Indiana Drug Crime Attorneys
For an Indianapolis Drug Crime Lawyer a Breed Apart: Keffer Hirschauer LLP
Being investigated for or charged with a drug-related offense can carry a special stigma and more severe consequences than many other crimes. If you’re under investigation for or have been charged with a drug-related offense in Indiana, you need immediate help from an Indianapolis drug crime lawyer with significant experience in drug crime cases.
An effective Indianapolis drug crime lawyer knows how to handle criminal proceedings when they become complicated. You need a criminal defense attorney who strategically manages evidentiary matters while also protecting your constitutional rights, such as your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you will find criminal defense attorneys with decades of experience defending drug crimes defendants and singular experience and strategies key for successful criminal defense.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we are:
- Former deputy prosecutors now fighting for you
- Effective and aggressive in our defense strategies
- Driven and experienced trial attorneys
- Available for a risk-free initial case consultation
Keffer Hirschauer LLP has the experience and determination to protect you and your rights throughout the criminal proceedings.
Evaluating Charges Under Indiana Drug Laws
Indiana Code sections relating to drug-related offenses are voluminous, making finding and understanding them difficult. A seasoned criminal defense attorney not only knows and understands Indiana drug laws but also how to evaluate your case.
Generally, an Indianapolis drug crime lawyer will consider and explain factors such as these in each drug crime case:
- Which category of controlled substance is alleged in the charge
- Whether the offense involves possession, manufacturing, or dealing
- Whether the offense involves other drug crimes such as doctor shopping, prescription fraud, or cultivation of a drug
- Whether the offense is considered a misdemeanor or a felony
- What the possible penalties are for the charges, including incarceration, the effect on professional licensure, fines, and otherwise
- Whether there are other factors to consider, such as the presence of weapons or even other people at the time of an alleged offense
- Whether the circumstances show a violation of your constitutional rights, such as a potentially illegal search or seizure
- Whether anyone else involved in the case has already made statements to law enforcement or the prosecutor’s office
When you contact a skilled Indianapolis drug crime lawyer, expect that lawyer to ask a lot of questions. This information-gathering helps the lawyer provide you the best defense possible and as soon as possible.
What Constitutes a Controlled Substance
Indiana drug laws categorize criminal activity relating to drugs based on the class of drugs involved. The Indiana General Assembly has established five schedules (Schedules I-V) of controlled substances.
The Indiana legislature looks at several factors when determining the schedule:
- The perceived danger of the drug and how much is known about the drug
- Medical benefits of the drug, if there is a benefit
- Potential for addiction/abuse caused by the drug
Depending on the schedule of drugs involved in a charge, the penalties imposed by the Indiana Code can be quite serious, involving prison, incarceration, fines, and restitution.
The schedules are generally as follows:
- Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the least medical benefit, such as heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), MDMA (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote
- Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and also a currently accepted medical use in treatment, such as products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, Dilaudid, Demerol, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin
- Schedule III drugs have less abuse potential, such as Tylenol with codeine, Ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone
- Schedule IV drugs are barely addictive, such as Fenfluramine, Lorcaserin, Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Diazepam or Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, and Tramadol
- Schedule V drugs are even less addictive than the ones addressed above and include drugs like cough medications containing less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, and Parepectolin
Indiana Drug-Related Offense Types
Indiana criminalizes various activities related to controlled substances, including possession, manufacture, sale, and distribution.
Common types of drug-related offenses include:
- Sale of an illegal or controlled substance
- Drug manufacturing
- Doctor shopping
- Prescription fraud
- Cultivation of a drug
- Trafficking and distribution
- Marijuana crimes
Each drug-related offense has a separate set of elements the prosecutor must prove for a conviction.
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Allegations of PossessionIndiana drug laws criminalize the mere possession of controlled substances. Possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession means the person accused has direct physical control over a prohibited item. Constructive possession means the State must show that the accused had dominion and control over the drug as well as the intent to possess even if the person did not have physical possession. Possession offenses can also be simple possession or with the intent to distribute:
- Simple possession is a very common charge and generally involves possession in an amount that indicates the drugs are not for sale or distribution but are instead for only one person
- Possession with the intent to distribute (PWID) is the drug-related offense charged when a person has such a quantity of the drug, the amount set by statute, that it is not likely intended for one person’s use
- Possession of cocaine
- Possession of methamphetamine
- Possession of marijuana, hash oil, hashish, or salvia
Allegations of DealingA drug-related offense labeled as manufacturing involves activity to concoct, cook, grow (including planting, watering, and harvesting), or combine ingredients to make the drug. The offense charged is based in part on the drug involved. The drug-related offense of dealing is tricky because it includes more than actual manufacturing or delivery. For example, the State may charge someone with manufacturing even without taking part in the concocting, cooking, or growing of the drug if that person financed the manufacture in any way—even merely purchasing some of the ingredients. And, as noted above, possession of a higher quantity of a controlled substance may bump the charge up from possession to possession with intent to distribute, a form of dealing. These are examples of dealing or manufacturing offenses in Indiana:
- Dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug
- Manufacturing methamphetamine
- Dealing in a Schedule I, II, or II controlled substance or its analog
- Dealing in a Schedule IV controlled substance or its analog
- Dealing in a Schedule V controlled substance or its analog
Drug-Related Offense SentencesA conviction for a drug-related offense in Indiana can result in serious consequences:
- Sentencing for a felony, including prison time
- Sentencing for a misdemeanor, including jail time
- The stigma that attaches to a person’s ability to find work or housing
- Loss of custody rights or parenting time
- Loss of opportunity to use federal funds or grants for education
- Denial of visa, green card, or US citizenship
- Fees based on the type of charge, the type of drug, and intent
Conspiracy Drug CrimesMerely agreeing to commit a drug crime may be enough for the State to pursue criminal charges against you. Under Indiana Code § 35-41-5-2, the State may file a charge of conspiracy to commit a drug crime if:
- You agreed with another to commit a felony drug crime in Indiana, and
- You or any person with whom you made that agreement performed any overt act necessary to commit the felony
High-Risk Professions for Indiana Drug CrimesDoctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals have access to controlled substances by virtue of their professions. Despite strict regulations and controls, medical personnel can also fall prey to prescription dependency and be unable to resist the temptation of relatively ready access to prescription drugs. Alternatively, healthcare professionals may be implicated and charged for writing prescriptions for unscrupulous patients fraudulently seeking prescription medications. Keffer Hirschauer LLP attorneys are well equipped to defend healthcare professionals facing drug charges for any reason as well as assist them with professional licensure and disciplinary matters that can arise from criminal drug charges.
Strategically Defending Drug CrimesIn addition to criminalizing certain conduct, some Indiana drug laws also set out statutory defenses to drug crimes. For example, Indiana Code § 35-48-4-16 sets out circumstances that, if proved, may lower a charge of dealing within 500 feet of a school or park, which is a higher-level offense, to a mere possession charge. Other available defenses may be based on the US Constitution, the Indiana Constitution, or the evidence (or lack of it) in the case. Examples of defenses to drug charges include these:
- An unreasonable search or seizure warrants the suppression (exclusion) of evidence—citizens are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by Indiana Constitution, Article I, Section 11
- The evidence does not support the State’s allegation of constructive possession beyond a reasonable doubt
- The existence of a third person (or more) establishes the possibility that someone else owned or had control of the drugs
- The State’s case relies on only circumstantial evidence