Drug Charges Lawyers in Overland Park, Kansas, Helping Clients Defend Against Drug Charges
Everyone makes mistakes, and addiction can make people do things they normally wouldn’t. If these actions result in being charged with drug crimes, you don’t have to try to fight them alone. It can feel like the legal system is a one-way conveyor belt when it comes to being charged and then convicted of a criminal offense, but this isn’t necessarily true. There are drug crime defense options, whether you’ve been charged with possession of heroin or something more serious like drug trafficking or manufacturing.
Being charged with a drug offense is serious. A drug crime conviction can have a serious impact on your future, from having to serve jail time to affecting what jobs you can get later on. It’s important to mount a rigorous defense against these allegations, and for that, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call the Overland Park office of Barnds Law LLC to find out what your options are and get help today.
What Are the Different Types of Drug Charges in Kansas?
It’s important to understand that there are many kinds of drug charges, and each charge carries different possible penalties. Drug charges can also be either misdemeanors or felonies, and it’s possible to face more than one type of charge based on one incident or arrest. Here are some of the most common drug charges.
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Possession with intent to distribute
- Drug trafficking
- Drug manufacturing
- Prescription fraud
If you have been charged with any of the above crimes or are facing other allegations involving illegal or controlled substances, it’s crucial that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
What Is a Controlled Substance?
A controlled substance is any type of illegal drug or a medication that requires a valid prescription. Common illegal drugs include heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and their derivatives. Prescription medications that are commonly bought and sold on the street that could carry drug charges if you don’t have a valid prescription usually include those in the opioid family, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, as well as benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium. Stimulant medications like Adderall may also be distributed illegally.
What Is the Difference Between Drug Possession, Intent to Distribute, and Drug Trafficking?
The majority of drug charges involve possession, intent to distribute, or trafficking. Below is a more detailed explanation of each of these drug crime charges.
To be charged with drug possession, you just need to be found with an illegal substance, a prescription medication that you don’t have a valid prescription for, or drug paraphernalia. To be limited to a simple possession drug crime, the amount of the substance needs to be small enough that it is only likely to be for personal use.
Intent to Distribute
If you are found with more than a personal use amount of a controlled substance, you could be charged with intent to distribute. This means that you are carrying enough of the drug that the officers believe that you were either planning on selling the drug or that someone else was going to sell the drug. Intent to distribute a controlled substance is a felony drug charge. How much of a substance needs to have been found to be charged with distributing over simple possession (or drug trafficking) depends on the substance. For example, a person would need to be carrying much less heroin than marijuana to be charged with intent to distribute.
Drug trafficking is one of the most serious felony drug charges. If you are charged with drug trafficking, it means that the authorities believe that you were transporting, selling, or otherwise taking part in distributing a large amount of an illegal or controlled substance.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Drug Charge Conviction in Kansas?
The potential penalties for drug charges in Kansas depend on the exact charge, whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, and whether the person has a previous drug conviction. For example, the penalties for a first-time marijuana possession charge will be much less severe than for someone who has a previous record and is charged with trafficking cocaine.
If you are convicted of a drug crime in the state of Kansas, you can face significant jail time. Some felony convictions, such as drug manufacturing, can even include life in prison. It’s also possible for a drug crime conviction to include having to pay a hefty fine.
Do I Have to Consent to a Search?
In most cases, police find a substance after a search of a person or their belongings, such as a backpack or a vehicle. There are many misconceptions about what cause officers need to be able to conduct a search and whether the person has to consent, but it’s important to clearly understand this aspect if you are stopped by police or have been charged with a crime after a search and seizure.
In general, an officer cannot search your person or your belongings without your consent unless there is probable cause. This means that if you are pulled over for a regular traffic stop, an officer can’t perform a search unless you provide verbal permission or they have a reason to believe that there are illegal substances in the vehicle. Possible probable cause reasons include:
- The officer observes the drugs or drug paraphernalia in plain view.
- The officer has reasonable belief that the person is involved in criminal activity or has evidence related to a crime.
- There is a clear smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle.
- A K-9 alerts to the presence of drugs in the car.
Any evidence that is disposed of in the course of a stop or arrest, such as throwing drugs out of a car before pulling over, can be obtained without consent or probable cause.
Can I Be Charged If Drugs Were Found in a Car and I Was the Passenger?
What happens if you are in a car that’s been pulled over and someone else had drugs in the car? Or what if you are at a house that is searched and drugs are found in the home? It is possible to be charged with drug possession in these cases, depending on the exact circumstances.
For example, if several people are in the backseat of a vehicle where drugs are found and no one admits to having them, it’s possible for all of the people in the vehicle to be charged. However, this doesn’t always happen. In some cases, officers may decide who to charge based on other factors, such as someone possessing matching drug paraphernalia or where the drugs were found in relation to where everyone was seated.
All of these factors can also impact your defense strategy, so it’s important to talk with an attorney about the facts of your case and be completely honest about every detail. Remember that anything you say to your attorney is protected, but it can give them valuable information in determining the right path forward for your defense.
Can I Participate in a Diversion Program?
If you do not have a prior criminal record, it may be possible to enter into a diversion program instead of serving jail time for possession. These programs allow you to complete specific requirements, and in exchange, the charges are withdrawn. You generally do have to initially plead guilty to be able to enter into a diversion program, but upon successful completion of the program, the plea is withdrawn. It’s important to understand that diversion isn’t applicable in all cases and that the judge has the ultimate authority on whether they believe that a diversion program is appropriate. Failure to comply with the conditions of the program could result in a drug conviction and subsequent sentencing.
If you are facing drug charges, and you are interested in finding out if a drug diversion program may be an option, a criminal defense attorney can give you more information. They can explain the pros and cons of a diversion program and ensure that you understand what’s involved. They can also provide legal counsel as to whether they believe that’s the right strategy for your case.
Do I Need an Attorney If I’m Charged With a Drug Crime?
In one word: absolutely. The severe penalties that accompany drug crime charges in the event of a conviction mean it’s vital that you protect your rights and future by working with an experienced criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about the options for drug crimes in Kansas. A felony conviction can follow you for the rest of your life, and it’s important to do everything you can to fight these kinds of charges.
An attorney may be able to call into question key evidence or police procedure, which can mean that some of the evidence against you may be thrown out. An attorney will discuss every detail of the case with you to find any facts or issues that can contribute to your defense. Lawyers also have the benefit of years of experience helping other clients with similar charges, and that means that they know what to look for and where the weak spots in the prosecutor’s case may be. In some situations, an attorney may be able to get the charges thrown out entirely, but even if not, working with a drug charges lawyer may help you get a lesser sentence.
The right defense strategy for a drug offense charge depends on the circumstances of the situation and the arrest, but there is help available. Call our office at 913-514-0909 to get in touch with an experienced drug charges attorney. A member of our team will talk with you about your case, discuss your legal options, and get started right away on your defense if you decide to move forward.