Manufacture/Delivery of Controlled Substances
In New Hampshire, the laws surrounding the manufacture and delivery of controlled substances are stringent and taken very seriously. If you've recently been implicated in such a case, it's in your best interest to understand these laws and the potential repercussions you may be facing.
Decoding New Hampshire's Drug Laws
New Hampshire aligns its drug laws with the federal drug schedule for Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS). This classification system categorizes drugs based on their potential for abuse and medical use.
Schedule I substances, including marijuana, heroin, and LSD, are considered to have no known medical purpose and a high potential for abuse.
Schedule II drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl, are also deemed highly dangerous with a significant potential for misuse.
Schedule III and IV drugs include prescription medications like codeine, ketamine, and Xanax. These substances have a lower potential for abuse but can still lead to severe physical or psychological dependence.
Schedule V drugs are considered the least harmful of all CDS and include cough suppressants with small amounts of narcotics.
New Hampshire codifies its state drug laws in Chapter 318-B of its Revised Statutes Annotated, the Controlled Drug Act. The subsections of this statute are complex and confusing, to say the least. Trying to navigate through these rough waters without an experienced criminal defense attorney would be very unwise and could lead to disastrous consequences.
Manufacturing and delivery of drugs under New Hampshire law includes involvement at any stage in the drug production process, even if it's just an intent to deliver. In 2021, New Hampshire handled a total of 505 criminal cases related to the distribution and sale of illicit drugs. Providing the necessary chemicals or equipment for drug manufacturing also falls under this offense.
The penalties for these offenses can be steep, and it's important to remember that state drug laws may differ from federal laws, so you could face both state and federal charges for the same offense, without it being considered double jeopardy.
Understanding the Consequences of a Drug Manufacturing/Delivery Conviction
The potential consequences of such offenses are severe and multi-faceted. The most immediate penalties can include incarceration and hefty fines. The length of imprisonment and the amount of the fines largely depend on the type of drug involved, the quantity, and whether it's a first-time offense or a repeated one.
But the penalties don't stop there. A conviction for drug manufacturing and delivery can also strip you of certain civil liberties. One of these is the right to own firearms.
Additional consequences may kick in if the drug crime is committed alongside another offense. For instance, if the drug manufacturing or delivery charge is coupled with charges for assault, theft, or any other crime, this could compound the penalties significantly.
The penalties grow harsher if there are prior drug-related convictions on your record. In such cases, the court often imposes stricter sentences, considering the repeat offense as an indication of disregard for the law.
Selling drugs to minors or on school grounds is another factor that can enhance the severity of your punishment. The law aims to protect vulnerable populations like children from the dangers of drugs, and violations in this regard are met with the full force of the law.
It's important to remember that these consequences can have far-reaching effects on your life, affecting your employment prospects, social relationships, and overall quality of life. That's why, if you're facing such charges, it's crucial to have a seasoned criminal defense attorney by your side.
From State to Federal Charges
With drug manufacturing and delivery charges, a case can escalate from state to federal jurisdiction under certain circumstances. When this happens, it can significantly impact the severity of the charges and penalties you may face.
Federal charges typically come into play if the crime involved crossing state lines with large amounts of drugs, which would be classified as drug trafficking. This means if you are caught transporting drugs from New Hampshire to another state, you could potentially face federal drug trafficking charges.
Another scenario where federal charges may apply is if the crime is committed on federal land or property. This includes locations such as national parks or government buildings. The jurisdiction of these areas falls under federal authority, and hence any offenses committed on these premises are treated as federal crimes.
Involvement of federal authorities at any stage in the case can also lead to federal charges. For instance, if a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent made the arrest or a federal informant was involved in your case, it is likely that your charges will be processed at the federal level.
Using the United States Postal Service or another carrier to transport and distribute drugs will also trigger federal charges. Manipulating these services for illegal activities is considered a federal offense, and authorities take these cases very seriously.
Possible Defense Strategies
When facing charges related to drug manufacturing or delivery, having a solid defense strategy is crucial. Every situation is unique, and the best defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. The following are some routes your representation may consider and implement:
Challenging the legality of the search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the drugs were obtained through an illegal search, your attorney could argue for the evidence to be suppressed.
Contesting the actual possession of the drugs. In some cases, the drugs may not have been found directly on the person charged. If it can be demonstrated that the drugs belonged to someone else or that the defendant had no knowledge of the drugs, it could potentially lead to the charges being dropped or reduced.
Scrutinizing the handling of the evidence. From the moment the drugs are seized to their introduction in court, they must be properly handled and accounted for. Any discrepancies in this chain of custody could provide grounds for a defense.
Arguing entrapment. This defense could apply if law enforcement enticed or compelled an individual to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. If coercion or manipulation by the police can be proven, it may serve as a viable defense.
The Importance of Legal Representation
Facing charges for manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance in New Hampshire necessitates the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Wiberg and the team at Wiberg Law Office, PLLC, with their years of experience and deep understanding of New Hampshire's drug laws, can help protect your rights and build a potent defense strategy. This level of legal support is crucial when navigating the complex legal system and aiming for the best possible outcome in your case.
It's worth noting that you can face both state and federal charges for the same drug offense, without it being considered double jeopardy. In such circumstances, having an attorney who is well-versed in both New Hampshire and federal drug laws becomes absolutely essential.
Facing drug charges can be overwhelming, but you don't have to face them alone. The attorneys at Wiberg Law Office, PLLC, located in Portsmouth and serving clients throughout New Hampshire, including Rockingham County, Strafford County, Merrimack County, Hillsborough County, Dover, Manchester, Nashua, Concord, and the surrounding areas, can provide the necessary guidance and representation.