State and federal prisons nationwide are filled with individuals who were convicted of possession of a controlled substance. In New Mexico, roughly 700 people are convicted each year on drug possession charges. If you or someone you love is arrested for possession of a controlled substance, it is perfectly normal to worry. These are serious charges that carry with them the potential for long prison sentences and stiff fines. Offenders might be forced to attend drug rehabilitation programs as part of their sentencing if convicted.
New Mexico classifies well-known drugs like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana as controlled substances. Other drugs that fall into this category are Ecstasy, Methamphetamines, and prescription narcotics (pain killers). There are five classifications of controlled substances, called “schedules.” Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous and highly-addictive and have no recognized medical value. They carry the highest penalties if you are convicted of having them in your possession. New Mexico Statute 30&31-5-10 spells out the classifications of controlled substances.
Compounds that are used in the manufacturing and mass production of controlled substances carry different charges and penalties. This can include:
Clients who are facing any of these charges in addition to a drug possession charge will want to consult with a top-notch criminal defense attorney with a proven track record. The skilled team of lawyers at Cameron & Russell are equipped to handle the extra need.
The best thing you can do is to refuse to speak to the authorities until an attorney is present. You have the right to request an attorney be present during any questioning. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will ensure your rights are protected throughout the process and advise you on how much you are required to cooperate with police during an active investigation. The biggest mistake people make after being arrested for possession of a controlled substance is waiting too long to retain legal counsel. No matter how educated or well-spoken you are, it is never a good idea to think you can represent your own best interests. The sooner you call in the team at Cameron & Russell the better.
Experienced drug defense lawyers like those at Cameron & Russell can help mount an effective defense against drug possession charges. We must be contacted as soon as possible to increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
Mistakes made by law enforcement when making a drug arrest often can be used to effectively defend against the charges. Some of the most common errors include:
We do not always need to rely on mistakes made by law enforcement to successfully defend against drug possession charges. We also can examine whether our clients have a provable alibi or providing evidence the drugs belonged to another person. The team at Cameron & Russell does not believe in a cookie-cutter approach to defense against possession of controlled substances charges. We take the time to learn the ins and outs of your case before determining the best strategy for defending against the charges.
Punishment, if convicted, depends on several factors. One of those factors is the classification or “schedule” of the controlled substance. First-time offenders may receive more lenient sentencing and fines in lieu of attending and successfully completing a drug rehabilitation program. Offenders who are arrested in a school zone for possession of a controlled substance are subject to stiffer penalties under the “Drug-Free School Zone” statute, which increases the charge to a first-class felony.
A conviction for possession of a controlled substance becomes part of your permanent criminal record. This means it can adversely affect your ability to get hired, find housing, or be approved for financial aid or other financial assistance. If you are convicted of a felony drug possession charge, you could even lose your right to vote or own a firearm.
Bill Russell and Marcus Cameron are the faces behind Cameron & Russell. We go the extra mile for our clients to pursue personal injury claims and provide criminal defense. We approach every case with a fresh eye to detail and the determination to represent our clients to the fullest extent the law allows. We passionately defend clients facing criminal charges, and relentlessly seek out fair compensation for personal injury claims. No matter your situation, we promise to tirelessly represent your legal needs.
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