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A charge of drug conspiracy or intent to distribute drugs carries much harsher penalties than a drug-possession charge. Federal and state drug laws are more strict when the prosecutor has reason to believe that a drug sale or distribution was going to occur.
The Charles Johnson Law Firm, located in Houston, TX, is experienced in defending against drug conspiracy and intent to distribute charges. Contact Houston Criminal Lawyer Johnson anytime day or night to speak with a skilled attorney who has a proven record of success with drug cases.
Intent to Distribute Drugs Criminal Defense
Possession of a large amount of cash, baggies, paraphernalia or a scale all could lead to a charge of drug conspiracy or intent to sell drugs. The prosecutor will use that evidence to argue your possession could only mean you had the intent to distribute the drugs to someone else.
With our significant criminal defense experience in federal and state court, we know how to prepare a successful defense against drug crimes. We may be able to challenge the search or seizure to suppress the evidence against you if you are charged with intent to distribute the following drugs:
- Meth or methamphetamine
- Prescription drugs
If the evidence against you was lawfully obtained, Houston Drug Lawyer Johnson is also an experienced negotiator. Through negotiating and plea-bargaining, you may receive a less-serious punishment or an alternative punishment. Either in trial or in negotiations with the prosecutor, Attorney Johnson will provide personalized service aimed at obtaining an outcome favorable to your situation.
Experienced Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
With a thorough investigation and aggressive defense, we pursue the dismissal or reduction of the charges. Our goal is to preserve your freedom while minimizing any jail time or fines.
Definition of Conspiracy
A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime, and in order for a conspiracy to exist, the conspirators would have to perform at least one “overt act” in an attempt to accomplish the purpose of the conspiracy. It is not necessary for the conspiracy to be successful, that is, for the object of the conspiracy to have been accomplished, and it is only necessary that one overt act be completed (even if the overt act is actually a failure in terms of what the overt act was supposed to accomplish).
Federal Indictments for drug cases most usually allege a conspiracy under Title 21, U.S. Code §846, the conspiracy statute for Title 21 violations. Such a conspiracy is usually plead in the Indictment as a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, a conspiracy to manufacture controlled substances, or a combination of all of these. Quite often, Indictments in federal drug trafficking cases will allege these two allegations/objects of the conspiracy: 1) to distribute, and 2) to possess with intent to distribute.
Generally, conspiracy is considered a common law offense. A civil conspiracy is an agreement between two or more parties to deprive a third party of legal rights or deceive a third party to obtain an illegal objective. The essence of civil conspiracy is damages. The main elements constituting a civil conspiracy are:
- An object to be accomplished,
- Meeting of minds on the objective or course of action,
- One or more overt acts,
- Further, proof of malice or an intent to injure, can be included as essential elements.
However, conspiracy is treated as a crime under many jurisdictions when a conspiracy to commit a particular offense occurs. The crime of conspiracy is defined as two or more persons conspiring to commit any crime, together with proof of the commission of an overt act to effect an objective of the agreement.
A conspirator remains a participant in the conspiracy unless and until s/he communicates a decision to renounce the agreement. Likewise, a person who joins a conspiracy after its formation is equally guilty with the original conspirators. It is to be noted that a conspirator is liable for the acts of his/her co-conspirators.
There are various elements that constitute conspiracy. A criminal conspiracy will be complete if it fulfills the following main elements:
- An agreement about the objective of the conspiracy;
- Specific intent to achieve that object;
- An overt act in furtherance of the agreement.
- Conspirators are jointly liable in conspiracy. If a defendant claims that s/he was not present at the time of the alleged conspiracy, or if s/he was unaware about the means to be employed for committing conspiracy, or defendant was put under coercion by the co-conspirator to commit conspiracy, these will not amount to a defense in criminal conspiracy.
By definition, as referenced above, a conspiracy necessarily includes an agreement between persons to perform, or attempt to perform, an illegal act, i.e., possess large quantities of an illegal drug with the intent to distribute it to others (possess with intent to distribute), or actual transactions where the illegal drugs are transferred to other persons (distribution). Because of the nature of such allegations, it is common place for some defendants to know other defendants in the Indictment, and to even have had contact with them regarding the allegations.
However, it is also common to find that many defendants of a multi-defendant Indictment do not even know many other defendants, especially those “down the line” in the Indictment. That is, if many persons, say, twenty (20) or more, are indicted, often a defendant anywhere in the Indictment may not know those who are listed as say number ten (10) or lower. Frequently, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will include many persons who are allegedly involved in the distribution chain of the controlled substances, and those who are allegedly involved in the collection of monies for the same. This scenario often leaves one, two, or three persons named near the top of the Indictment as the supposed common link(s) between them and various others in the Indictment.
A conspiracy allegation is generally easier for the government to prove than substantive counts, as the evidence needed to prove a conspiracy would have to show that there was an agreement and at least one person performed or attempted to perform an overt act to further the object of the conspiracy. A conspiracy count often is more attractive to a federal prosecutor who has some, but limited evidence, on a defendant.
Elements of the Crime
The crime of conspiracy is defined as two or more persons conspiring to commit any crime, together with proof of the commission of an overt act in furtherance by one or more of the parties to such agreement. However, mere association of two or more persons will not constitute a criminal conspiracy. The main elements of conspiracy are a specific intent, an agreement with another person to engage a crime to be performed, and the commission of an overt act by one of the conspirators in furtherance of the conspiracy.
An unlawful agreement is an element of a criminal conspiracy. Generally, the crime of conspiracy is complete when parties enter into a conspiratorial agreement. Moreover, if there is an agreement between two or more persons for an unlawful purpose, it is considered a criminal conspiracy even where there is no agreement regarding the details of the criminal scheme or the means by which the unlawful purpose will be accomplished. The agreement will determine whether single or multiple conspiracies exist between the parties. A single conspiratorial agreement will constitute a single criminal conspiracy and multiple agreements to commit separate crimes will constitute multiple conspiracies.
Similarly, conspiracy is considered a specific intent crime. A specific intent crime is one in which a person acts with knowledge of what he/she is doing and also with the objective of completing some unlawful act. The intent can be determined from words, acts, and conduct. If the conspirators agree or conspire with specific intent to kill and commit an overt act in furtherance of such agreement, then they are guilty of conspiracy to commit express malice murder.
Another element that constitutes criminal conspiracy is knowledge. To be more specific, to make a person liable for criminal conspiracy as a coconspirator, he/she must have knowledge of the existence of the conspiracy and knowledge of the illegal object of the conspiracy. At the same time, a person having no knowledge of a conspiracy cannot be considered a conspirator.
Hire the Best Drug Conspiracy Criminal Defense Lawyer in Houston
Similarly, in order to satisfy the statute, the government must prove that a conspirator committed an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. A conspiracy conviction requires proof of the commission of at least one overt act by one of the conspirators within the five-year statutory period in furtherance of the conspiratorial agreement.
In federal Indictments, in addition to conspiracy counts, often the government charges specific events of transfers of illegal drugs, referred to in the federal system as “distribution(s).” In various state court Indictments, such transfers of drugs are known as “deliveries.” These charges are much more specific as to what occurred and when it happened. That is, a distribution count in the federal Indictment concisely alleges that on a certain date, a named defendant distributed a certain amount of a controlled substance to another named person or a government agent.
Possession With Intent to Distribute Charges
Like a specifically-pled distribution count, a substantive count alleging possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance more specifically (than the wording in a conspiracy) states the date, quantity, persons involved and sometimes the location. The element of the crime “with intent to distribute” has to be proven just as the other elements of the alleged crime, including possession and controlled substance. The government will attempt to prove the element “with intent to distribute” in one of two ways: 1) the quantity alone can show that it was much more than personal use amounts; and/or 2) testimony from cooperators who have knowledge of the discussions and plans of the co-defendants.
A person can be charged with manufacturing a controlled substance under Title 21 of the United States Code, but more commonly any allegation of manufacturing will be alleged in a conspiracy.
Defenses for a Conspiracy Charge
Entrapment is a defense available in conspiracy cases. A defendant can make an entrapment defense by stating that s/he was persuaded and induced by a law enforcement officer or agent to participate in a conspiracy and that s/he had no previous intention to conspire. In such cases, the conviction is excluded by the court as a matter of policy.
However, the defense of entrapment will not be available to a defendant who avails him/herself of the benefit of the opportunity provided to him by the government official with an intention to commit conspiracy. But if there is evidence to show that the intention to participate in a conspiracy was the result of the persuasion or inducement from the government official then a defendant will not be convicted.
A defendant who takes the defense of entrapment must show the following:
- that the idea of conspiracy came from the government official and not from the defendant;
- that the government official persuaded or induced the defendant to commit the crime; and
- that before inducement, the defendant was not ready to commit the crime.
- A defendant who becomes successful in proving an entrapment will be exempted from being punished for conspiracy. However, the defendant will not be exempted if the defendant was part of a conspiracy group of more that two persons. In this case, the defendant can get an exemption only if the other conspirators testify to the defendant’s entrapment.
If the objective of the conspiracy is of a nature that it was to be performed by the government official alone in exercise of his/her official duty, then the defendant will be exempted from punishment. However some courts have refused to accept this principle on the ground that it is the agreement that constitutes the crime of conspiracy and not the attainment of the objective.
When a defendant makes the defense of entrapment, it is the duty of the government to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped by the government official.
Abandonment or Withdrawal From Crime
Abandonment or withdrawal from conspiracy is a defense available to a conspirator to escape liability. In cases of conspiracy requiring an overt act for conviction, a defendant can escape from the liability if s/he proves that they have withdrawn from the conspiracy prior to the performance of an overt act. Any withdrawal or abandonment taken subsequent to an overt act’s performance will not protect a defendant from liability. The defense of withdrawal or abandonment is not applicable in the case of a conspiracy that does not involve an overt act.
To make the defense of withdrawal or abandonment, a defendant must satisfy the following conditions:
- a defendant must take some positive action to withdraw from conspiracy;
- a defendant must make a timely communication of the withdrawal with the co-conspirators;
- a defendant must make the withdrawal prior to completion of conspiracy’s object; and
- a defendant must prove that there was a sufficient interval between the withdrawal or abandonment and commission of the conspiracy.
- When a defendant makes the defense of withdrawal or abandonment, s/he must prove the withdrawal or abandonment before the court. However, withdrawal or abandonment will not be fulfilled by the mere cessation of activities of the co-conspirators[ix]. A conspirator’s arrest or incarceration also will not constitute a withdrawal or abandonment.
But if a defendant, after withdrawal, stays in touch with the co-conspirators and takes part in the goals of the conspiracy, then the defense of withdrawal or abandonment will be nullified by the court.
Former jeopardy is a defense available for a conspiracy offense. Generally a conspiracy to commit a crime and commission of a crime are considered two separate offenses. Prosecution for conspiracy and commission of a crime are treated as separate proceedings and they do not qualify under the double jeopardy prohibition. Thus, a former conviction or acquittal for a crime will not bar a subsequent prosecution for conspiracy to commit that crime. Similarly, a former conviction or acquittal for conspiracy to commit a crime does not bar a subsequent prosecution for that crime. The order of acquittal passed in prosecution proceedings of the crime and a subsequent order of conviction for the offense of conspiracy to commit the same crime will not be treated as inconsistent. The conviction of a person for both the crime and conspiracy will not be treated as prosecuting a person twice for the same offense.
The commission of an overt act which forms an element of a conspiracy can by itself constitute a crime. In such cases, an acquittal for the crime on the ground that the overt act was not committed will operate as an acquittal for the offense of conspiracy of that crime. In like circumstances, the defendant can take the plea of former jeopardy to defend against a conviction for conspiracy. However, if the acquittal was rooted on some other ground, that will result in a conviction for the offense of conspiracy.
In some circumstances a person may be accused for two separate crimes done in one action and for conspiracy to commit both crimes. For example, person A committed murder and lurking house trespass under a conspiracy. Here A is liable for the offense of murder and its conspiracy and for lurking house trespass along with its conspiracy. Convicting such a person severally for two conspiracies would amount to convicting a person twice for the same crime. However, person A who is charged with the offense of murder in pursuance of a conspiracy cannot claim jeopardy on the basis of the prior conviction or acquittal for the offense of lurking house trespass that is committed under the same conspiracy.
However, a state court is not barred from convicting a person against an order of acquittal by the Federal court on identical facts involved in the case which came before the state court. Similarly if any case comes before the Federal court with facts identical to the facts of a state case that granted a conviction, the Federal court can grant an acquittal in such a case without considering the state court’s decision for conviction.
The plea of res judicata is a defense available in conspiracy cases. Although the defense of res judicata appears to be similar to the defense of former jeopardy, the former differs from the later in its legal implications.
An order of acquittal passed in a former case will operate as res judicata on a subsequent case only if the matter in the former case was tried and adjudicated properly. A verdict can be said to be a properly adjudicated one only if the issues involved in the case were fully considered and determined.
An order of acquittal made in a prosecution of a crime will not operate as res judicata to bar the subsequent prosecution for conspiracy to commit that crime. However an order of acquittal resulting from a prosecution for conspiracy of a crime will operate as a bar on the prosecution for the commission of the crime on the ground that there is re-litigation of the same question of fact that was already determined in the previous prosecution. Whereas if an order of acquittal results from a conspiracy prosecution where the prosecution attorney was unable to convince the jury on the conspiracy, this proceeding will not operate as res judicata to a subsequent proceeding to prosecute the commission of the crime.
However, an order of acquittal for conspiracy will operate as a bar to a subsequent proceeding against the defendant for aiding and abetting the commission of a crime, if evidence of the agreement between the abettor/defendant and the abetted is essential to prove the crime.
The following arguments will not constitute a defense to a criminal conspiracy:
- that it was the co-conspirators who committed the conspiracy’s objective;
- that the defendant was not present at the time and place of an alleged conspiracy(plea of alibi);
- that the co-conspirator is an undercover police agent who extended cooperation and made the agreement for conspiracy;
- that a conspiracy’s object was not achieved due to impracticability in performance;
- that the defendant had withdrawn from the conspiracy before any overt act is performed in furtherance of the conspiracy agreement which did not require an overt act;
- that the defendant was unaware about the means to be employed for committing conspiracy; and
- that the defendant was put under coercion by the co-conspirator to commit conspiracy, if there is evidence supporting the defendant’s willful knowledge and participation in a conspiracy.
Punishment and Sentencing
Penalties for convictions of federal drug statute violations are driven by the type of controlled substance, and by the quantities involved. Usually in federal drug prosecutions, the statutory range of punishment is either five (5) to forty (40) years, or ten (10) years to life. Title 21, U.S. Code, §841 sets forth the drug and quantity listings for these statutory penalties. Some, but fewer, federal prosecutions are for charges that carry from zero (0) to twenty (20) years.
Also, more significantly, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”) play a huge role in sentencing a defendant in federal courts. In summary, the U.S.S.G. function as a point system, driven by drug quantities and other point enhancements, such as the use of a weapon or organizer/leader. The more points accumulated, then the higher the prison range exists for a defendant’s potential sentence. A defendant can receive points subtracted from the total offense level for acceptance of responsibility upon a plea of guilty, and cooperation with the government provides an avenue for the possibility of a reduced sentence.
Punishment and sentencing in a conspiracy conviction depends on the evidence set forth in the case. Punishment will be given in conformity with the applicable statutes.
While imposing a sentence, a court can use its discretion reasonably to consider various factors. An appropriate sentence considers a defendant’s age, social and cultural background, past criminal record if any, education, and experience. The defendant’s manner and attitude are also taken into consideration. The motive to commit the offense and the nature of the offense are additional factors considered when imposing a sentence.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy is usually limited to the maximum punishment fixed for the crime that the conspirators conspired to commit. A court can grant a sentence in a crime of conspiracy to the extent of the maximum punishment fixed for the crime. Some state laws do not require a strict ratio between crime and sentence. However, the sentence must not be extremely inconsistent with the severity of the crime.
An enhanced sentence can be given considering the nature and circumstances of the offense committed. A conspiracy to kill or injure a person is a crime of violence and the conspirator to that crime would be sentenced based on the rules of sentencing related to a crime based on the use of physical force. The gravity of the offense will be considered and the conspirators are subject to enhanced punishment. Likewise, if the crime was not due to a sudden provocation but planned, the crime is more severe and the sentence could be more severe.
Under some state laws, the trial court’s sentence can be reversed only on appeal:
- if it violates constitutional requirements;
- if a judge was influenced by ill-will, prejudice, or impermissible considerations; or
- if the sentence exceeded the limit prescribed by a statute.
- Generally, criminal procedures permit multiple sentencing. Hence it does not violate the Constitution. For example, a federal statute provides that, whoever is being prosecuted for any crime of violence or drug trafficking, if he/she uses or carries a firearm in relation to that crime, they may be sentenced to an additional period apart from the sentence for the original crime.
The Best Houston Conspiracy Lawyer: The Charles Johnson Law Firm
Drug crime convictions are serious and can result in jail time, heavy fines, asset seizure, and a permanent criminal record. Not to mention the additional penalties that can result from a charge of conspiracy. Houston Drug Attorney Charles Johnson has significant experience investigating and defending drug conspiracy crimes and will fight to ensure the protection of your freedom. Depending on your crime and the particular facts of your case, there may be many defenses available against your charge.
Contact Houston Lawyer Johnson today for a Free Consultation at (713) 222-7577 anytime day or night and learn which defenses may work for you.
Facing An Arrest for Conspiracy? Hire the Best Houston Criminal Lawyer
by Charles Johnson
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The Top Houston Criminal Lawyers at the Charles Johnson Law Firm can decide which defenses might pertain to your case should you be arrested for possession of illegal drugs, either for private use or with intent to sell, in the event you plead not guilty. Various states deal with the issue of unlawful drugs in various ways, while the federal government has a tendency to have the most stringent drug sentencing regulations. Nevertheless drug possession defenses are rather standard across state lines. Several defenses challenge the stated information and facts, testimony or evidence within the case, whilst others focus on procedural mistakes, frequently search and seizure infractions.
The following are a few defenses to drug possession criminal charges, several much more typical than others:
Illegal Search and Seizure
The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the privilege to due process of law, such as legal search and seizure methods before a charge. Search and seizure challenges are very typical in drug possession cases. Unlawful drugs discovered in “plain view,” including a vehicle’s dash panel following a legal traffic stop, might be seized and utilized as evidence. However illegal drugs discovered within the trunk of your vehicle after prying it open with a crowbar, presuming the suspect didn’t provide authorization, can’t be put into evidence. In the event the accused’s 4th Amendment rights had been breached, then the illegal drugs can’t be utilized at trial and the criminal charges usually are dismissed.
Illegal Drugs Belong to Another Individual
A typical defense to any type of criminal offense arrest would be to merely state that you did not do it. The drug possession equivalent would be to state that the illegal drugs are not yours or that you simply had no idea they had been inside your apartment, for instance. The Finest Houston Criminal Lawyers at the Charles Johnson Law Firm will compel prosecutors to demonstrate that the marijuana cigarette discovered within the automobile really belonged to their client rather than another individual within the automobile.
Crime Lab Assessment
Merely because it appears to be crack or Ectasy does not necessarily mean that it is. The prosecution needs to establish that a seized material is actually the illegal drug it claims it is by submitting the evidence for crime lab analysis. The crime lab analyst then needs to testify at trial in order for the prosecution to prove its case.
Missing Illegal Drugs
Attorney Charles Johnson will make certain prosecutors have the ability to provide the actual illegal drugs for which their client has been arrested. Comparable to the requirement for analysis by a crime lab, prosecutors who misplace or otherwise don’t have the actual drugs risk getting their case dismissed. Seized drugs frequently are transferred a number of times prior to ending up within the evidence locker, therefore it should by no means be presumed that the evidence continues to exists throughout the trial.
Illegal Drugs Had Been Planted
This might be challenging to establish, because a law enforcement officer’s sworn testimony carries a great deal of weight within the courtroom. Moreover, other police officers might hesitate to blow the whistle on a fellow police officer. However, The Charles Johnson Law Firm will file a motion that, if authorized by the judge, demands the department to produce the complaint file of the given police officer. This file references the names and contact details of those that produced the complaints, who may then be interviewed by the lawyer or his private detective.
While police are free to operate sting operations, entrapment happens when police officers or informants cause a suspect to commit a criminal offense this individual otherwise might not have committed. If the informant pressures a suspect into giving illegal drugs to a 3rd party, for instance, then this might be regarded as entrapment. Usually, entrapment happens when the state offers the illegal drugs involved.
Do I Need A Criminal Lawyer?
If you’re arrested for any sort of of these or some other drug related criminal offense you should get in touch with The Finest Houston Criminal Lawyers as soon as you possibly can. The consequences of carrying out a drug offense may be very serious, such as actual jail time, in some cases for several years in significant high profile drug cases. Being found guilty for a drug-related crime could not just harm your personal and professional stature, but may lead to actual termination from a good job or even the suspension or revocation of one’s professional licenses. It is not whether or not you’ll acquire an attorney, rather, it is who you’ll find to handle your case at your most susceptible time.
Top Houston Criminal Lawyers: The Charles Johnson Law Firm
Do not let drug charges spoil your future. The Top Houston Criminal Lawyers will expertly defend drug charges in the courtroom. If you’re struggling with misdemeanor or felony drug possession charges after having a drug arrest in Texas, safeguard your legal rights and future. Contact the Charles Johnson Law Firm 24/7 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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Drug offenses may be charged against a single individual with just a minimal quantity of marijuana, or perhaps a college student selling ecstasy or an individual trafficking considerable amounts of crack across state lines. Because drug violations cover an extremely wide array of criminal acts, almost no one can avoid the possibility of being found guilty, regardless if they are an upstanding citizen or possibly a career criminal. Anyone that has been charged with a crime should certainly consult the advice and the representation of the Top Houston Criminal Lawyers at the Charles Johnson Law Firm to help understand the nature of the charge, what defenses are available for the crime, if plea bargains are available, and what could happen if the defendant is convicted of the crime.
Drug offenses range in severity with the possession of a small quantity of marijuana for individual use being a “lesser” drug crime, and operating an entire drug trafficking business being a significantly greater criminal offense. The violations may be tried as a misdemeanor or a felony, based on a number of elements. For instance, the type of drug, quantity and motive are all considered when making an arrest. The prosecution and the judge may also consider whether or not the suspect has a past criminal history, and they’ll examine the circumstances associated with the criminal case. Competent Houston Criminal Lawyers can help you fight for your legal rights and ensure that the more positive aspects of the scenario don’t get go unnoticed by the prosecution. These strategies will help make sure that you aren’t sentenced with more severe consequences than necessary. Drug offenses are taken extremely seriously within the state of Texas and a skilled defense attorney might be the difference between your liberty and a felony conviction.
According to the elements of one’s case, you might discover your self dealing with a jail sentence. More serious cases of sales or sizable amounts of drug possession could put you behind bars. An experienced drug violations attorney can keep you from contending with prison time. Drug offenses fall within the jurisdiction of both federal and state laws, based on the nature of the criminal offense. Smuggling illegal substances and substantial quantity narcotic conspiracy cases are usually prosecuted on the federal level. Some other drug violations, like possession, manufacture and illegal drug trafficking inside state boundaries, are generally prosecuted by the State of Texas. Drug violations criminal charges consist of possession, use, sale or furnishing of any type of unlawful drug or drug paraphernalia that’s prohibited by law, also as the illegal possession of legal drugs (like prescribed pharmaceutical misuse).
Drug offenses in Texas are taken extremely seriously by federal and state prosecutors. When you have been arrested for simple marijuana possession, you could confront elevated criminal charges if you’re caught in possession of 4 oz . or more. If you’re found guilty of violating the Texas Controlled Substance Act, you might lose the privilege of your driver’s license for as much as 6 months. Drug violations are extremely severe in nature and must by no means be taken casually. An individual who’s arrested for a drug offense deals with life-changing legal repercussions. In Texas, drug offenses are prosecuted harshly by law enforcement officials and District Attorneys. Because of a continual growth in drug associated violations, the federal and state government now utilize more rigid drug regulations and legal punishments.
Drug violations may be considered as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies based on a host of elements which includes:
What types of controlled substances had been involved (for example, heroin and PCP are usually seen as much more “serious” illegal drugs than marijuana).
The quantity of drugs concerned.
Whether or not the drugs had been procured for private use exclusively or to sell to other individuals.
Whether or not the accused was concurrently concerned within the commission of various other felonies or misdemeanors.
The defendant’s prior criminal history, if any exists.
Drug violations consist of numerous activities forbidden by federal or state statute, which includes possession, sale, manufacture, distribution and trafficking, together with prescription fraud and forgery. Drug offenses consist of attempts and conspiracies to commit any type of of these acts. On the federal level, involvement in a continuing criminal enterprise additionally exposes a person to criminal accountability. These offenses are extremely precisely defined, and therefore the government is expected to prove to the court a particular set of facts before a charged individual may be declared guilty of them.
Hire the Top Houston Criminal Lawyers: The Charles Johnson Law Firm
Additionally, drug cases often involve the issue of whether or not the proof was correctly attained by the authorities. Evidence acquired in violation of an defendant’s constitutional legal rights isn’t admissible in the courtroom. The majority of challenges to the admissibility of evidence are dependent within the Fourth Amendment, that protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Drug courts currently operate or are being structured in virtually all 50 states. Although they differ among states, these specialized courts focus on therapy more than time in jail for defendants with substance abuse problems. Compliance with all the enforced stipulations (e.g., frequent drug screening, participation in a rehabilitation program) could possibly lead to dismissal of criminal charges, or suspended or lowered sentences.
When prison time is required, on the other hand, possible penalties escalate based on the type and amount of the drug at issue and also the defendant’s previous criminal history. Particular crimes are sorted into classes and minimum and maximum sentences of these classes are stipulated based on a defendant’s criminal background. Utilization of these sentencing recommendations in state and federal court have long been debatable; proponents maintain that recommendations make sure uniformity and equity in penalties, although opponents debate that they are not able to provide the flexibility required to take into account a defendant’s specific situations.
When you have Been Charged with a Drug Criminal offense
Drug charges can certainly have significant consequences, such as forfeiture of property and assets and time in jail. Talking to Attorney Charles Johnson, one of the Top Houston Criminal Lawyers, for guidance on how you can proceed is important. If you’re fighting drug criminal charges, a knowledgeable lawyer will assist you with navigating through the problems concerned in this complicated area of legislation.
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The Most Dedicated Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson is going to be accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to take your call. He will make himself accessible to meet with you for an initial totally free consultation to talk about your case at a time and date and location that’s convenient for you.
Consulting with the Best Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson is suggested for individuals charged with a crime, simply because persons accused of crimes will probably be able to better understand the charges that have been brought against them and what defense is available for those charges. It’s a constitutional right for anyone charged with a crime within the United States to have fair and competent legal counsel in a court of law or to have the capability to represent themselves in a court of law, based on the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Houston Criminal Defense: Hire the Most Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney » Charles Johnson
Anyone that has been charged with a crime should consult the advice and also the representation of the Best Houston Attorney to help comprehend the nature of the charge, what defenses are available for the crime, if plea bargains are available, and what could occur if the defendant is convicted of the crime. They can also help to identify pretrial problems and bring about essential motions either prior to or throughout the trial that can help to have the charge dismissed or have the charges lessened. Consulting with your attorney can mean the difference between serving a 20 year jail term and having your case dismissed. Charles Johnson is skilled in defending those charged with a selection of various crimes and studies the ever changing laws.
State vs. Federal Crimes
There are differences in between becoming charged having a state criminal offense or a federal criminal offense. Any individual charged for a crime ought to inform their attorney as to which level crime they’ve been charged simply because the defense that the lawyer prepares will probably be different if the crime is a state level charge or a federal level charge.
If You are Charged with a Felony or Misdemeanor
Waiting to consult a criminal defense attorney until a person is charged with committing a crime can be detrimental to that person’s case. An individual suspected of committing a crime, whether or not they actually committed the crime, ought to consult with the Most Dedicated Houston Lawyer instantly. Immediacy is an important factor when creating a defense to a criminal charge and Attorney Johnson will start working on a defense as soon as feasible.
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When the authorities suspect an individual has been driving under the influence, they will ask him/her to perform a series of standard tests, also named field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests help law enforcement determine a driver’s level of intoxication by challenging his/her physical and mental coordination and ability to follow instructions. They are also used to establish a probable cause for arrest.
If you are stopped for suspected DWI, be courteous to the officer. Nonetheless , do not respond to inquiries about what you have had to drink or when.
Politely refuse to submit to field sobriety testing, as this is not mandatory and you cannot be penalized for a refusal of this kind.
The three standardized field sobriety tests used by Houston police officers are:
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): HGN refers to the involuntary jerking of the eyeball. When a person is intoxicated, it is believed that his or her eyes are more likely to twitch. Through the HGN test, law enforcement officer will hold an object in front of the driver and ask him/her to follow the object with his or her eyes. If the driver is unable to follow the object, or if his/her eyes start twitching, then it is taken as a sign of intoxication. (Having said that, it is important to note that Nystagmus is medical and physiological condition that is popular in a large amount of individuals, even when they are sober)
The One-Leg Test: the driver stands on one foot and raises the other leg six inches off the ground when counting out loud. The driver is expected to stand on one foot without raising his or her arms, losing balance, wobbling, hopping around, or putting the lifted leg down.
The Walk and Turn Test: the driver takes nine steps in a straight line touching heel to toe, stops, and then repeats the action in the other direction
In addition to these DWI tests, law enforcement officers could possibly require drivers to perform additional tests, such as:
- Finger to nose test
- Reciting the alphabet
- Counting backwards
- Balancing tests
Hire the Finest Houston DWI Lawyer!
If you did perform a field sobriety test and were arrested, it is important to contact the Most Dedicated Houston DWI Lawyer asap. Most police officers have already decided to charge you at this point, and are now simply looking for additional evidence to use against you in the courtroom. Many attorneys believe field sobriety tests are inaccurate, subjective, and designed for failure. There are many factors that may cause people to appear intoxicated, including nervousness, age, lack of natural coordination, lack of proper instruction, weather, fatigue, illness, physical problems, disabilities, injuries, car headlights, weight, footwear, intimidation, and traffic distractions.
Other important advice:
After your police arrest, you have the right to remain silent. You do not need to answer questions or submit to formal questioning about the case. While you should cooperate and be polite, you do not have to answer questions about how much you have had to drink and when. Exercise this right, and you will have a much better potential for avoiding a conviction.
You also have the right to legal counsel. This is a constitutional right that should be observed in order to provide defendants in criminal cases the opportunity to prove their innocence. By consulting a Houston DWI lawyer as soon as possible after a DWI charge, you will give him or her a better chance of making a positive effect on your case.
If you are arrested, be sure that you contact the Texas DPS as soon as possible. You have only Fifteen calendar days to schedule an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing relating to your license suspension. A failure to schedule this hearing will bring about the automatic suspension of your license.
Most importantly, get in touch with the Most Dedicated Houston Attorney as soon as you are able to. Having a skilled lawyer at your side as early in the process as possible will mean that your legal rights will undoubtedly be protected and you will have the greatest opportunity of avoiding license suspension and a conviction.
Houston DWI Defense: The Leading Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged for DWI, and you performed one or more field sobriety test, it is vital to hire an experienced Houston DWI attorney to investigate your case and represent you in the courtroom. The Most Qualified Houston Criminal Defense Attorney will use their expertise to fight the criminal charges brought against their clients and protect their rights. They will question the arresting officer’s ability to properly conduct a field sobriety test, and make sure the police officer did not violate their clients’ legal rights throughout the charge. In addition, they will be dedicated to providing every client with personalized attention, viable options, and aggressive DWI defense. They will not stop working until they obtain a favorable result, and see that justice has been served.
Charles Johnson |
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Hire the Most Qualified Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer!
When you are going to court, it generally isn’t simply because you WANT to go, but rather you HAVE to go. If you are going in for a criminal defense, it would be in your best interest to be well prepared and informed BEFORE you enter those doors. The following are guidelines that are highly suggested that you follow in order to have a successful time in the courtroom and put the percentages far better to your favor within the eyes of the court.
When in court it is in your very best interest to look your very best for the judge, jury, prosecutor, and yourself. It emotionally can help you in court with your case and can improve your odds of winning if you look like you’re really serious about the courtroom proceedings and play the part.
People who head to court in shorts and sandals will not receive the same treatment that a person in a suit or nice dress might receive. It looks, at least to the court that you have absolutely no interest in being there and that is certainly regarded as disrespect to the court.
The following is appropriate dress code for the genders:
- A nice dress or women’s business suit. At the minimum, a blouse and a skirt which is NO MORE THAN two inches above the knee.
Dress shoes or heels
Hair neatly groomed
Jewelry: Same as for men. A ring and a watch. Nothing else.
Perfume: Again nothing that’s too strong and do not bathe in it. No one wants to smell you!
Nail Polish: Keep it simple. Colors that aren’t acceptable are neon’s and brightly colored nails. If you can avoid it, don’t wear any polish beyond a clear coat or perhaps the French manicure is suitable.
Again, the idea here is you are looking for the judge and any other people deciding your fate to look at you with as much respect as possible regardless of what you are in the courtroom for.
- A dark suit is preferred. If a suit is not available, then slacks and a white shirt and tie at the minimum!
Dress shoes (NEVER WEAR SNEAKERS IN A COURTROOM, PERIOD)
Hair well groomed and neat. Should you have long hair, make sure it is tied back and combed back.
Do not bathe yourself in strong cologne. This is not a club and no one wants the distracting smell of another in court.
Jewelry: one ring (wedding band) and a watch, if you have either.
The point here is you want the judge and any type of various other men and women deciding your fate to look at you with respect regardless of what you’re in court for.
In the courtroom the following are advised as far as behavior and procedure are concerned:
Only respond to questions that you’re asked in a direct manner.
Prosecutor: “Do you have the time?”
Prosecutor: “What time do you have?”
YOU: “11:00 a.m.”
In this example you were asked a question, and the response was EXACTLY what should have been given. Never volunteer information without first consulting your criminal defense attorney about this beforehand. Prosecutors exist to trip you up and get you to admit important things in order to aid their case, and they are generally pro’s at what they do. Don’t help to make it easy for them. They are NOT your friend, and they don’t have your very best interests in mind 110% of the time.
When sitting in court do not place your elbows on the tables at any given time. Sit up straight and look attentive at all times, unless you are injured somehow. Slouching is certainly a sign that you do not care about what is going on and you’d rather be home or doing something else and the court will treat you that way but definitely not in your favor. Pretend you are on television in front of the world and you need to look your very best.
This is possibly the most abused item in the courtroom besides dress. Again you must remember you’re not at a get together with your buddies. You are in a courtroom. If it is a criminal matter, someone wants a reason to put you away. DON’T Provide THEM ONE! Speak English as correctly as you are capable. Use of slang is not going to help you in any way.
The judge is not your “bro”, this individual is your honor. The D.A. or Prosecutor is not an old pal, and should be addressed as sir.
- Always be punctual.
- Do not speak during the proceedings while court is in session.
- Don’t bring books to read or magazines.
- Do not wear a hat in a courtroom EVER!
- Don’t wear sunglasses unless you have a condition that is medically proven to hurt your eyes in light.
- Remain in attendance until excused. All persons seated before the bar shall remain there during each session and return following recess. Parties and counsel ought to remain in attendance during jury deliberations; absence waives the right to attend the return of the judgment.
- Dress with dignity.
- Address others only by their titles and surnames, including lawyers, witnesses, and court personnel.
- Avoid approaching the bench. Counsel should anticipate the need for rulings and discuss them when the jury isn’t seated. Whenever a bench conference is unavoidable, obtain permission first.
- Hand to the clerk, not the judge or reporter, all things for examination by the judge.
- Stand when the judge or jury enters or leaves the courtroom.
- Conduct no experiment or demonstration without permission.
- Make no side-bar remarks.
- Request the use of easels, light boxes, and other equipment well in advance so that they may be set up while the Court is not in session.
Following these basic simple rules and procedures, you greatly enhance your chances of winning in court. These are unwritten guidelines, however over the years people appear to have forgotten them.
If you have additional concerns or are unsure about any of this, speak to the Most Effective Houston Lawyer BEFORE you go to court.
In the event you or a family member is charged having a crime in the Houston region, contact us for a free consultation with a successful criminal defense lawyer from the Charles Johnson Law Firm. Attorney Johnson is able to provide compassionate legal counsel, accessibility and personal attention, years of experience, and aggressive protection of your rights.
Charles Johnson |
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