Wisconsin Drug Lawyer for Possession and Dealing Charges
Every day across Milwaukee and Waukesha County numerous people are arrested for drug charges. What will happen with their case depends on a lot of different factors including how knowledgeable, aggressive and experienced their defense attorney is. But no matter whom you are or who you hire, there are seven important things you need to know about your drug case.
This one may seem obvious but it is extremely important to remember. Law enforcement and the courts are going to look at your case differently depending upon what it is they are saying you possessed. While marijuana possession may be legal in various places around the United States, it is still illegal in 2016 in Wisconsin. The fact that it is legal elsewhere does not legalize it here. Just the same, if you had to be charged with possessing any particular drug, marijuana is about as low on the scale as it gets. Keep in mind that the more marijuana you are charged with possessing, the worse it will be. At some point, you may have a better outcome if convicted possessing a smaller amount of a ‘more serious drug’. Some examples of more serious drugs, stepping up the ladder from marijuana, would include various party drugs such as MDMA, ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms, and among others. While some areas within the state will sometimes group these either with marijuana or with harder drugs. These are often times thought to occupy the space somewhere in between marijuana and your hard narcotics. While all drug cases are serious in Wisconsin, these are generally thought of as being worse than marijuana but better than some of what follows.In the worse category of drugs, in most areas of Wisconsin, you will find cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamines, and various opiates to include prescription pain pills like oxycodone, OxyContin as well as heroin. With the heroin epidemic sweeping Wisconsin, heroin has become regarded as about the most dangerous serious drug that someone can be tied to. As a result, a lot of the opioid prescription pain killers that people commonly use on the path to heroin, are sometimes treated only a shade or two better than heroin. In certain counties, prosecutors will do their best to force anyone caught in possession of any amount of heroin, no matter how small, to be convicted of a felony. In northern Wisconsin where methamphetamine can be more of a problem, their priorities are often split with heroin. The type of charge you are facing and the type of outcome may normally get will vary quite a bit depending upon the drug as well as your defense attorney. A skilled defense attorney will be able to carefully assess and analyze all of the available defenses and mitigating circumstances in your case to achieve the best possible outcome regardless of the type of drug or how much the police say you had.
This topic can be difficult for a lot of people to understand. Law enforcement in Wisconsin is often organized at the county level. Every county has their own sheriff and district attorney along with various other police departments and other forms of government that help to make local policy and practice comes to dealing with crimes including narcotics. What does that mean in English? It means that you can get arrested for the exact same thing in two different counties and have very different outcomes simply because law enforcement handles these cases differently in different areas. That may not be fair, but that is just the way it is. Certain counties may be harsher on criminal defendants across the board, but usually, every county has a few things that they go extremely hard on and a few things that they go less hard on compared to their neighbors. What that means for your case is that you need an attorney who is experienced and qualified to know and recognize those differences and apply them in your matter. They need to know what goals to be accomplished and how to accomplish them given the local landscape of politics of people in the justice system. Jails and prisons are full of people who wanted to be a martyr for their cause or unknowingly became one because they were given bad advice by their defense attorney on what could be accomplished at trial and what couldn’t. What you need is an honest assessment, the strengths and weaknesses of your case and what can be done wherever those charges are.
Along with what kind of drug are they alleging you possessed and where are they saying you possessed it, it is also important to take into the picture of how you possessed that drug. A simple possession charge is going to be seen as a more ‘mitigating’ factor than a delivery or sale charge. Being involved in any drug dealing activity, regardless of the type of narcotic involved, will always make the case extremely more serious. There is an old saying that, “users get probation and dealers go to prison," and while that may not always be true, especially these days, there is still at least a little bit of wisdom in it. A simple possession charge is when law enforcement is alleging that you were found to be in possession of a substance. They do not believe that you were involved with the sale or distribution of that substance, merely the possession. This is considered to be at the lowest end of the scale.
Possession with intent
A possession with intent charge is when law enforcement is alleging, though they do not have any evidence to show that you were in the process of making a delivery or sale, or that you made any other delivery or sale, but simply that it looks like you were going to make a delivery or a sale. Some factors that will contribute to this picture will be the quantity of the narcotic, such as a personal use amount of marijuana versus pounds of marijuana, as well as how the drug is packaged along with the presence of cash and scales. There are obviously numerous other factors that law enforcement look at, but those are some frequently seen ones. Since many drug transactions include cash, a scale to weight the narcotic, and some kind of packaging system that is usually done by mass or weight, it makes sense that law enforcement looks at these factors quite seriously when they find an individual in possession of some narcotics. But just because someone cashed their recent paycheck and they have a digital scale for baking in the kitchen, does not mean that they are some kind of drug dealer. There are numerous factual and legal issues that play into this charge. It is important that your attorney is experienced and knowledgeable in examining all of them.
Delivery and Selling Drugs
A sale or distribution of any drug will automatically escalate that case into a very serious category. It does not matter what kind of drug it was, who it was sold between or how much alleged to have been sold. Law enforcement will always take the sale of any drug extremely serious. If you are convicted of delivery of a narcotic, regardless of the amount, there is a very good chance that you will be sentenced to a period of confinement in either the jail or prison and possibly even years away from your friends and family. There are numerous different approaches that law enforcement has developed and honed to catch and prosecute people in the sale and distribution of drugs. Sometimes, law enforcement gets too aggressive and may violate the United States Constitution. This is when you need a good defense attorney most to defend you to earn the best outcome.
A question that some people get asked by law enforcement just after being arrested on a narcotics charge is whether they are willing to be a CI. What is a CI? A CI is a confidential informant under Wisconsin’s confidential informant laws. This means they will want you to sell or purchase drugs from other individuals so they may catch other people involved in illegal narcotic activity.
Is it a good idea to do this?
It all depends. This is a choice that really only you can answer. On the one hand, if you do a “good job” for the officers it may result in either a dismissal or reduction of all charges. This may be able to save or protect your future. On the other hand, if you are not able to deliver what the officers were expecting of you, it can actually backfire and end up hurting you in certain cases. The usual undercover narcotics officer, who you may find yourself speaking to, can be an extremely busy detective who is working a number of different cases at once. They will not have time to hold your hand and answer a lot of questions. They will not have time for you to not produce results. They do not have time for you to procrastinate and hope they forget about your case. If they think you are being dishonest with them and holding something back, they can end up hurting you even if you are being 100% cooperative with them. Unlike what you have seen on TV and in Hollywood, there is rarely specific deal that they cut with you upfront. There is almost never something in writing. The usual offer and arrangement go something like this: “We want you to go ahead and make between two to four buys in the largest amount possible from any dealer you want over the next several weeks. If you do not or cannot, then we will send your charges to the District Attorney’s Office. If you can and you do a good job, then we will see what we can do for you." Does not sound too promising, does it? But that is the sort of deal people find themselves agreeing to all across Wisconsin with undercover officers.
As a general rule, officers know that if they do not honor their end of the bargain, it will hurt their ability to get future CIs to agree to help them out. As a result, things often end well for people if they do a good job and if they are able to get enough to specifics up front from law enforcement about what they have to do when they have to do it by and what will happen if they are successful. Other times, people feel cheated about the outcome. Perhaps they were able to turn over a few dealers but were still charged with their own case. While every defendant and story are different, there are usually a complex variety of factors to explain every scenario. It is extremely important that you have a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you with law enforcement and to give you honest, straight talk answers to the questions you have and others you may not have thought about.
Drug cases are often times decided by one of three different defense issues that come into play; police contact, the search, and confessions.
Odds are law enforcement is not saying that you walked into the police department with a backpack full of drugs. Instead, they probably made some sort of stop that eventually led to a search on you walking around in public or perhaps a car that you were in that was on the road. Other occasions may include searches of homes or apartments, possibly using a warrant. But the initial police contact, sometimes called “the stop," is an extremely important part of a narcotic case. If the stop was done illegally, it can result in a suppression of all of the evidence that was later found after a search and when the prosecutor does not have any drugs to prosecute a drug crime with because those narcotics were obtained illegally, it usually will result in a dismissal of all charges. There are a lot of important and technical laws to determine that your experienced criminal defense attorney needs to recognize and follow in your case to determine whether or not the officers followed the law. This is why it is extremely important that you have the best criminal defense attorneys representing you in a narcotics case.
Even if the drugs were laying in the open on the backseat or the dashboard, something that while rare is not unknown to happen, the officers still have to have a legal reason to search the car, backpack, home or apartment, purse, pants, etc. that the drugs were in to get them. Even if law enforcement made a legal stop, all of the evidence and the case against you may be thrown out if the search that followed was illegal.
Law enforcement will always ask for people to tell them what is going on. This can often turn into a confession where you make inculpatory statements that will be used against you in court to prove that you are guilty. While any attorney worth their law degree should tell you to never speak with the police, it may not be hopeless if you did. There are specific rules that law enforcement must follow in order to make your confession stand up in court. Were you in legal custody? If so, was Miranda properly read to you? Did you waive your rights, or did you assert your rights? There are a lot of complicated and tricky factors that go into the determination of whether or not somebody is legally in custody and when law enforcement actually has to read you your rights. Most people, thanks to Hollywood and TV law, think that the police must always read you your rights to make any confession stand up in court. That is just not the case. Contact a real criminal defense attorney with real court room experience to review your case. A lot of people they were unfairly set up by law enforcement and as a result are being unfairly prosecuted. This is known as entrapment. So what is entrapment, and when does it happen?
Entrapment is known as an affirmative defense in a criminal case. An affirmative defense is when someone is not saying that they did not do something, but instead that they should not be found guilty because of the defense. A common example of an affirmative defense is a self-defense homicide. If someone is trying to kill you, you might have the right under law to kill them first. If you were charged with a homicide as a result, then your defense can be self-defense.
But what is entrapment?
Entrapment is when there is an inducement of a person to commit a crime not contemplated by the person for the mere purpose of instituting a criminal prosecution against the person. It is decided by the trier of facts at a trial. What does that mean in English? It means that if somebody was able to influence another person to commit a crime that they were not going to commit in the first place, then that may be entrapment. The simple fact that somebody offered to sell you drugs and you said sure, is probably not going to be enough to show entrapment. However, if they kept asking you day in and day out, calling you at home, texting your phone, or messaging you through face book, that could be a case where entrapment occurred. Obviously, that example is not too realistic but it solves the point. Most entrapment cases fall somewhere in between the two examples. The central issue is not whether an undercover agent or the police gave someone the opportunity to commit a crime and they took it, but instead where did the intent to commit the crime come from in the first place. It is important to remember that entrapment is only a defense that can be raised at jury trial and by raising entrapment the defense is usually admitting everything that is necessary for the jury to find the defendant guilty; namely that they possess the drugs and so forth. The defense is simply saying that someone planted and grew the intent for the defendant to commit the crime.
Many times when the suspect is young or we are talking about small personal use quantiles on a lower level drug like marijuana, the police may give the suspect a ticket for possession of a controlled substance or possession of paraphernalia. What is the difference between a ticket and a crime?A crime is any offense punishable by a term of confinement. In other words, if you are found guilty and convicted can you go to jail? If the answer is yes, then it is a crime. If you can only go to jail because you failed to pay the court costs, then that is a ticket. Or if it is only punishable by a fine or forfeiture, then that is a ticket.
But should you be worried about “only a ticket”?
YES! You may not be eligible for student loans, you may lose a scholarship, you may lose your job as well as your license for years even if you are convicted for “just a ticket." Depending upon your job or career path and what you want to do someday, it may stop you from pursuing your dream position, especially if you work in or around the medical field. Yes it is a ticket. No, it is not a crime. But it is also not just a ticket! A ticket offense is something that will follow you for a lifetime and be on your record for anyone that wants to do any kind of background check. Unless you look forward to answering questions about your drug conviction next time you apply for a job or perhaps twenty years from now you are applying for life insurance, a loan, or that big promotion. The best thing you can do is to contact an experienced criminal defense firm to answer your questions and give you all of your options on what to do with “only your ticket."
Contact the Milwaukee drug defense attorney for a consultation today.
The Drug Lawyers Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin Trusts for Impressive Results
When you or someone you know is facing drug charges in Wisconsin you need a highly experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney who will produce a case-winning drug defense strategy.
Our Milwaukee lawyers perform a detailed case analysis to evaluate the evidence, protect your rights, and produce the best drug defense options.
As one of the most respected criminal defense law firms in Milwaukee, our Wisconsin drug possession lawyers treat your case with the personal attention it deserves. The Grieve Law LLC Milwaukee drug lawyers are exceptionally skilled at defining case-winning defense strategies for drug charges.
You are not guilty unless you are convicted™
Drug Charges in Wisconsin: State and Municipal
Depending on the circumstances of your case, municipal and state drug charges under Wisconsin drug laws can be extremely severe, especially for those with prior convictions including drugs and Wisconsin firearm charges.
Drug Charges Commonly Paired with OWIs
OWI/DUI charges aren’t just for drunk driving. You can get an OWI for driving under the influence of any drug that impairs your ability to operate the vehicle safely. If you’re pulled over for driving while high, you could be facing these related charges:
If you’ve been charged with an OWI and any other related offenses, you need legal representation by the best drug lawyers in the state. Schedule a free consultation today to learn your options and find out our strategy for get charges reduced or even dropped.
- Arrested on Drug Charges Milwaukee Attorney
- Possessing or manufacturing illegal drugs with intent to sell or distribute
- Possessing narcotics
- Distributing or selling illegal drugs
- Conspiracy to a drug crime
- Maintaining a drug trafficking place
- Possession of paraphernalia
- Marijuana possession
- Possession of cocaine or intent to distribute cocaine
- Possession of heroin
- Prescription drugs without or with intent to distribute:
- Possession of ecstasy
- Possession of LSD or other hallucinogens
- Possession of any other narcotics deemed illegal by Wisconsin or Federal Law
If you're facing any of the allegations above, you need a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney with a proven record of success. Grieve Law LLC has the experienced Milwaukee drug lawyers who can get your state or federal Wisconsin drug charges reduced or dismissed.
Wisconsin follows the same drug classification system as the federal government. The classification is broken down into “schedules”. They include:
- Schedule I: Defined as the most dangerous drugs and have a high risk of addiction or dependency with no legitimate medical use. The list includes LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, GHB, and heroin.
- Schedule II: Still have a high risk of abuse and dependency, but have medical uses. The list includes opium, cocaine, oxycodone, amphetamines, and more.
- Schedule III: Drugs less dangerous than those in Schedule II, but still have a moderate risk of abuse. The list includes codeine, anabolic, steroids, ketamine, and other depressants.
- Schedule IV: Drugs with a slight risk of dependency and have exceptional medical use. The list includes clonazepam and other depressants.
- Schedule V: Substances with a very low risk of dependency including some over-the-counter medications with codeine.
- Jail or prison time from 6 months to 6 years or longer
- Hefty fines starting at $500 and reaching $10,000
- Property forfeiture
- Drug treatment programs
- Being disqualified for federal loans for college
Drug charges can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the type of drug, the amount, and any prior drug-related offenses. The best way to understand the exact penalties you’re facing is by speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
In many cases, our Milwaukee lawyers can prove:
- No probable cause for a search and seizure
- No search warrant existed
- The search and seizure was improperly conducted
- Evidence was compromised
- Fourth Amendment violations regarding surveillance or wire-tapping
- Insufficient proof of identity
Many people charged with drug crimes in Wisconsin believe their rights have been violated by police entrapment. Winning on an entrapment claim is a rarity, but it does happen. It is more likely that there are other factors which contribute to getting drug charges reduced or DROPPED.
Getting caught with marijuana in Wisconsin is at least a misdemeanor charge. If you're caught with weed and you're charged with intent to distribute, sell or deliver, penalties start with a felony. If you're caught growing marijuana, the penalties are harsher. In spite of the efforts of Wisconsin NORML, the Wisconsin chapter of a national organization dedicated to reforming marijuana laws, getting caught with any form of THC in Wisconsin is a crime - even edibles and hashish (hash). Our Southeastern Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys have created winning defense plans. We may be able to help!
Drug House Laws in Wisconsin
Keeping a drug house in Wisconsin is a misdemeanor, whether the place is for using, manufacturing, storing, or delivering controlled substances. If you’ve been caught maintaining a drug trafficking place you can be also be charged with possession and intent. Our Milwaukee area criminal defense lawyers provide legal advice and defense strategies for all misdemeanor and felony drug charges.
Our Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys provide legal defense for everything from first offense drug possession to felony drug charges. When it comes to drug charges in Wisconsin you can’t afford to compromise on other lawyers; you need the very best criminal defense lawyers in Milwaukee. No matter your budget, we offer reasonable rates and work with you to set up flexible payment plans.The Grieve Law LLC Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers know prosecuting attorneys bring the harshest penalties for drug charges in Wisconsin, especially against the second, third and repeat offenders. Whether facing state or federal drug charges in Wisconsin you need the best drug lawyer Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin has to offer - from New Berlin drug charges and Menomonee Falls defense strategies.