If you have illegal drugs or you create them, you can be charged with a crime and face jail time. Unfortunately, some prosecutors are over-reaching and are charging people with criminal acts even though they aren't actually in possession of a controlled substance.
Because of the potential for prosecutorial overreach, it is essential you have an experienced attorney representing you. A criminal defense lawyer in Birmingham will help to ensure that you are not convicted for something you didn't do.
Reversal of Conviction Shows that Drug Laws Can be Manipulated by Prosecutors
It may seem hard to believe that someone could be charged with a drug crime without actually having drugs on him, but it happened in January of 2012. Police responded to a telephone call from a neighbor who indicated suspicious activity going on an in upstairs room. An officer found a man with two small glass containers and an illegal cookbook called "Uncle Fester's Synthetic Manual." The Officer reported that there were fumes coming from one of the glass containers and the home was evacuated.
In addition to the book and the container, a subsequent investigation revealed "many of the chemicals and glassware necessary to produce methamphetamine." The man was charged with aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs and was sentenced to seven years of prison time.
The reality, however, was that he was not actually in possession of a scheduled drug. The case was appealed and a judge indicated that the conviction was improper because "One cannot 'prepare' or 'process,' and therefore traffick in, a drug that 'is in fact a scheduled drug' without a scheduled drug ultimately being produced."
While this case dealt specifically with a defendant allegedly in the process of producing methamphetamine, similar issues could be raised in other situations where drugs are produced from common household items; as well as in cases involving synthetic marijuana or bath salts. While the federal government banned some types of bath salts in 2012 , bans have been tried many times on these drugs and don't work because altering the chemical formula slightly produces a substance that is not illegal but that produces a similar high.
In the case of the alleged meth creator, is unclear whether prosecutors will now pursue a conviction for a lesser crime, "attempted trafficking in scheduled drugs." If prosecutors do pursue this lesser charge, there is an argument to be made that the defendant did not commit this crime either because he only had some of the chemicals necessary to produce methamphetamine, not all of them.
Regardless of whether the case moves forward or not, this is a classic example of a prosecutor charging a defendant with a crime that was much more serious than his actions would warrant. Prosecutors often bring the most serious criminal charges that they can in drug crimes cases in order to try to convince defendants to accept a plea bargain and avoid going to trial. Mandatory minimum sentencing has contributed to the problem of encouraging over-reach.
Contact Barclay Law at 866-584-1023 or visit https://www.jmbarclaylaw.com to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Birmingham. Serving South Side, Titusville, Red Mountain, Woodlawn, Ensley and surrounding areas.