Nassau County Drug Trafficking Lawyers
Getting charged with a drug crime in Nassau County can turn your life upside down. Even a minor possession charge can lead to heavy fines, probation, loss of driving privileges, and a permanent criminal record. More serious charges like trafficking or distribution carry years in prison.
You need an experienced Nassau County drug crimes lawyer on your side to fight the charges. The stakes are high, so you want someone who knows the local courts and prosecutors. A good lawyer can often get charges reduced or even dismissed.
This article will break down how drug cases work in Nassau County and what defenses you may have. I’ll also talk about the process after an arrest and how a lawyer can help.
Common Drug Charges in Nassau County
Under New York law, drug crimes are divided into degrees based on the type and amount of drugs involved. Some common charges include:
- Criminal possession – Possessing illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc. Charges range from misdemeanors to felonies depending on the amount. Even residue can lead to charges.
- Possession with intent to distribute – Possessing larger amounts of drugs packaged for sale. Automatically a felony.
- Criminal sale of a controlled substance – Selling or exchanging illegal drugs. Includes offers or agreements to sell. A felony.
- Drug trafficking – Knowingly transporting illegal drugs into New York. Big fines and up to 25 years in prison even for first offenses.
Marijuana is illegal in New York outside of medical use. Possession of small amounts is a violation, while larger quantities can lead to misdemeanors or felonies.
Penalties for Drug Crimes
A drug conviction in Nassau County can have severe consequences:
- Up to 1 year in jail for misdemeanors
- State prison from 1 to 25+ years for felonies
- Fines up to $100,000
- Permanent criminal record
- Loss of driving privileges
- Deportation for non-citizens
- Probation and mandatory drug counseling
- Asset forfeiture
Penalties get harsher with larger amounts and for repeat offenders. Even simple possession can ruin your life.
Common Defenses for Drug Charges
A skilled Nassau County drug crimes lawyer will examine the details of your case to craft a defense strategy. Here are some common defenses that could get charges reduced or dismissed:
- Illegal search – If police didn’t have probable cause or a warrant to search you, vehicle, or home, any evidence found may be suppressed. A good way to beat the charges.
- Misidentification – The drugs actually belonged to someone else. Eyewitness mistakes happen frequently.
- Entrapment – You were pressured into committing the crime by an undercover officer or informant.
- Lack of knowledge – You didn’t know about the drugs or that they were illegal. Prosecutors must prove you knowingly possessed them.
- Medical necessity – You possessed marijuana for legitimate medical purposes.
An attorney may also scrutinize the police procedures, chain of custody, testing methods, and other areas to expose reasonable doubt. Don’t plead guilty without exploring defenses first.
The Arrest Process in Nassau County
If you get arrested on drug charges, here’s a quick rundown of what happens:
- You’ll be searched, photographed, fingerprinted, and held until arraignment.
- At your arraignment, you’ll be formally charged and can enter a plea. The judge decides on bail.
- If you can’t afford bail, you’ll await trial in jail unless your lawyer can get bail lowered or waived.
- Prosecutors have 90 days to indict felony charges or 30 days for misdemeanors.
- Your lawyer will request evidence from prosecutors during discovery.
- You may be offered a plea bargain to avoid trial. An attorney can negotiate the best deal.
- If no plea is reached, your case proceeds to trial.
Don’t say anything to police without your lawyer present. What you say can be used against you.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A Nassau County drug crimes lawyer is your best chance at beating serious charges:
- They know how to get weak cases dismissed before trial.
- They can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or probation instead of jail time.
- They understand complex drug laws and sentencing guidelines.
- They can challenge questionable evidence and police conduct.
- They work to get excessive bail amounts reduced.
- They advise you on possible plea bargains and their consequences.
- They represent you aggressively at trial if necessary.
Don’t take chances with your future. Hire a lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest. Look for someone experienced with drug cases and a record of success. It’s a difficult process, but the right lawyer can help you get through it.
Finding the Right Lawyer
Choosing the right lawyer is crucial to the outcome of your case. Here are some tips:
- Find someone experienced specifically with Nassau County drug cases. Local knowledge is invaluable.
- Ask about their track record with similar charges. Have they gotten charges dismissed or reduced?
- Make sure they will personally handle your case, not just hand you off to an associate.
- Find someone you feel comfortable with and who listens to your concerns. You’ll be working closely.
- Avoid lawyers who make unrealistic promises or pressure you to plead guilty right away.
- Ask what their fees are upfront. Avoid paying retainers until you check their background.
- Search online for client reviews and ratings. The New York State Bar also provides disciplinary records.
Take time to research options thoroughly. Meet with a few lawyers before deciding. The right one will fight relentlessly on your behalf.