Possession of a controlled or illegal substance is, of course, a crime in the state of Indiana. The Indiana legal code defines “a controlled” substance, but it isn’t always as clear what it means to be “in possession” of that substance. Does the drug have to be on your person, near you, or found when you are present? These are all questions that have been discussed in drug-related charges.
Over many years of drug cases, the definition of possession has been defined more and more clearly by opinions issued through the evaluation of cases brought up by appeal. If you have been charged with a drug crime, the more you know about what constitutes possession, the more effectively you and your criminal lawyer can mount a successful defense.
Most of the drug crimes in Indiana are successfully defended by knowing just how possession is portrayed and proven. Often, it is up to the state of Indiana to prove that the defendant was in “possession” of the controlled substance to get a conviction.
It is not nearly as simple as it may sound. For example, in some cases, you can be in possession of a controlled substance even if you are not present. As ludicrous as that may sound, it is only through the in-depth, decisive, and personal dissection of your unique that your criminal lawyer can defend you properly.
How is a Drug Crime Defined in Indiana?
In Indiana “drug crimes” cover a broad range of chargeable offenses, from simple possession of small amounts of marijuana to the possession and dealing of large amounts of heroin, methamphetamines, and prescription drugs. Just as the vast differences in drug offenses vary, so do the charges and associated penalties that could be handed down. First-time offenders may be dealt with much more leniently than those that have a substantial drug-related record.
It is possible that penalties for a first-time marijuana possession charge may not even have any jail time. But on the contrary, dealing in large amounts of controlled substances or illegal drugs like cocaine may result in years behind bars.
For clarity, it is a crime to use, possess, manufacture, or distribute drugs classified as having a potential for abuse. Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and amphetamines are examples of drugs classified to be subject to abuse. It may also be possible to be charged with a drug offense simply by having prescription drugs that are not yours. The type of prescription drug, amounts, intent, etc. all play a part in the “drug crime” equation.
What Should I Do First If I am Charged With a Drug Crime?
Recent changes to Indiana laws may have reduced the potential penalties for certain drug crimes. Possession and sale of narcotics are still taken very seriously though. If you’ve been charged with even a minor crime, you’ll still need a reputable criminal defense attorney to fight on your behalf.
If you are convicted of some seemingly minor offenses, you could potentially face thousands of dollars in fines, some jail time, possible job loss, loss of financial aid, or even your right to stay in the country, if you’re not a U.S. citizen.
Felony drug crimes are highly complicated to defend. They can be difficult to understand, and all the details, facts, circumstances, etc. have to be presented to the court in a factual, concise, and organized manner. An example of the complex nature of these crimes is Indiana’s legal code list of “Enhancing Circumstances.” These “Enhancing Circumstances” can be used by Indiana prosecutors to increase the felony level of drug crimes.
Some of these include:
- location of a transaction or an arrest
- prior drug-related convictions
- If a child, or minor, was present during the offense
For instance, you can be charged with a higher level felony simply for possessing drugs within 500 feet of school property even if no children were present. As well, if you are convicted of dealing narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine you also can face a wide range of possible consequences depending on certain aggravating circumstances.
Retaining an experienced drug crimes attorney quickly is crucial. These cases are complex and the consequences can be very severe. Your entire quality, style of life, family, job, and future are at stake.
Remember that You Still Have Rights
When you are charged with a drug crime, at first it may seem that all hope is lost. Just keep in mind that you do have rights. Although drug cases are complex, your defense attorney can help you no matter the circumstance. There are usually ways to mount a defense to lessen the offense or possibly modify the charges.
Examples of possible areas for a defense:
- Lack of actual possession of the substance. Your criminal defense lawyer, in knowing the details of the case and arrest, might find adequate evidence to suggest you didn’t have actual possession of the drug.
- Lack of actual intent may be able to be proven by your lawyer. A good number of drug crimes need to have intent proven. If your attorney can show that intent to commit a crime was not there, it may help significantly.
- If the search and seizure were illegal, your attorney has more ammunition for your defense. You have constitutional rights and they must be upheld or evidence may be thrown out completely.
Regardless of what you think might happen, there are many reasons to hope for the best and believe that you and your drug crimes attorney can work to obtain an overall satisfactory conclusion in your case.