Are you a member of or affiliated with a gang? If you are, you should know that you could be arrested for criminal activities that can be linked to your gang.
This is particularly important to be aware of right now, because law enforcement is currently cracking down and making huge busts in our city. Just last month, approximately 50 gang members we charged with drug and weapons trafficking. This resulted from a two-year investigation that was carried out by both local and federal law enforcement groups.
The group of gang members now face varying degrees of federal and state charges for their offences. At least 21 of these gang members have been charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, and more than 45 of them were arrested on state and federal charges that involve the possession and distribution of drugs and guns.
Depending on what they were charged with, each individual gang member may be facing a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. Things don’t look good for them, either, as apparently a mountain of evidence was confiscated – both drugs and firearms – to support the charges.
Despite this, their situation is not necessarily hopeless. A knowledgeable and experienced Chicago drug crimes attorney understands that there are all kinds of defense strategies that can be used for these types of cases depending on the specific circumstances. If you or a loved one has been arrested, or if you fear that you might get swept up in a bust due to your affiliation with a gang, the best thing you can do is talk with a lawyer immediately.
Below we’re going to go over some of the possible defenses that might be appropriate in your situation.
Defenses against Chicago Drug Trafficking Charges
With the federal government again taking a hard stance on drug crimes, and local law enforcement doing whatever they can to curb the epidemic that led to the most homicides here in a generation, it is more important than ever to work with someone who understands the law and the ways that you can fight back and protect yourself. In many cases, it may be possible to get your charges reduced. Sometimes, a skilled attorney can even have them dropped or dismissed.
Here are some of the most common defenses used to minimize penalties and avoid convictions for drug trafficking charges.
The defendant was in the wrong place at the wrong time
This may seem like one of the most cliché defense lines there is, but there’s a reason why it has been used so successfully. Simply put, if there is no proof that you are a member of a gang or you have strong ties to the gang, it may be argued that you were simply just at the wrong place at the wrong time. This means that you were ignorant of what was happening and therefore innocent of any charge that has been placed on you.
There was no legal warrant obtained to conduct a search
It is not legal for law enforcement officers to search your property without having a warrant, unless there is probable cause. If the search was conducted before a warrant was issued, it is considered illegal and any evidence found in that search can be rendered inadmissible. Without this evidence, your charges may get dropped.
The police did not have probable cause to conduct a search
Without a warrant, the police need to ensure that there is probable cause in order to conduct a search. What constitutes probable cause? That is a case that your lawyer can argue.
The defendant was unaware of the trafficking activities taking place
Even if you are a gang member or have strong ties to a gang, it does not mean that you will be made privy to all that goes on in the group. This is one of the arguments that a lawyer may use to reduce your charges or your punishment. This defense strategy is mostly used for lower-level gang members rather than those in charge.
There was no intent to traffic the drugs found
Getting charged for drug possession rather than distribution or trafficking does not often lead to penalties that are as severe. Depending on the quantity of drugs found, your lawyer may be able to turn this defense strategy into a winning argument.
Bottom line? Do not take these types of charges lightly. If you are facing a drug or gun charge, it is in your best interest to make sure that you get a Chicago criminal lawyer who can come up with the strongest possible defense strategy to give you the best chance at a positive outcome.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.