Connecticut Cocaine Possession Lawyer
While Connecticut has recently relaxed some of its drug laws and decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, it has maintained its tough stance against cocaine possession and distribution. If you have been arrested for cocaine possession or sale in Connecticut, then you know how serious police and prosecutors consider the crime. These are felony charges that carry lengthy jail sentences if not defended properly by a top drug lawyer.
A conviction can affect every aspect of your life. Cocaine possession arrests can detrimentally affect an employment background check, life insurance application, or child custody proceeding. Thus, the importance of contacting a top Connecticut cocaine possession lawyer about an arrest must not be underestimated. Have them review your police reports, assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and work with you to craft the best defense possible.
Cocaine Possession Laws in Connecticut
While no law in the Connecticut Criminal Penal Code specifically focuses on cocaine possession, the possession and sale of cocaine is covered in the Connecticut criminal laws that forbid the possession and sale of narcotics. Cocaine, along with crack, heroin, crystal meth, and oxycontin are considered “narcotics” for the purposes of Connecticut criminal law. Narcotics are distinguished from hallucinogens, which include drugs like LSD, Molly, and mushrooms. Despite the differences among these classes of recreational drugs, the penalties for narcotics possession can all be found under the same section of the Connecticut Criminal Code, C.G.S. § 21a-279. A lawyer in Connecticut could help someone accused of possessing cocaine.
Penalties for Cocaine Possession
Possession of cocaine is an unclassified felony. As the top Connecticut lawyers advise, if you are found guilty of possessing any amount of cocaine, then you can face up to 7 years in prison for your first offense and up to $50,000 in fines. A second offense more than doubles the sentence for a first-time offender – it carries up to fifteen years behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000. Any additional offenses after your second offense can result in a 25–year prison sentence. To put this into perspective, a third possession of cocaine conviction can carry a sentence equivalent to that recommended for certain individuals convicted of homicide.
If you think the penalties could not be any harsher, you are mistaken. Our attorneys will warn you of mandatory minimum sentences for cocaine possession. If you are found guilty possessing any amount of cocaine within 1500 feet of an elementary school, a high school or a day care center, C.G.S. 21a-279(d) requires that two years of your sentence cannot be reduced or suspended. It is minimum mandatory jail time. So, if you were dropping your child off at school and were found in possession of any amount of cocaine on the school’s property, you can face up to 9 years in prison. What’s worse is that aggressive Connecticut narcotics detectives will follow you, wait for you to enter this hot zone of 1500 feet, and then arrest you, just to expose you to these mandatory minimums.
Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Sell Arrests in Stamford Connecticut
If police are looking to arrest you for possession of a significant amount of cocaine or if you have packaging materials or scales on you or in your home or car, then you might be charged with more than just possession. You can be arrested for possession of cocaine with the intent to sell. The Connecticut criminal statute that governs and prohibits the sale of cocaine and other narcotics is C.G.S. 21a-277. In addition to forbidding the sale of narcotics, C.G.S. 21a-277 outlaws manufacturing, transporting and distributing cocaine and other narcotics.
The difference between being charged with possession of cocaine and being charged with possession with the intent to sell, depends on a variety of factors: (1) the circumstances of your arrest, (2) the observations of police, eyewitnesses, and confidential informants, and (3) other materials in your possession or control, in addition to the narcotics. To be clear, you do not actually have to be caught in the act of selling the drug in order to be charged with possessing cocaine with the intention to sell it. As our Connecticut lawyers frequently see, the amount of cocaine you are found possessing is not the only factor that can elevate your arrest. If you are found possessing certain paraphernalia, like certain plastic baggies typically used by drug dealers to sell cocaine, or scales, or large amounts of cash, then you can be arrested in Stamford Connecticut for Possession with Intent to Sell.
Penalties for Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell Arrests in Connecticut
A first conviction under C.G.S. 21a-277 carries a maximum 15-year jail sentence and $50,000 fine. A second offense can carry as much as 30 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine. Offenses after your second conviction carry the same prison time as a second offense – 30 years, but an increased fine of up to $250,000. These jail sentences and fine amounts are extremely heavy-handed and often used by aggressive narcotics detectives to pressure a suspect into cooperating or “ratting” on co-conspirators and other participants in a drug ring.
Top Connecticut cocaine possession lawyers know that one way to avoid mandatory minimum sentences for Connecticut drug arrests is to prove that you were suffering from drug dependency or drug addiction at the time you were arrested for 21a-277 Possession with Intent to Sell cocaine. Whether or not you were actually “drug dependent” in the eyes of the court and prosecutors is a key factor in your case and can determine whether you will be sentenced to mandatory time. Therefore, your lawyer must work hard to prove that your arrest was a result of supporting an addiction, rather than engaging in a profitable business enterprise.
If you cannot convince the court that your cocaine possession with intent to sell arrest was a result of your dependency on narcotics, then you will face the harsher penalties codified in C.G.S. 21a-278. This section outlines mandatory minimum jail sentences that you must serve if you are arrested and found guilty of selling cocaine, or possessing cocaine with the intent to sell, but are not found to be dependent on drugs at the time of your conviction. And similar to straight possession arrests in Stamford Connecticut, if you are arrested for sale of cocaine, or possession of cocaine with intent to sell, under CGS 21a-278 or the more lenient CGS 21a-277, there is an additional mandatory jail sentence of 3 years if your crime took place within 1500 feet from an elementary school, a high school or a day care center. This additional penalty is codified in C.G.S. 21a-278a. With all this jail time at stake, it is a good idea to consult a local cocaine possession lawyer to advise you of the possible sentences you could face and all of the defenses and sentence alternatives you should consider.
Fighting Your Possession of Narcotics Arrest
When the top Connecticut cocaine lawyers are called about a drug case, they usually ask a few important questions before assessing your case. What kind and quantity of drugs were found at the arrest? Did police have a search warrant to search your home or motor vehicle? Did you provide any statements or information to the police? Did police illegally search your cell phone or your email accounts? The answers to these questions will usually help guide a lawyer through the initial case assessment process and help them properly fight your case.
Our lawyers will then thoroughly review your police reports, witness statements, and audio and video surveillance evidence of your case. They will scrutinize these documents carefully, looking for errors and omissions that may provide grounds for motions to suppress key evidence, or help bolster constitutional search and seizure arguments that may get your case dismissed. Successful motions to suppress will keep the unlawfully obtained evidence out of your case, as well as any other contraband that flowed therefrom, often referred to by criminal courts as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The best Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers will then go back and review your reports a second time, to look for any inconsistencies in the police reports or witness statements that might challenge a witness’s credibility. Finally, additional issues must be addressed…Was this a sting operation? Were confidential informants involved? Was there entrapment? Were witnesses or informants provided immunity, protection, deals on their criminal cases, or money by the government? Were there chain of custody issues regarding the cocaine?
Toxicologists and private investigators may also need to be retained to carefully examine the evidence at the State lab, and to interview other witnesses that the police conveniently forgot or failed to interview. Finally, after your Connecticut cocaine lawyer covers all of these issues, it is then that they are able to provide you with an honest assessment of your defense, and work with you to build the strongest defense possible under your individual case circumstances.
Why Drug Treatment and Rehab are Critical to a Cocaine Possession Arrest
Along with advising you on preparing the best defense to your cocaine possession charges, your lawyer in Connecticut will also counsel you on the important role that drug rehabilitation may have in your case. While inpatient or intensive outpatient rehabilitation will personally help you battle your drug addiction or dependency issues, it is also a very meaningful and successful way to prove to the judge and prosecutor that you are serious about addressing your addiction and making changes in your life. Our lawyers are sensitive to the fact that inpatient and outpatient programs can be very expensive and interfere with your job and family. But remember that drug dependency—along with a paper trail from rehab centers and drug counselors who can vouch for your drug dependency and rehabilitation efforts—can make the difference between mandatory jail sentences and no-jail dispositions in your Connecticut narcotics arrest. If a court makes a finding that you were drug dependent at the time of the arrest, then you can avoid mandatory jail time. So work with your Connecticut attorney to tailor a drug rehabilitation program that will effectively show the judge that you are walking the walk of sobriety, not just talking the talk of sobriety, and that you are committed to battling the addiction issues that may have caused you to get arrested for CGS 21a-277 Sale of Narcotics / Intent to Sell.
Conspiracy Charges Following Cocaine Possession Arrests
The best Greenwich Connecticut criminal drug lawyers often see arrests in Greenwich and Stamford for Conspiracy CGS 53a-48 tacked on to Possession of Narcotics and Sale of Narcotics arrests. To be arrested for 53a-48 Conspiracy in Stamford Connecticut drug cases, the police must accuse you of three things: (1) you agreed with one or more people to commit a drug possession or sale crime, (2) you must act with the intent to commit that drug crime, and (3) you must commit an overt, or specific act, in furtherance of the Connecticut cocaine and drug conspiracy. However, the bigger issue that concerns our Connecticut attorneys is how aggressively the police will try to break up a drug conspiracy ring. They will sometimes use heavy-handed and brutal mental tactics to scare you into flipping or “ratting” on your fellow, alleged co-conspirators. Do not give in. Immediately invoke your right to speak to a top Connecticut attorney who can properly advise you during a cocaine possession case and stop the interrogation. Connecticut 53a-48 Conspiracy arrests can be fought and beaten. Click here to learn more about fighting your Connecticut Conspiracy arrest.
The Drug Education & Community Service Program
If you are arrested for selling or possessing cocaine as a first-time offender, then your drug lawyer will inform you of Connecticut’s pre-trial drug diversionary programs. If you are admitted into any of these programs, and successfully complete all of the program’s terms and conditions, then you can actually have your entire Connecticut cocaine arrest dismissed. Know, however, that it very difficult to get a drug diversionary program for cocaine sale and possession cases, but it is possible. Especially if you have built up a solid and successful track record of rehabilitation and sobriety. The Drug Education & Community Service program is available to people arrested for marijuana, narcotics, or cocaine possession under 21a-267, 21-279, or 21a-279a. For more serious cocaine arrests in Darien, Stamford or anywhere else in Connecticut, you may be eligible for the “CADAC” program, which is specifically geared toward helping individuals who were heavily dependent upon drugs at the time of their arrests. Finally, the Pre-Trial Accelerated Rehabilitation Program is available for first-time offenders arrested in Stamford or Greenwich for cocaine-related misdemeanors and certain Class C and D felonies. Successful completion of any of these programs will result in the complete dismissal of all of your cocaine charges. For more information on Drug Diversionary Programs, visit Greenwich Criminal Lawyer Explains Drug Diversionary Programs
Contact a Connecticut Cocaine Possession Attorney at Mark Sherman Law Today
As you can see, Connecticut cocaine laws call for heavy fines and lengthy jail sentences. So if you are arrested for Possession of Narcotics, with or without an Intent to Sell under CGS 21a-279 or 21a-277, you should contact an experienced Connecticut cocaine possesion lawyer at the Law Offices of Mark Sherman. Our “two-attorney” guarantee ensures that two of our criminal lawyers will review your police reports and provide you with an honest assessment of your case’s strengths and weaknesses. Our only goal is to get you the best possible result we can as quickly as possible. And remember, talk to an attorney before you talk to the police. Call us today.