommend.

Choose An Expert

Family law is complex and constantly changing, with new cases that can set precedents and change how judges respond to other cases in the future.

 

Family Law: Selecting a Good Lawyer

Your divorce or custody battle is as unique as your family’s circumstances. It’s important to find the right lawyer for your particular case. A good lawyer can help you navigate the murky waters of divorce and can help you feel confident about your decisions. By contrast, an ill-equipped or inexperienced lawyer may end up complicating your case. But what kind of lawyer should you hire and where do you start?

What Type of Legal Assistance Do I Need?

If you’re filing for divorce, it’s obvious that you’ll want to hire an attorney who’s experienced in family law rather than personal injury or probate matters. In other words, you’ll want someone who knows how to handle your divorce case and can speak from experience. Yet it’s still important to decide why you want to hire an attorney in the first place. Your reasons for hiring a lawyers will factor into the type of attorney that’s best equipped to handle your case

These are all very different reasons for wanting an attorney on your side, and a different type of attorney will fit each of these circumstances. Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for in an attorney, you’re ready to begin the search.

How Do I Narrow My Search?

While an online search engine or your local bar association are both great places to begin looking, you may need to do more research to find the right attorney for your case. Many online search tools will group attorneys by practice areas and location. Once you’ve found a family law attorney in your area, check out the prospective attorneys’ websites. Do you think the website is tasteful? Does the attorney look professional? It can also be helpful to ask around and see if anyone in your network knows a prospective divorce attorney.

Interviewing Potential Attorneys

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a handful of attorneys, you’ll want to meet with each lawyer in person. Be aware that some attorneys charge an initial consultation fee. You should bring relevant divorce paperwork and information to your first meeting with a lawyer. An attorney needs to understand your circumstances to make an accurate assessment of your case

 

TIPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT FAMILY LAWYER

Finding a family lawyer can be difficult because few people have experience with the legal process. Doing your homework will pay off in the long run when you find a lawyer that is the best fit for your family. Here’s some information to help you get started.

Be Realistic

Your attorney’s role is to represent you in a legal process, not be your therapist.

Stay Focused

Understand your goal, whether it’s divorce, division of property, or adopting a child. Focus on the goal and find a Calgary family lawyer who can help you achieve it.

Consider Your Options

Depending on your goal, there may be other options besides traditional litigation. Mediation and arbitration are a couple other options that are more private.

Identity Potential Lawyers

Ask for recommendations and go online to find a few potential Calgary divorce lawyers to consider.

 

How to Choose a Family Law Attorney

If you are getting a divorce or preparing for a custody hearing, then an experienced family law attorney can be an invaluable asset. Family law attorneys represent clients in court for a variety of reasons. They also draft legal documents, such as parenting plans, prenuptial agreements, and surrogacy contracts. If you need a family law attorney, then you should gather referrals and research the prospective attorneys before scheduling a consultation.

Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations. You should ask people you know if they have needed a family law attorney and if they would recommend their lawyer. Personal referrals are often the best way to get leads

Request a referral from another attorney. A lawyer who does not practice family law is another great source of referrals. He or she should be familiar with the reputations of lawyers in the local community and can point you in the direction of a lawyer who is sufficiently qualified to handle your case

Contact your state’s bar association. Many state bar associations run referral programs. You can search the referral programs for lawyers based on areas of expertise and location. In states where the bar association does not run a referral program, county-wide referral programs are often available

Look at websites. Most lawyers now have websites. You should find the website by doing a web search. For attorneys with common names, you should search “the name” and “lawyer” plus the county or city where the attorney practices

 

Tips on How To Choose the Right Family Lawyer

Family law matters can be some of the most stressful and emotional experiences we go through in our lives. This makes the task of choosing the right family lawyer one which demands careful thought and research.

According to the old adage, “you can’t choose your family.” You can however choose the lawyer or solicitors in family matters. In fact, your choice can determine how smoothly such proceedings can go and can be a critical factor in achieving a successful outcome.

Even for those who have experience in dealing with complex legal matters, family law can be a whole new kettle of fish. As someone who has gone through the family law ‘adventure’ I know what can happen.  For those who have thus far managed to avoid legal matters in their life may panic, hitting search engines with multiple “family law manchester,” or “solicitors newcastle,” or some such search that sees them often too stressed to even capitalise their searches.

Finding the right family lawyer can be a nightmare due to the emotion of what is being dealt with quite apart from sifting through legal profiles and information about ‘great’ family lawyers. When looking for the right firm, patience is truly a virtue. It may also save the hassle of making a rash decision in a panic.

Know exactly what you are looking for: Why do you need a family lawyer? Are you getting a divorce or is there a dispute over child access with your former spouse? If you cannot clearly communicate to a professional what you need, the process may be one which is drawn out more than it has to be.