Norwalk Drug Crimes
For the last 30 years that I have been practicing as a drug crimes defense attorney in Norwalk the flow of drugs and rate of drug arrests has remained consistently high. Despite continual drug arrests and prosecutions over the last two decades the drug problem is worse than ever. Lately what has changed is that the increasing death rate from over doses related to powerful new opioids and the new killer drug fentanyl has taken its toll on the streets of Norwalk. Recently drug overdoses have become the number one cause of death for people under the age of 50, obviously the activities and arrests by the Police are doing little to solve the scourge of drugs in our society. Drug abuse is an epidemic on the streets of Norwalk and in our community. In a rush to be seen as taking back control of the streets in many cases people are falsely accused or have had their civil or Constitutional rights violated. In addition frequently the Police will up charge you will additional allegations such as “possession with intent to sell” or “operation of a drug factory” if you are simply caught in possession of a small quantity of drugs. Often evidence is obtained without following basic principles of criminal justice and in violation of your Constitutional rights against illegal search and seizures. Drug crime allegations carry significant penalties including the possibility of jail time, hefty fines and the possibility of probation not to mention the adverse effects on your ability to secure future employment. If you have been charged with a drug crime such as the simple possession of marijuana, heroin, cocaine or other hallucinogen, or an allegation relating to the sale of distribution of drugs in Connecticut you should contact an experienced Norwalk criminal defense attorney today to review your case and protect your rights. Anyone who is charged with a drug offense of any nature should address it very seriously. A top Norwalk drug defense attorney at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman will review every possible alternative to obtain the best possible outcome of the allegations against you whether it be through the use of a diversionary program such as the accelerated rehabilitation program, a drug treatment program, or when necessary by taking your case to a jury trial to defend you against a false accusation. If you have been contacted by Police regarding a drug investigation or if you were arrested for a drug crime YOU HAVE THE ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS – before you talk to the Police or agree to cooperate by assisting them in making controlled purchases – call an experienced Norwalk drug crimes attorney at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman. Do not answer any questions the Police may ask you, cooperate with the Police, or talk with the Police about your case until you have obtained legal advice from a criminal defense attorney serving Norwalk. We are available to help you 24 hours a day 265 days a year. Call (203) 847-2000. Attorney Friedman has been serving Norwalk for more than 30 years handling all kinds of drug crimes including cases involving simple possession, sale, distribution and manufacture of drugs and narcotics. Attorney Friedman stands ready to provide the zealous, determined and effective legal defense that your drug case deserves.The Legislature’s Decriminalization of the Simple Possession of Less Than One Half Ounce of Marijuana in 2011
In 2011 the Connecticut Legislature started the process of easing our state’s drug laws by making the simple possession of small amounts of marijuana a noncriminal violation. Ask any top Norwalk criminal defense attorney and they will advise you that this radical shift in Connecticut’s drug policy was a double edged sword. Previously, the possession of any amount of marijuana – even a residue – was a misdemeanor crime. While the Legislature did make a big step in making the possession of small amounts of marijuana a noncriminal violation they left the job half way done. When someone gets caught with less than one half of an ounce of marijuana or associated drug paraphernalia they will be issued an infraction ticket which they can simply mail in with a fine to the centralized infraction bureau. The problem is that this creates a permanent record of a guilty plea to possession of marijuana. Many individuals who have mailed in these tickets and plead guilty since 2011 have subsequently discovered that they were turned down for jobs because these simple marijuana possession convictions had come up on criminal background checks that their prospective employers had run. For this reason the vast majority of Norwalk drug crime defense lawyers would advise you to plead “not guilty” to either the charge of charge of simple possession of marijuana in violation of 21a-279a or the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia in violation of 21-267(d) both of which are violations. By pleading not guilty and consulting with a Norwalk drug crime defense attorney you can explore alternative options for resolving these violations which could lead to a resolution without having to plead guilty and picking up a record for marijuana possession. There are many defense options available to get these charges resolved without winding up with a record for marijuana possession which can have long lasting and uncertain effects on your future employment, educational and even housing prospects. For an more in depth discussion relative to defense options for fighting the charge of simple possession of marijuana please visit my guide to defense of these charges on this page – 21a-279a.The Legislature’s 2015 Drug Reform – Simple Possession of Narcotics and Controlled Substances
Ask any top Norwalk criminal defense attorney and they will tell you that Norwalk is notorious for prosecutions of simple possession of drugs within 1500’ of a school, housing project or day care center because there are so many schools and housing projects clustered around the down town area there is practically nowhere in downtown Norwalk that does not fall within 1500’ of a school, housing project or day care center. Previously the mere possession of even a small amount of heroin or cocaine in one of these so called “drug free school zones” would expose you to up to two years of mandatory minimum jail time. Faced with the exposure to the threat of mandatory minimum jail sentences over the years a lot of people have been forced to accept plea offers from the State’s Attorney’s Office in Norwalk to plead guilty to drug crimes and have been left with felony records as a result. Other repeat offenders were sent off to jail. Faced with an overcrowded jail population filled with nonviolent drug offenders many of whom were simply drug users who were caught in possession of narcotics, in 2015 the Connecticut Legislature enacted significant reforms aimed at reducing the penalties for simple possession of drugs. Before Connecticut implemented these reforms our drug laws were among the most severe and strict in the United States. Facing huge budget deficits and realizing that incarceration does nothing to solve the problem of drug addiction the Legislature began the process of shifting our drug policy in Connecticut from incarceration to treatment for those who are caught with small amounts of drugs. Under the new law the simple possession of cocaine, heroin and other controlled substances is now only a misdemeanor punishable only by up to one year in jail. Gone is the felony level charge and the exposure to up to 7 years in jail for a first offense. Obviously this is a huge move in the right direction. In addition, the new law encourages the Court to send repeat offenders into drug treatment programs instead of jail. While this is certainly a huge improvement in our law, these are still misdemeanor charges and a conviction could expose you to up to a year in jail, probation and a hefty fine. It goes without saying that a conviction for possession of a narcotic or a controlled substance would have a significant adverse effect on your future employment prospects. If you have been arrested for simple possession of narcotics or a controlled substance you should contact a Norwalk drug and narcotics defense lawyer in order to explore the possibility of having these charges reduced or dismissed by taking a drug education program.Police Up-Charging of Simple Possession Cases Into “Possession with Intent to Sell” and “Drug Factory” Allegations
It seems that the local Police departments have not been very pleased with the Legislatures’ actions in rolling back on the penalties for simple drug possession to mere misdemeanor level offenses. Ask any of the best Norwalk criminal defense lawyers and they will tell you that very frequently the Police are adding the charges of “possession with the intent to sell” and “operation of a drug factory” which are both felonies in circumstances under which it was clear that the clients arrested were not drug dealers and were simply casual drug users in possession of their personal drugs. I have seen these charges added on or up charged by Police under circumstances where for example someone had their marijuana stash in 2 or 3 individual baggies. Clearly in this example this was not a drug dealer with 40 small individually packaged single sale packs. Never the less it seems that the Police are in some situations trying to bend the meaning of the statute which is somewhat vague and broadly defined to charge someone with a felony level “possession with intent to sell” charge where they should only be facing a misdemeanor possession case.
In a similar fashion for those who happen to have any drug paraphernalia with them when they are arrested the Police have a lot of latitude in electing to charge you with the misdemeanor crime of possession of drug paraphernalia or up charging you and alleging that you were “operating a drug factory” which is a felony. In some situations simply having a small digital scale and some plastic bags to weigh and package your own personal drug supply for personal consumption will be enough for the Police to charge you with the “operation of a drug factory.” Obviously the penalties for these charges are very serve and the consequences of a conviction can have a profound and lasting impact upon your life. If you have been “up charged” or given the additional charges of “possession with intent to sell” of “operation of a drug factory” you need to speak with an experienced Norwalk drug and narcotics crimes defense attorney. For an in depth discussion of “operation of a drug factory” allegations and defenses please visit my guide here. And for more information regarding “possession with intent to sell” charges and defending against them please visit my guide here.Penalties for Sale of Narcotics
Although the legislature has taken significant steps towards lessening the penalties for the mere possession of marijuana and narcotics, the sale of these illegal drugs remains a very serious offense in Connecticut. Our prisons are filled with nonviolent drug offenders who were charged with making low level drug sales to support a personal drug habit. The penalty for the sale of any quantity of cocaine, heroin or other narcotic or hallucinogenic substance for a first offense is imprisonment for up to 15 years and or a fine or up to $50,000 and significant periods of probation. This penalty applies no matter how slight the quantity of the illicit substance sold was. For purposes of this statute it does not matter if the actor was drug dependent or not. The same penalty applies.
For nondrug dependent individuals who are caught selling slightly larger qualities of drugs the consequences become significantly greater. Pursuant to C.G.S. Section 21a-278(a) the sale or distribution of more than one ounce of heroin or one half ounce of cocaine is punishable by a mandatory minimum 5 years in prison and up to 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. These are very serious offenses which require your full attention and an immediate communication with an experienced Norwalk drug crimes defense attorney.Consequences of Drug Convictions
The war on drugs has been a total failure both in terms of being a financial disaster with over a trillion dollars spent and with over a 500% increase in the rate of incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders. Despite these efforts as everyone knows that the drug epidemic is on the rise and addicts have gained access to ever more powerful forms of opioids which pose greater dangers. It is totally irrational that our society continues to use the criminal justice system and incarceration as a tool for fighting the scourge of drugs when drug treatment and rehabilitation is a much more effective and humane method to address this problem. The reality is that the Norwalk Police and the State’s Attorney’s Office in Norwalk takes drug charges very seriously. The Norwalk Police are as active as ever at conducting narcotics arrests in Norwalk and the flow of drugs into the Norwalk area is as great as ever. Drug charge arrest rates, overdoses and hospitalizations for drug related incidents are all on the rise. Make no mistake drug crimes are prosecuted very seriously in the Norwalk criminal Court. When you are facing the exposure to possible jail time, very large fines and lengthy periods of time on probation including very restrictive conditions of probation you should consult with a an experienced Norwalk Drug crimes defense lawyer. Hiring an experienced attorney can make the difference between having your charges reduced or being placed into a drug education program. The Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman has more than 30 years of experience fighting drug allegations in the Norwalk Court and throughout Fairfield County and will zealously fight to defend your liberty and uphold your rights in Court and get you the best possible result.Typical Drug Cases That We Handle Include
- Drug Possession, all kinds
- Possession with intent to sell
- Drug paraphernalia
- DUI – operation under the influence of drugs
- Possession of Drugs in a Drug Free School Zone
- Sale and Distribution of Drugs
- Operation of a Drug Factory
Each drug allegation is different and unique. It is true that every drug case should be taken seriously, some are relatively easy to get dismissed and others are very serious cases which can expose you to the possibility of years in jail. There are really too many factors that go into analyzing a drug crime to evaluate them all on a web page over the internet. In order to properly review your case, and all the available defenses and strategies to resolve your charges it is essential to meet for a free initial case evaluation and consultation. During this meeting we can go over all the details of your individual case, your criminal history and start to develop a game plan to get the best possible resolution for your criminal charges. There is no substitute to a face to face meeting with a Norwalk criminal defense attorney to getting some answers about how to defend your case and what your best options are. Of course the first consultation is always free. When facing serious drug charges and the prospect of jail time and a criminal record it is only natural that you are going to be undergoing a lot of stress, anxiety and confusion about what the future holds and how the criminal justice process works. One of the best things about coming in for a free consultation is that we can answer some of your questions, alleviate your concerns and shed some light on how the Court process works and what to expect. Some of the most important factors which will effect the outcome of a drug case which we will discuss during our initial case consultation include:
- Details surrounding the arrest itself
- Who else was with you when you were apprehended?
- Any past criminal history, are you currently on probation or parole?
- Have you previously used a drug education program?
- What was the type of drugs you were caught with, the quantity seized and the manner in which they were packaged?
- Where did the Police find the drugs – did they ask for permission to search for the drugs – did they have a warrant?
- Are you “drug dependent?”
- Are you willing to engage in drug treatment?
- What is your immigration status?
Only be carefully reviewing all of these factors in detail can we begin to properly evaluate your case and determine what defenses are available to defend you against the allegations which you are facing.Defense Strategies for Defending Against Drug Crimes
The good news is that for those who have been arrested for a drug crime there are a wide range of defense tactics and methods which an experienced Norwalk drug crimes defense attorney will utilize to defend you against the charges and achieve a favorable outcome. I believe that the defense of drug crimes should be taken very seriously due to the serious consequences and penalties which come along with a conviction. I take a no stone unturned approach to the defense of drug cases and will work to find any weakness in the States’ case which we can use to our advantage. Some defenses to drug crime charges include:
Review every detail of the Police stop and arrest to ascertain if all the correct Police procedures were followed and determine if the arrest may have been the result of an unlawful / unconstitutional stop or seizure.
You were issued a prescription from a medical doctor for the drugs seized.
While you did possess some small quantity of drugs they were for your own personal use and you had no intention to sell them (for charges of possession with intent to sell).
In situations where several people were in the same vehicle or home where drugs were seized that you had no knowledge of the presence of drugs.
You are a drug dependent individual.
That you may be eligible for a drug treatment program or a diversionary program.
Review the testing methods employed by the police to test the drugs
The State may does not have enough evidence to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and obtain a conviction at trial
If you have been charged with a drug offense in Fairfield County, Attorney Allan F. Friedman will take the time to answer all of your questions and give you sound legal advice. Attorney Friedman will work hard to put together a winning defense strategy to defend you. He provides each of his clients with personal attention and clear communication, and his rates are reasonable and he offers payment plans. Norwalk drug crimes defense attorney Allan F. Friedman also represents people in Stamford, Darien, Weston, Greenwich, Bridgeport, Westport, Fairfield, Wilton, Cos Cob, New Canaan, and Easton among other Connecticut cities. Our office is conveniently located right off exit 13 on Richards Avenue in Norwalk. We also have an office located in downtown Stamford one block from the Stamford Courthouse at 1100 Summer St. Call us at (203) 847-2000 or contact us via our online form to schedule an appointment. Attorney Friedman also is available to assist you if you need a sex crimes lawyer or representation in fighting charges related to theft, drunk driving, assault, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, and many other crimes.Related Links