Drug Classifications and Types of Defenses Used In Drug Cases
Drug crimes are connected to controlled substances, involving illicit drugs in most cases. Illegal drugs are types of substances that were declared unlawful to use, possess, or even distribute without any authorization from federal or state laws. People entangled in cases related to controlled substances must work with an experienced drug defense lawyer to guide them through the legal justice system.
Illicit drugs are mostly categorized under groups which are called “schedules”. These schedules rank substances depending on how dangerous they could be to both individuals and society. Illegal drugs are subjected to intensive monitoring and control by the government. The intense government monitoring is implemented to ensure the protection of the general public against the effects of these drugs. The general law categorizes illegal drugs into schedules or categories. The schedules are known by numbers but it is classified as stimulants, narcotics, hallucinogens, cannabis, and depressants.
Classifications of Controlled Substances:
Stimulants are substances that have the ability to either excite or activate a person’s nervous system which generally produces more energy. Stimulants are highly addictive. Some of the known examples of stimulants are caffeine-based drugs, amphetamines, crack cocaine, and cocaine.
Narcotics are a type of substance that is used to control or relieve pain. It is addictive and induces sleep to the user. Some of the well-known narcotics are codeine and morphine.
Hallucinogens produce altered states of being. Substances under this classification can alter the way an individual perceives reality. Some of the most well-known examples of hallucinogens are mescaline, peyote, and LSD.
Cannabis is a drug category where the substances are directly created or taken from the hemp plant. The most known examples of cannabis are hashish, marijuana, and variants of synthetic marijuana.
Depressants are drugs that are used to reduce tension and anxiety. One of the main examples of this drug type is called barbiturates.
The creation, control, and distribution of the aforementioned drugs can be illegal. The illegality depends on the amount, type of drug, as well as the person’s intentions for having them. Some of the previously mentioned drugs are legal and used in the medical field. The major difference between an illegal and legal drug is the way the substance is used. If morphine is used to relieve pain from a patient, then it is used legally. However, if morphine is used for other purposes such as inducing sleep or to satisfy drug dependency makes it illegal to use.
Defenses to Drug Crimes
Whatever type of drug case a defendant faces, it is important that he or she works with an experienced drug defense lawyer to have a higher chance of leniency or even have the charges dropped. Some of the most common defenses that a lawyer can use for the defendant can be illegal search and seizure, police abuse of power, unwitting possession, or legal usage of the drug such as the “medical marijuana” defense.
When a lawyer uses unwitting possession as a defense, it means that the defendant has drugs in his or her possession without the knowledge of having it. An example of the defense under unwitting possession is a defendant renting a home from someone who hid drugs in the house. Some states allow the use of unwitting possession as a defense. Other states will only allow the unwitting possession defense if it has the condition that the defendant has no reason to know about the drugs. Nonetheless, some states do not allow the unwitting possession as a defense. The defendant who uses this defense has to prove they are an unwitting subject and must be backed up by evidence.
Illegal Search and Seizure
The “illegal search and seizure” can be deployed as a defense if the drug defense lawyer and the defendant could prove that the police have illegally obtained the evidence used in the case. The constitution of the United States bans law enforcers homes, properties, and automobiles of people without warrants, as well as probable cause. The evidence that the police may have illegally obtained can be suppressed in court proceedings. Since the evidence is deemed unusable due to the defense, the jury may not be able to see the evidence which means that the defendant cannot be convicted of any drug crime.
Police Abuse of Power
Police abuse of power has similarities to illegal search and seizure but it includes various unlawful methods that law enforcement used to prove the case. Some of the most common examples of police abuse of power include pressure tactics, planting evidence, or unauthorized surveillance. Nevertheless, the police can lie to the defendant when they promise leniency or as undercover agents.
The medical use as defense covers the medical marijuana prescription. This defense can be used depending on the state where the defendant is in. If the case is brought to a federal court or a state court where it does not recognize the legality of medical marijuana, the medical use defense is not applicable.
Drug crimes have severe penalties depending on the charges, the type of drug, amount, and intention of the defendant. The drug is a substance that anyone who gets dependent on it will have life-altering effects. Most of the time, the effects are bad. It does not only affect a person’s body but his or her relationships as well. Worse, the person’s entire life will have a criminal record that can affect any future opportunities which may arise.
Working with a specialized drug defense lawyer can help the defendant have better chances in court. First-time offenders can also have a chance to have their records expunged, depending on the nature of the offense. When the defense lawyer finds an appropriate defense based on facts of the case and applies to the client, it can make or break the case. This is why it is important that defendants look into the background of the attorney he or she will hire for the case. A good attorney can even get the charges dropped which is the best-case scenario for all defendants.