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Drug Crimes – An Overview

Drug crimes cover a broad range of offenses involving controlled substances, from possession and sale to manufacture and distribution. These crimes involve violations of federal or state law, or both. Depending on the particular circumstances of a case, these offenses can result in a broad range of potential criminal and administrative consequences, including probation, prison, property forfeiture and participation in a court-ordered drug treatment program.

Though more severe charges typically result in harsher penalties, even less serious charges, such as possession of a small amount of a controlled substance, may have severe consequences, especially if prior convictions, firearms, activity near protected zones (e.g., schools and parks), or minors are involved. If you have been charged with a drug crime, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney at our firm to discuss your legal options.

Federal Drug Crimes

The majority of cases in federal courts in Wisconsin are drug offenses.  Federal cases involve  complicated sentencing guidelines and stiff mandatory minimum penalties.  The procedures are much different than in state courts and require experienced representation to help make difficult choices.

If you are facing federal drug charges, consult with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at our firm for advice on the law, your rights and how to proceed.

Searches and Seizures in Drug Cases

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Particularly in drug cases, the legality of how law enforcement officials obtained the evidence used to support the State’s case is a central and often-challenged issue. If the government’s conduct violated the Fourth Amendment, the evidence is deemed inadmissible. Without the necessary evidence to prove the criminal charges, the State may have to dismiss its case against a defendant. If you have been charged with a drug crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney at our firm can advise you whether the evidence leading the charge may have resulted from an illegal search or seizure.

Criminal and Civil Forfeiture

Forfeiture is the government seizure of property connected to illegal activity. Utilized by the federal and state law enforcement in the ongoing “war on drugs,” the practice has not been without controversy. Law enforcement has asserted that it is a necessary and effective deterrent to drug crime, while opponents argue that existing procedural safeguards result in too many innocent parties having their property taken away, with little or no recourse for recovery. If your property or assets have been the subject of a criminal or civil forfeiture, it is important to consult with an experienced forfeiture defense attorney to understand your rights and options.

Alternatives to Incarceration in Drug Cases

Since the late 1980s, there has been a dramatic shift in the approach of the American justice system toward drug crimes. Drug courts, which operate or are being planned in all 50 states, offer an alternative to traditional incarceration. By providing a structure that emphasizes substance abuse treatment and on-going supervision, drug courts aim to rehabilitate and reduce repeat offenses. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney at our firm to learn the range of alternatives to jail that may be available to you.