If you were arrested for drug possession, drug sales, possession of drug paraphernalia, or another substance-related crime, you could be facing severe penalties. Law enforcement in this state takes drug crimes seriously.
A guilty plea or conviction on a drug charge will stay on your record forever unless you get a pardon. A drug conviction could limit your future opportunities for education, employment, housing, professional licensing, and even international travel.
Contact a New Haven drug lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. A defense attorney at Ruane Attorneys could work to protect your rights and formulate a strategy to secure a favorable outcome in your case.
The Severity of Drug Charges in New Haven
Connecticut has complex drug laws. Prosecutors must consider multiple factors when making charging decisions, and penalties vary widely depending on the circumstances. As in most states, first offenders face less harsh penalties than people with prior convictions for a similar crime. Crimes involving larger quantities of drugs carry more significant penalties and might be subject to mandatory minimum sentences.
If a drug crime occurred within 1500 feet of a school or daycare facility, the offender faces a mandatory minimum three-year jail sentence in addition to the penalty for the underlying crime. Connecticut General Statutes §21a-278a(c) also requires a mandatory minimum three-year jail sentence if the offense involves hiring someone under 18 to sell illegal drugs.
Drug Possession Charges
Most drug crimes in the state relate to possessing controlled substances for personal use or with intent to distribute. There are multiple factors in determining whether the charge will be personal use or intent to distribute. These include the quantity of the substance, whether it was packaged for sale, and the presence of drug paraphernalia indicating the accused was a user.
For a prosecutor to demonstrate that someone is guilty of drug possession, they must prove that the individual knew what the substance was, knew where it was, and had control over it. A defendant and their drug lawyer could argue that they did not know how an illegal substance got into their car. If the defendant routinely drove other people in their vehicle, a prosecutor would likely need to produce additional evidence to prove that the accused was aware of the drugs.
Defenses to Substance-Related Charges
Police search procedures and interrogation strategies sometimes raise Constitutional issues. A New Haven drug attorney could review the circumstances of a search and arrest. If there is evidence that the police violated a suspect’s rights, a lawyer could ask the court to suppress any evidence resulting from the illegal police conduct.
Asserting the evidence is insufficient to merit conviction is often a winning defense strategy. A defender could question the truthfulness of witnesses, propose alternative explanations for factual evidence, and challenge any assumptions that might have guided law enforcement. If an insufficient evidence defense raises reasonable doubt in the mind of just one juror, the jury must find the accused not guilty.
Drug dependency is an affirmative defense to drug crimes. If an accused person can establish that they have at least three of the indicators of drug dependency as defined in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a judge has the discretion to consider alternative sentencing options focused on rehabilitation. Prosecutors often will decline to prosecute a drug-dependent person if they agree to participate in a drug diversion program.
Trust a New Haven Attorney to Defend Your Drug Crime Charges
An arrest on drug charges is terrifying, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The most important is to contact a New Haven drug lawyer immediately.
The legal team at Ruane Attorneys could evaluate the evidence and prepare a robust strategy to defeat the charges. Do not try to handle a drug charge without professional guidance—call today to speak with an attorney who will fight for you.