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Understanding Drug Crime Charges

Wiberg Law Office, PLLC
Drugs, money and handcuffs

According to the New Hampshire Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), in 2021, there were 436 confirmed drug deaths in New Hampshire. Drug abuse, overdoses, and drug crimes are prevalent issues in New Hampshire, with a significant number of drug and narcotic violations reported over the years.

These charges can encompass a wide array of offenses, from drug possession to more serious crimes like possession with intent to sell and drug manufacturing. Understanding the intricacies of these charges is crucial. Because they can have severe and long-lasting consequences on an individual's life.  

If you've been accused of committing a drug-related crime, seek legal counsel to protect your rights and fight for your future. Defending yourself against drug charges requires the guidance of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Attorneys Wiberg and Stone or the Wiberg Law Office, PLLC, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, offer extensive legal representation to individuals facing such charges in the region.

With a deep understanding of both New Hampshire and federal drug laws, Sven Wiberg and Brian Stone are adept at advocating for our clients and striving for the best possible outcomes in each case.

Common Drug Charges in New Hampshire  

Drug crimes in New Hampshire encompass a wide range of offenses related to the possession, sale, and manufacture of illicit substances. These offenses can involve various types of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other narcotics.

The severity of the charge often depends on factors such as the specific type and quantity of the drug involved, as well as the intent and circumstances surrounding the offense. Law enforcement agencies in New Hampshire remain vigilant in their efforts to combat drug-related crimes and ensure the safety and well-being of the community. 

Possible Penalties if Charged in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the penalties for drug charges can have significant consequences. Individuals convicted of drug offenses may face a range of punishments, including substantial fines, probation, and imprisonment.

Possession: In New Hampshire, unauthorized possession of any controlled substance, except marijuana, is considered a felony. Marijuana possession can be a violation (non-criminal) if the amount is 3/4 ounce or less including any adulterants or dilutants, (or 5 grams or less of hashish). The penalties for other substances on the Federal Controlled Drug Schedules can vary depending on the substance, weight, and type of possession:

  • Schedule I to IV drugs: Penalties can range from a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $25,000 fine, to a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

  • Schedule V drugs: For a first offense, you face a maximum three-year prison sentence and a $15,000 fine.

  • Marijuana/hashish: Possession of ¾ ounce or less for a first, second, or third offense is considered a violation, with fines of $100 for a first or second offense and $300 for a third offense. Over these amounts, it becomes a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine and there are higher penalties for distribution, sale, or possession with intent to sell2.

Possession on or near School Property: Any person who manufactures, sells, prescribes, administers, dispenses, or possesses with intent to sell, dispense, or compound any controlled drug or its analog, in or on or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a public or private elementary, secondary, or secondary vocational-technical school, can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment or fine, or both, up to twice that otherwise authorized by the Controlled Drug Statute (RSA 318-B:26). Worse yet, such actions are a subject to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of not less than one year.
If you are convicted as a drug enterprise leader you must be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of not less than 25 years and may be sentenced to a maximum term of not more than life imprisonment.

Manufacturing, Distribution, and Trafficking: Charges and penalties for these offenses vary greatly depending on the type and quantity of the drug involved. These are typically regarded as more serious offenses and carry heavier penalties.

Prescription Fraud: Illegally obtaining prescription drugs can also lead to serious legal consequences, including potential jail time and fines.

It's important to note that New Hampshire offers alternatives to incarceration, such as unconditional or conditional discharge, probation, and drug treatment courts. No matter what, if you're facing drug charges, don't hesitate to enlist legal representation. The sooner you involve a skilled defense attorney, the better chance you have of getting a favorable outcome.

Possible Defenses

Depending on the unique circumstances of the case, it may be possible to challenge the legality of the search that led to the discovery of the drugs. Additionally, examining the manner in which evidence was collected could present opportunities for defense.  

In certain scenarios, it might even be feasible to argue that the drugs belonged to someone else entirely, further strengthening the defense strategy. By delving into these details and exploring available options, individuals facing drug charges can work towards a more comprehensive defense. 

What to Do if You're Facing Drug Charges

If you find yourself facing drug charges, it's essential to act swiftly and strategically to protect your rights and future. One wrong move could have significant consequences for your life. Here are some tips you should immediately consider: 

  1. Remain Silent: It is crucial that you exercise your right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court, so it's best to avoid answering questions without your attorney present. Contrary to popular belief, the police do not have to give you Miranda warnings, unless and until you are under arrest, so in any police encounter it is essential that you tell them that you do not answer questions and that you want an attorney. Famous last words: "I did not do anything wrong, and I have nothing to hide, so why shouldn't I answer questions?" Answer: because 99% of the time the officers are strangers who have already made up their minds and are just waiting for you to say something they can twist to your detriment. (Watch the scene in the movie My Cousin Vinnie for a great example where Ralph Macchio's character says, "I shot the clerk.")

  2. Hire a Defense Attorney: Hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney is a critical step. Look for an attorney who concentrates in criminal defense, has experience with drug charges. and has a proven track record in dealing with similar cases.  

  3. Document Everything You Can: Keep a detailed record of your arrest and subsequent events. Note down the officers involved, their conduct, the time and location of arrest, and anything else that might be relevant. 

  4. Stay Calm and Cooperative: Be polite and respectful to law enforcement officers. Being confrontational or argumentative can only complicate your situation. 

  5. Review Your Legal Options: Work with your attorney to understand your legal options. This includes reviewing the charges, potential defenses, and possible outcomes.  

  6. Prepare for Court Appearances: Your attorney will guide you through court proceedings. Ensure that you are punctual, appropriately dressed, and prepared for all court appearances.  

Combating drug charges can be a challenging process, but by following these steps, you can help ensure your rights are protected and work towards the best possible outcome in your case. 

Reach Out for Representation

In New Hampshire, drug-related crimes are taken seriously and prosecuted vigorously. Understanding the nuances of these charges is crucial for anyone facing them. For comprehensive guidance and representation, turn to Wiberg Law Office, PLLC. 

The firm proudly serves clients in all New Hampshire cities, including Portsmouth, Dover, Rochester, Nashua, Concord, Manchester, Laconia, Hillsborough County, Rockingham County, Belknap County, and Strafford County.