Drug Crimes FAQ
Over the last few years, there have been changes to the drug laws in this country. In some cases, they’ve become stricter, and in others, fairer. Some have been on the federal level and others by individual states. Due to these changes many people are confused about what the drug laws are and how they can affect you or your loved ones. We put this blog together to answer some common questions we hear on the subject and try to bring some clarity. The following information will only apply to drug crimes and laws in the State of Wisconsin.
How are Drugs Classified in Wisconsin?
Like many states, Wisconsin classifies controlled substances into different categories called “schedules,” depending on the substances’ potential for abuse, the existence of accepted medical use of the substance, and the potential that abuse of the substance could lead to psychological or physical dependence. The schedules are broken down as follows:
- Schedule I: These are substances that the government has decided are the most dangerous to users because of a high risk of dependency and the lack of legitimate medical use. These include: Marijuana, Heroin, LSD and Ecstasy.
- Schedule II: These are substances that the government has decided have a high risk of abuse, but still have some medical value. Substance in this Schedule include: Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Methadone and Opium.
- Schedule III: These are substances that the government has decided are less dangerous than the ones found in Schedule II, but still have some risk of dependency. These include: Codeine, Hydrocodone, Ketamine and Testosterone.
- Schedule IV and Schedule V: The government has decided that substances in these Schedules are relatively low-risk and have many accepted medical uses. Most of the drugs in these two Schedules are common prescription medications.
What Types of Drug Crimes are there in Wisconsin?
There are various types of drug crimes in the state of Wisconsin including: possession, possession with the intent to distribute, deliver or manufacture. You could also be charged with the actual distribution, delivery or manufacture of controlled substances (illegal drugs). The possession of drug paraphernalia is also a common crime in Wisconsin. This includes equipment or products used to grow, produce, package, store or use a controlled substance.
What Type of Penalties Could I Face if Charged with a Drug Crime?
Drug crimes are typically charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. Whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor can depend on several factors:
- * The type of substance you were in possession of when detained, i.e. what Schedule it falls into.
- * The amount of the substance.
- * Your prior history of drug crimes.
This can be broken down further depending on whether you are being charged with possession, possession with intent to deliver, distribution, delivery, or manufacturing. Possession, especially for first-time offenders, carries a much lighter penalty than delivery, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacturing.
What Should I Do if Charged with a Drug Crime?
Wisconsin takes drug crimes very seriously and, depending on the specific county, prosecutors will often pursue draconian penalties. The best thing you can do is contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. To avoid incriminating yourself, it’s best to remain silent, and not talk to anyone about the alleged offense. Here at Nelson Defense Group, we strongly advise every person charged with a crime not to accept a plea bargain or enter a guilty plea until you’ve had an opportunity to consult a defense attorney and under no circumstances should you accept a plea bargain or enter a guilty plea unless you have had an opportunity to review your case with a criminal defense attorney.
If Charged with a Drug Crime, What Type of Defense Strategies Can be Employed?
Depending on your circumstances and what you are being charged with there are several different defense strategies that can be brought to bear. The two most common challenges are to the search and seizure process and challenging whether the government can prove the specific charge at issue.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime, contact us immediately! We have successfully handled numerous cases involving clients charged with drug crimes and are Wisconsin’s premier criminal defense firm for defending people accused of drug crimes.