DEFENSE STRATEGIES TO CONSIDER FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES

DEFENSE STRATEGIES TO CONSIDER FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in drug trafficking on Thursday, January 16, 2020.

Any type of drug charge can be life-changing upon conviction, but many law enforcement and government agencies take a particularly aggressive stance against drug trafficking. In New York, those convicted of drug trafficking will likely face harsh consequences. Possible sentences include the following.

Major drug traffickers typically receive a sentence of 15 years to life in a prison
Second-time offenders will receive a sentence of 12 to 20 years of imprisonment
Nonmajor drug traffickers could face eight to 20 years of imprisonment as well as a post-release supervision period of five years
Along with imprisonment, those convicted of drug trafficking must also pay a fee from $5,000 to $100,000
As you can see, drug trafficking is an extremely serious offense in the eyes of the state’s lawmakers as well as on the federal level. Serious charges call for a serious response from defendants. Ignoring the charges or merely hoping for a good outcome is insufficient.

There are several strategies drug trafficking defendants can consider to minimize the penalties, or in some cases, overcome conviction altogether. A criminal defense attorney can help you explore your options and choose the best defense for your unique situation. Some of these defenses include:

Entrapment perpetrated by law enforcement personnel
No intent to traffic or distribute drugs
No knowledge of the drugs in question
Drugs were for your personal use only
Infancy, which only works for defendants younger than 16 years of age
Choosing an effective defense strategy requires a thorough knowledge of the state’s laws. As most regular citizens lack this in-depth knowledge, it is wise to have a legal advocate on your side. This is so for all drug charges, but it is especially important when facing a possible drug trafficking conviction.

By : First Page Attorney | January 16, 2020 | Drug Trafficking

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A MAJOR DRUG TRAFFICKER IN NEW YORK?

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A MAJOR DRUG TRAFFICKER IN NEW YORK?
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in drug trafficking on Friday, December 6, 2019.

New York is known for being especially hard on people who are convicted of drug crimes. One such crime is being charged with operating as a major drug trafficker.

In order for someone to be found guilty of this crime, there must be certain elements proven beyond a reasonable doubt. These are:

The person must act as the head of an organization dealing at least one controlled substance where the total aggregate value of a single sale or multiple sales within 12 months or less are $75,000 or more.
A person who unlawfully and knowingly sells a narcotic once or more than once that has a total aggregate value of $75,000 or more within six months or less.
A person unlawfully and knowingly possesses at least once or more than once a narcotic with the intent to sell it with a total aggregate value of $75,000 or more within six months or less.
The charge of operating as a major trafficker in New York is a class A-1 felony. The possible penalties for a conviction for major drug traffickers include a prison sentence of not less than 15 years and up to life imprisonment. The fines assessed to a defendant found guilty of being a major drug trafficker is $100,000.

Some of the possible defense strategies to drug charges in New York include:

Infancy, which is for someone who is younger than 16 years old
Entrapment
Personal use possession
Lack of knowledge
Lack of intent
If you are facing charges for being a major drug trafficker, you need to learn more about your legal options as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine what defense strategy is right for your case and has the greatest chance for an acquittal or mitigated penalties.

By : First Page Attorney | December 6, 2019 | Drug Trafficking

HOW ARE DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES TREATED IN NEW YORK?

HOW ARE DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES TREATED IN NEW YORK?
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in drug trafficking on Friday, September 27, 2019.

New York residents who are accused of drug trafficking will have to take measures to keep themselves safe. Unfortunately, New York has stringent laws that apply to drug trafficking and they can make your life difficult if convicted.

FindLaw states that New York has some of the toughest drug laws in the country. Even first-time offenders who only purchase illicit substances can face huge fines and possibly even time in jail. Many first-time offenses are classified as felonies even if you were simply in possession of an illicit substance. Of course, drug distributors and sellers are subject to even harsher penalties if convicted.

Almost all crimes related to drug trafficking or manufacturing are classified as a felony. Felonies are treated harshly by state law. The minimum fine for a felony drug conviction is $5,000. For people convicted of first-degree sale of controlled substances or operating as a drug trafficker, you could be facing fines many times higher than that – up to $100,000.

Of course, time in prison can vary depending on the infraction. Even a first-time offender can face a sentence of up to an entire year. Others can face decades behind bars. Major drug traffickers can even get life sentences with a minimum of 15 years.

If you are currently facing drug trafficking charges, it is important to know just how life-ruining a conviction could be. Not only could it bankrupt you, but it can entirely strip away your freedoms. Consider contacting an attorney to learn more about how to defend yourself against these charges.

By : First Page Attorney | September 27, 2019 | Drug Trafficking

ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES?

ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES?
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in drug trafficking on Saturday, August 17, 2019.

You may know that it is illegal to sell a controlled substance in New York. However, you may not always know just what a controlled substance is. It is important to know how medications and other substances are classified so you can stay out of trouble.

Most substances fall into a tier system. GoodRX.com says substances are usually classified as either non-controlled or controlled, and the controlled materials usually have several sub-categories. Controlled substances are controlled because you can become mentally and physically dependent on them if you ingest these drugs for too long. The tier system lays out how addictive a drug is. It is usually harder to access the most addictive substances, and doctor’s offices generally have strict requirements for accessing the lower-level substances.

If a drug has a Schedule I status, this means that you cannot purchase it legally even with a prescription. These substances generally may be easy to abuse and they usually do not have a medical use. Schedule I drugs include heroin and cocaine. A Schedule II substance includes drugs such as Adderall and Vicodin. These drugs are controlled substances because you may easily abuse them. You can legally access these drugs if they have a written prescription. If a substance is a Schedule III drug, then it is less likely that you will abuse it. This category includes medications that contain codeine. Because some people may become dependent upon this classification of drug, physicians usually have refill restrictions.

The lowest classifications of controlled substances are Schedule IV and Schedule V drugs. Most of the time, it is unlikely that someone will abuse these medications. A physician may only allow a certain number of refill for Schedule IV prescriptions to ensure you use them responsibly. This category includes drugs like Xanax. A Schedule V substance includes medications like Robitussin AC. While there may be some narcotics in these medications, you typically do not have to follow a doctor’s requirements to access these drugs.

This information is intended to educate. It should not be used in place of legal advice.

By : First Page Attorney | August 17, 2019 | Drug Trafficking

HOW SERIOUS ARE DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES?

HOW SERIOUS ARE DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES?
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in drug trafficking on Friday, July 19, 2019.

New York residents like you are facing some potentially hefty penalties if you are convicted of drug trafficking charges. We at the Law Office of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, are here to explain some common concerns and questions that people facing these charges may ask.

On the topic of how serious these charges are, they are more severe than drug possession charges. Drug possession is typically a more common charge, as prosecutors only need to prove that you were aware that you had the drug in your possession in order to have a good chance of getting a conviction. With trafficking charges, they also need to prove that you had an intent to sell.

Because of this, many cases for drug trafficking are based on circumstantial pieces of evidence. This can include incriminating notes or phone calls. Sometimes, drug trafficking charges may come from “stings” in which police go undercover in an attempt to bust people.

In New York, trafficking charges are all felonies. There are five degrees that you can be charged with. A first offense fifth degree felony will still result in one to two years of time in jail. A major offender may be sentenced from 15 years to life. Anyone who is convicted will also have to deal with hefty fines, regardless of the degree.

Have you been charged with matters related to drug trafficking offenses? If so, consider taking a look at our web page on drug trafficking charges, linked here. We have a helpful frequently asked questions segment that can clear up some confusion and misconceptions surrounding this area of law.

By : First Page Attorney | July 19, 2019 | Drug Trafficking

REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WITH A NEW JOB AFTER A CONVICTION

REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WITH A NEW JOB AFTER A CONVICTION
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in drug trafficking on Sunday, June 16, 2019.

For people in New York who have been convicted of criminal offenses, the thought of getting back into life in a positive way can be exciting and terrifying. One of the most important ways that a person can get their life back on a good track is to get a job that allows them to properly take care of themselves and their family. With so many employers conducting background checks before offering a person a job, one might wonder how to get a job with a criminal conviction on their record.

According to Monster.com, many employers today are more than willing to consider people with criminal records for new jobs. A survey by the Charles Koch Institute and the Society for Human Resources Management found that two out of three people in HR roles and eight out of 10 hiring managers believed that a candidate with a criminal record has just as good of a chance of being a great employee as does their counterpart with no criminal record.

When approaching a job search, it can be helpful for a person to do their own background check. This will provide them insight into what details a potential employer will see. Glassdoor recommends that a job seeker proactively inform a company about their criminal record rather than wait for them to learn about it via a background check.

When discussing past indiscretions, it is important to focus on what was learned from the experience. This can help an employer trust that the person will not repeat the behavior.

By : First Page Attorney | June 16, 2019 | Drug Trafficking

WHOSE DRUGS DID THE POLICE SEIZE?

WHOSE DRUGS DID THE POLICE SEIZE?
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in drug trafficking on Sunday, January 6, 2019.

Should you face drug trafficking or any other type of drug charges in New York, you undoubtedly realize that if you get convicted, you likely will spend a significant amount of time in jail or prison.

What you may not have consciously thought about, however, is that before the prosecutor can convict you of any alleged drug crime, she must first prove that the drugs in question that the law enforcement officers recovered and seized in fact belonged to you and not someone else. This is where the doctrine of constructive possession could come into play.

Constructive possession

When the prosecutor attempts to convict you of an alleged drug crime, (s)he has the burden of proving to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you possessed, owned and/or controlled the drugs that make up the alleged evidence against you. As FindLaw explains, (s)he generally has two ways to do this: by proving actual possession or by proving constructive possession.

As you might suppose, actual possession is fairly easy and simple to prove. All the prosecutor needs is the credible testimony of a law enforcement officer that (s)he seized the drugs from somewhere on your person, such as in one of your jacket or pants pockets.

Constructive possession, on the other hand, poses a significantly greater challenge to both the prosecutor and the jury. Here no officer can testify that (s)he found the drugs hidden somewhere on your person. Instead, the best (s)he can testify to are the circumstances surrounding his or her recovery of the drugs. If the jury finds the testimony compelling enough, they can make the reasonable inference that you possessed, owned or controlled the drugs and consequently convict you.

Illustrative fact situations

Suppose, for example, an officer testifies to the following four facts:

That (s)he flagged you over for a traffic stop
That you drove the car and had three passengers with you
That (s)he searched your car legally
That you gave him or her the key to your locked console box and that is where (s)he discovered the drugs
Under these circumstances, the jury can easily infer that you owned the drugs since you controlled the access to their hiding place.

Now suppose that the officer testifies to the same first three facts, but now must admit that (s)he found the drugs in your unlocked console. Under these circumstances, the jury cannot determine beyond a reasonable doubt who owned the drugs. All four of you in the car had equal access to your unlocked console and equal opportunity to place the drugs there. Consequently, you go free.

This is educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

By : First Page Attorney | January 6, 2019 | Drug Trafficking

THE LIFE ALTERING CONSEQUENCES OF A DRUG TRAFFICKING CONVICTION

THE LIFE ALTERING CONSEQUENCES OF A DRUG TRAFFICKING CONVICTION
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in drug trafficking on Friday, September 28, 2018.

If you are charged with selling, transporting or importing controlled substances in New York you can face severe financial penalties, a ruined reputation and imprisonment. A conviction may stay on your permanent record. At the Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLCC, our team has experience representing clients charged with drug crimes including possession and trafficking.

A felony drug charge can irrevocably change your life. You may lose your driver’s license and be disqualified for many types of jobs. According to FindLaw, the punishment for violating the drug trafficking and distribution laws varies, depending on the following:

Type of drugs involved
Quantity of drugs found
Geographic area of distribution
Whether children were targeted
If law enforcement officials believe you intend to sell the drugs they find, they could charge you with drug trafficking and distribution. This is a more serious crime that carries higher fines and a longer jail sentence than a possession charge. The laws address controlled substances, not just illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin. Consequently, you may face drug distribution and trafficking charges for illegal possession of prescription drugs including pharmaceutical opiates and hydrocodone products such as sleeping pills and painkillers.

Distribution and use of controlled substances are governed by law and classified by different schedules. Statutes at both the federal and state levels address various components of drug crimes, including the minimum and maximum fines and jail terms. Depending on the classification of the drugs, you may get a longer prison sentence than a violent criminal. This makes court trials complex, expensive and often lengthy proceedings. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

By : First Page Attorney | September 28, 2018 | Drug Trafficking

HOW DOES NEW YORK CHARACTERIZE DRUG TRAFFICKING?

HOW DOES NEW YORK CHARACTERIZE DRUG TRAFFICKING?

If you face drug trafficking charges in New York, this is a highly serious crime, and you face substantial prison time and fines if the prosecutor convicts you. As FindLaw explains, New York has some of the toughest drug laws in the country, including five separate categories of selling a controlled substance, all of which are felonies.

It may shock you to learn that the prosecutor need not prove that you actually possessed the drugs you allegedly sold. Nor must (s)he prove that you knew the exact quantity of drugs you allegedly sold or even that you actually consummated the sale. All (s)he must prove to convict you of drug trafficking are the following four things:

  1. You sold a controlled substance
  2. You knew it was a controlled substance
  3. You intended to sell it
  4. You had the ability to sell it

Consequently, if the prosecutor can prove that you merely offered to sell the drugs or entered into an agreement to sell them, the jury likely will convict you of drug trafficking since your offer or agreement proves both that you intended to sell the drugs and had the ability to deliver them.

Penalties upon conviction

As stated, New York law sets forth five categories of felony drug trafficking. Fifth-degree trafficking is the least serious and carries a penalty of between one and two and a half years in prison if this is your first conviction. In addition, conviction subjects you to a minimum $5,000 fine or double the amount you received from your drug sale.

As your alleged crime becomes more serious, so do the penalties you face upon conviction. A first-degree drug trafficking conviction carries the following penalties:

  • Eight to 20 years in prison plus five years of supervision after your release
  • A minimum of 12 years and up to 20 years in prison for a second conviction
  • A minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison if you are deemed to be a major drug trafficker

A conviction for first-degree drug trafficking also subjects you to a fine of $100,000.

This is general information only and not intended to provide legal advice.

By : First Page Attorney | July 7, 2018 | Drug Trafficking

DEA INDICTS FENTANYL DRUG TRAFFICKER

DEA INDICTS FENTANYL DRUG TRAFFICKER

Many people in New York and across the United States have turned to using prescription narcotics for recreational purposes. Fentanyl, a narcotic pain-reliever, is just one of the many types of drugs that are being smuggled in Mexico’s drug trade. Since fentanyl is cheaper to make then heroin, drug traffickers have started pushing these to drug users as a way to increase their profit margin. In 2017 alone, the amount of fentanyl seized from drug operations increased from 35 to 491 pounds. In addition, more than 1,400 people in New York City alone died from fatal fentanyl overdoses.

A New York man was apprehended for drug trafficking as a major member of a Mexican drug ring transporting fentanyl over the border using trucks, couriers and cars. The Drug Enforcement Administration indicted the 41-year old man after an incident where they seized 44 pounds of fentanyl from him in 2017. An undercover law enforcement officer posing as a drug dealer lured the drug trafficker to New York City. When he met the undercover agent to pick up a payment from a drug deal, the officer arrested him.

When people face criminal charges, they often need the assistance of a dedicated attorney. People who are found guilty of committing a crime face a wide-range of penalties, which can affect the rest of their lives. An experienced attorney may act as an advocate to those who need representation when going through the legal process.

Source: Herald & Review, “Alleged drug trafficker charged in smuggling from Mexico,” Tom Hays, Mar 27, 2018.

By : First Page Attorney | April 1, 2018 | Drug Trafficking

Clients Testimonials

Contact Us

Please fill in the form below to get in touch with us

I am attorney Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., and my firm is located in downtown Brooklyn near the Borough Hall and Jay Street stops. The Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, offers free initial consultations to individuals living within all five New York City boroughs. You can reach me at any hour of the day or night, regardless of the complexity of your issue.

To schedule your initial consultation or to learn more about my firm, call 718-596-1829 or complete the lawyer contact form below.