Drug charges can be beat with the right criminal defense strategy. Throughout our years in the practice, we have been successful winning acquittals and getting drug charges downgraded or dropped. To speak with an experience McHenry County drug lawyer, call our office at (312) 466-9466.
Every drug case is unique. Criminal defense is not "one size fits all." When we advise our clients, we consider all the facts of their specific case and the particular challenges it warrants. Based on this analysis, we craft a criminal defense strategy that is highly tailored to each client.
However, there are some legal defenses that we have used in myriad cases to beat drug charges. Below, we will delve into these strategies. Some legal defenses are most applicable to specific cases than others -- it all depends on the circumstances of the arrest.
The 4th Amendment protects US citizens against unreasonable search and seizure. How is this defined? State and federal courts have handed down legal precedent through a series of cases to delineate what is mean by "unreasonable." In broad strokes, if the police do not have probable cause to search you, then a defense attorney can make the argument that the search was unwarranted. If the court agrees, then any evidence recovered from the illegal search is inadmissible in court and cannot be used as evidence. It does not matter if the police ultimately did recover illegal drugs, the court cannot convict you based on that evidence.
This legal argument is used frequently in drug cases. If the police found search someone's car or their person and find drugs, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can argue that the police had no reason to search the person in the first place. In that case, the charges are often dropped.
If you have been charged with possession, in which case drugs were found on you after police searched you, this strategy could be a good option for you.
To be convicted of a drug offense, Illinois law requires that a defendant "knowingly" possessed or trafficked drugs. In other words, if the defendant wasn't aware there were drugs in his car, for example, he cannot be found guilty.
One argument a defendant can make, then, is that he did not know that the drugs were there. This defense is usually most effective when drugs were not found on your person, but were rather recovered from your car or home. For example, the police may recover drugs from the living room of the house and accuse the homeowner of drug possession, but the drugs were not his and belonged to another family member.
At the Law Offices of Steven R. Hunter, we have had success in court using this rationale. In a recent case, we obtained a not guilty verdict in a cocaine case on the basis of lack of knowledge, arguing that the defendant was not aware that 20 kilos of cocaine were in the truck he was driving.
These are only two of the many legal defense strategies that can be used to fight a drug case. Because drug crimes have so many factors involved, at our firm, we take individualized approach to every client's case. When you sit down with a McHenry County drug lawyer, he will ask various questions about the nature of your case in order to get the full picture. Based on the circumstances, you and your attorney will decide which legal defense strategy is most suitable for your situation.
McHenry County has followed the trend started by several other Illinois court circuits and created a court specifically for drug offenders. Not all drug cases are necessarily heard in this court -- a defendant must be referred and accepted into the Drug Court program in order to access its benefits.
The stated mission of the McHenry County Drug Court is to "promote public safety and reduce recidivism of addicted defendants through intensive judicial supervision and treatment." By focusing more on rehabilitative solutions and less on punitive ones, the court seeks to assist individuals whose substance abuse issue is the primary reason for their criminal behavior. Instead of being sentenced to prison, defendants are required to complete a comprehensive, long-term drug treatment program.
There are certain eligibility criteria that a defendant must meet in order to apply for the program:
To be admitted to the program, a referral must be made within 60 days of the defendant's first appearance in court. If admitted, defendants are prescribed a comprehensive treatment plan with a score of requirements, including weekly status hearings, substance abuse outpatient or inpatient treatment, group counseling, and other employment or educational training courses. Mandatory drug tests are used throughout the duration of the program. This program isn't for the faint of heart -- it is designed for individuals serious about recovery. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug offense in McHenry County, and you are interested in the program, we can help you decide whether you are eligible and whether the Drug Court is a good option for you and your family.
Since its establishment, the program has been very successful. Last year, 10 individuals graduated from the program, the largest graduation since the program's start in 2011.
Drug cases can be complicated, but they are winnable. If you're trying to beat a drug charge in McHenry County, the most important step you can take as a criminal defendant is contact an aggressive McHenry County drug attorney immediately.
By hiring an experienced McHenry County criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge to expertly fight your case, you will have the best chance at walking away with the least harsh outcome.
With drug cases, the stakes are high. But with an effective legal defense, it is possible to avoid jailtime or even have charges dropped against you. From simple marijuana possession to complex trafficking charges, we have years of experience fighting all types of Illinois drug cases. Give our offices a call at (312) 466-9466 today to schedule a free legal consultation and learn about how we can advocate for you in your McHenry County criminal case.