Champaign Cocaine Defense Lawyers
Each year, the United States government spends billions of dollars to combat the growing drug trafficking epidemic. In their haste to end the movement and distribution of illegal substances, law enforcement often pushes the legal boundaries outlined in the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment. If you or a loved one were recently indicted of a drug crime, such as the possession, trafficking, distribution, or manufacturing of cocaine, you should seek legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected.
A cocaine-related drug crime charge can have a multitude of life-altering consequences, including incarceration, large financial penalties, and traumatic personal loss (losing custody of a child, a professional license, etc.). With so much at stake, you need a lawyer who has experience dealing with the intricacies of search and seizure laws, as well as someone who knows how to properly negotiate with prosecutors.
There is no one better suited to represent you in these troubling times than the lawyers at Bruno Law Offices. With over 35 years of experience representing clients accused of drug-related crimes in Champaign and across Illinois, Bruno Law Offices knows the law and your rights. Contact our offices today at (217) 328-6000.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
After being charged with a cocaine crime, many assume that they cannot afford a criminal defense lawyer and will instead leave their case with the public defender. However, the truth is that you cannot afford to not hire a criminal defense lawyer. Public defenders tend to be highly overworked, meaning they cannot devote as much time to each case as they would like to. This means that crucial details and possible defenses for your case may go unnoticed. A criminal defense lawyer will be able to devote much more time, energy, and resources into your case, giving you the best chance of facing a reduced sentence or even dropped charges altogether.
Why Choose Bruno Law Offices?
The lawyers at Bruno Law Offices have helped good, hard-working people with drug-crime cases since 1980 and have represented thousands of clients in state and federal courts. In 2012, Bruno Law Offices was even named the Oustanding Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance and the Champaign County Bar Association. We also pride ourselves for setting the gold standard of criminal defense in Urbana.
Because of our abundant knowledge of the laws surrounding the 4th Amendment and our decades of experience, we know just how to help you with your cocaine possession, manufacturing, trafficking, or distribution charge. Bruno Law Offices strives to help good people who have been charged with terrible crimes, and will do what it takes to ensure that you are fairly represented and not overly-penalized.
The lawyers at Bruno Law Offices are here for you. You do not have to wade through the legal jargon or talk with prosecutors alone. Let us help you receive the fair treatment you are entitled.
When accused of possession, distribution, or other crimes related to cocaine, it is important to know what to expect in the proceedings for drug-related crime.
There are two major offenses a prosecutor may try to accuse you of – simple possession, and possession to distribute. While both carry significant consequences, the intent to distribute usually has longer lasting penalties. When a prosecutor is trying to prove either charge against you, they will often look for large quantities of the drug, testimony from witnesses, large amounts of cash in the form of small bills, or even physical baggies of the substance. Convictions based on this evidence can have numerous consequences, including but not limited to:
- Possession: 1 year of incarceration and no less than a $5,000 fine for a first offense.
- Trafficking: 10 years to life incarceration and up to a $50 million fine.
- Burglaries Involving a Controlled Substance: Up to 20 years in prison with a $250,000 fine.
- Smuggling: Up to 20 years in prison with a $250,000 fine.
Other lesser penalties for drug charges include:
- Good Behavior Bonds: For up to five years, the court will give you conditions that you must obey in order to remain in good standing.
- Suspended Sentence: A suspended sentence takes place if you do not fulfill a good behavior bond. Suspended Sentences are only effective for imprisonment of up to 2 years.
- Community Service Order: CSO includes both undertaking a course, such as behavioral management, and/or working for a community without pay.
- Periodic Detention: A type of imprisonment, usually only for two days a week with over-night stays.
It is important to note that while lesser charges such as community service orders are available, they are nearly impossible to negotiate without the help of an experienced lawyer. Most cocaine drug charge cases end in incarceration, hefty fines, or both without an attorney.
Defenses Against Cocaine Charges
Though there can be significant consequences to a charge for cocaine possession, distribution, manufacturing, etc., there are also multiple defenses your attorney may mount for you. Common defenses for cocaine charges include:
- Entrapment: This occurs when a person is induced by a law enforcement officer to commit a crime that they might otherwise have been unlikely or unwilling to commit. Most entrapment occurs when the state provides the drugs distributed, such as convincing someone to pass drugs to a third party. A lawyer may try to convince the prosecutor of the defendant’s character and past refusals as a means to prove them not guilty. If this situation sounds familiar to you, an attorney can help you dispute your case.
- Drugs Belong to Someone Else: An attorney may try to simply prove that you didn’t do it or that the drugs in your possession did not belong to you. Especially in cases where multiple people are charged, with the help of an experienced lawyer, you may be able to rightfully indict the other people involved and get the charges against you dropped.
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: This is the most common type of defense against drug charges. The Fourth Amendment protects against unlawful search and seizure in any law enforcement investigation; therefore, any evidence found in an unlawful search and seizure can be thrown out. If you believe your rights were violated and you are the victim of an unlawful search and seizure, contact an experienced attorney today to discuss your options concerning your case.
- Missing Drugs: If the prosecution cannot present the drugs that you are being accused of possessing, the case may not be valid in a court of law. Seized drugs should be presented physically in a trial to confirm that the evidence does still exist and is not falsified. A lawyer can help guarantee that you are not charged with faulty or insufficient evidence.
Most, if not all, of these defenses are extremely difficult to prove without a legal team at your side. If any of the above situations sound familiar to your case, or there is another defense that you believe pertains to you, contact a lawyer immediately. There is no reason to fight such heavy, life-threatening charges on your own.
What are my rights during a drug search?
If the drug is not visible on your person (such as in your car or home), most often law enforcement will require a search warrant in order to make an arrest or conduct any search. The only times in which a law enforcement officer does not need a search warrant are when the drugs are openly visible and accounted for. In the event that a law enforcement officer asks to search your person or possessions and the drugs are not in plain sight, you have the option to refuse their search.
What are my rights if I have been charged with a drug crime?
First and foremost, you have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney during questioning. Do not speak to any law enforcement officials without a lawyer to represent you. If, during your arrest, you did speak with an official, know that you may now exercise your right to remain silent. Though cooperating may seem like the best option, especially if you know you are innocent, the best defense going forward is to have an attorney present during any questioning.
Why do I need a lawyer if I intend to plead guilty?
An experienced lawyer can help you minimize your sentence, even if you intend to plead guilty. Without an attorney, the court and law enforcement may try to enforce the maximum sentence or maximum fine against you. Even if you plead guilty, you still have the right to a fair trial, and a lawyer can protect those rights. They can also negotiate an acceptable plea bargain for you.
Contact Bruno Law Offices
The lawyers at Bruno Law Offices have decades of experience fighting cocaine-related drug charges like the one you or your loved one currently face. If you have been charged with possession, distribution, manufacturing, or any other cocaine offense, the lawyers at Bruno Law Offices can help guarantee that you are fairly represented, that you receive the lowest sentence possible, and that you are not unlawfully charged without sufficient evidence. Call our lawyers today at (217) 328-6000 for a free consultation to see what we can do for you.