The use of cocaine, like most other controlled substances, is a misdemeanor charge. However, possession of over a gram or possession to sell cocaine is a serious felony charge. If you have been charged with possession of cocaine, it is important to talk to a lawyer early in the process so that the facts can be fully investigated and every possible defense explored.
Often these charges come up after a “confidential informant” has assisted law enforcement officers in arranging a sale. Sometimes these confidential informants are working with police because they are facing possession charges themselves and have agreed to arrange a certain number of sales to avoid being prosecuted. Prosecutors do not like to disclose the identifying information of such confidential informants, and this can sometimes be used to try to get cases resolved short of a trial.
Another way to challenge the prosecution of these cases is by attacking the manner in which the law enforcement officers came to find the cocaine (i.e. the search and seizure of the substance). If the officers are found to have violated the accused rights as they located and seized the substance, the court will suppress the substance and not allow the inappropriately located and seized items to be used as evidence against the accused.
In addition to the penalties commonly associated with a cocaine conviction, like prison terms and substance abuse counseling, there are other considerations that must be taken into account, like the “drug offender surcharge,” which can be several thousand dollars, or repayment of “buy money” that law enforcement may have spent to build their case. Additionally, whether a gun was found close to the substances (working or not), whether any sale was made within 1,000 feet of a school, and other considerations must be taken into account to fully represent someone charged with these offenses. Only a lawyer familiar with all of the issues can adequately represent a person facing these serious charges.
The lawyers at Miller & Harrison, LLC are experienced in handling these types of cases – from minor possession to dealing large amounts of the drug.