If you have been found to be in possession of cocaine, you could face a variety of penalties including jail time or a fine. The severity of the crimes depends on the amount of cocaine in your possession as well as your previous criminal record. Let’s take a look at the elements of a cocaine possession charge as well as what an attorney can do to help.
The Elements of a Cocaine Possession Charge
To be charged with possession of cocaine, a prosecutor must be able to show that you were in control of the substance. Furthermore, it must be shown that you were knowingly in control of it. For example, if you thought that you were carrying a pouch of sugar, it is unlikely that the charge will stick.
It is also possible for a person to be charged with constructive possession of a drug such as cocaine. This could be true if it was found in a van that you were in at the time of a traffic stop or a home that you shared with another person. Of course, this only applies if all criteria for proving the crime occurred were met.
Authorities could decide to charge you with drug trafficking if you have many pounds of cocaine in your possession. Other evidence that you intend to traffic large quantities of a controlled substance include the presence of scales, log books or plane tickets to other countries.
What Are Some Possible Penalties for Cocaine Possession?
Penalties for cocaine possession could be enhanced if it is believed that you intended to sell or distribute the drug. For example, a distribution charge may be added if the drugs were separated into baggies or if you had more than what would be enough for personal use. If you are convicted of a possession with intent to distribute charge, you could spend many years in prison.
Someone in Tennessee who was convicted of this charge might spend up to 30 years behind bars. Other potential penalties could include a temporary loss of voting rights or an inability to buy or possess guns in the future. Fines could range from $250 to $250,000 depending on whether you face a state or federal charge.
How Can an Attorney Help?
An attorney may be able to help an individual in a variety of different ways. First, he or she could ask that evidence such as a blood test be suppressed because it was improperly conducted. Second, an attorney could cast doubt on the veracity of a police report or witness testimony in a case. Finally, legal counsel could work to negotiate a plea bargain in a given matter.
A plea bargain could result in the charge being reduced to a lesser crime. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony, you may be able to keep your gun, spend less time in prison and pay less in fines and other penalties. However, you are never required to accept a plea bargain if your desire is to go to trial instead.
If you have been charged with cocaine possession or related charges, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel. An attorney will be able to provide more insight into the law as it relates to your case. He or she will also be able to help you learn more about your rights and how to preserve them throughout the legal process.