Someone may receive drug conspiracy charges when they are alleged to have participated in a narcotics offense with another person. The state law addressing conspiracy crimes is Virginia Code §18.2-256. This law establishes that any person who conspires to commit any drug offense is punishable by imprisonment or fine.
Drug conspiracy charges are somewhat different from other narcotics-related offenses in that a person does not necessarily need to be in possession of a controlled substance or directly participate in the exchange of said substance to be found guilty.
Because these cases can become extremely complex, it is important to contact a skilled attorney for legal guidance if you are facing these charges. A McLean drug conspiracy lawyer could build a case in your defense and work to mitigate the potential penalties.
Drug conspiracy is a serious offense. It is just as serious as other drug-related charges in that a person can receive the same punishment for a conspiracy charge as they can for the underlying criminal offense.
The possible penalties in Mclean for the conspiracy charges depend on a few factors. One of those factors is the underlying charge. Others include the specific substance and the amount with which the person is alleged to have engaged in an illegal transaction.
It is important to note that a person can be charged with both conspiracy and the separate underlying offenses. However, just because someone is convicted of the underlying offense, this does not mean that the prosecution can necessarily prove that the same person or multiple people engaged in an illicit transaction.
An essential element of a narcotics conspiracy offense is an agreement between two parties to commit a subsequent distribution offense together. The Commonwealth must prove that anyone accused of conspiring to commit a narcotics offense shared the intent to do so.
These investigations operate similarly to how they work for distribution cases. Officers may work with confidential informants and undercover officials to gain information on those involved in narcotics transactions. This may include reviewing text messages, placing people under surveillance, and more to gain evidence against someone.
In these cases, the court examines circumstantial evidence such as communications between parties and any abnormal actions taken by an accused co-conspirator that may indicate that the person played a role in the conspiracy to commit a drug offense.
A McLean lawyer could review the evidence against a defendant in a drug conspiracy case and build an argument refuting it. Examples of scenarios that courts accept as evidence of intent to engage in a drug crime may include:
The defendant sold cocaine to a co-conspirator and received partial payment of less than an agreed price. The court held that the defendant retained an interest in and maintained continuing participation in co-conspirator’s venture.
By advancing cocaine on credit and ensuring that the co-conspirator could perform their obligations, the court held that defendant became partner in venture and therefore evidence supported finding sufficient evidence of an agreement between and concert of action by parties sufficient to prove conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt.
The defendant and a third-party made a pre-offense agreement during which the co-conspirator flagged down an unmarked police vehicle, inquired as to the occupants’ interest in purchasing drugs, and told the driver to travel down the street to a known narcotics area.
The co-conspirator then instructed the driver to return to their original location and told the driver to pull up near the defendant. Where the co-conspirator relayed to the defendant the type and amount of drug requested by the occupants of the vehicle, the court found sufficient evidence of a scheme.
A defendant and her boyfriend agreed to meet an informant and drove her boyfriend to the parking lot, where he made a quick transaction. The court held that the defendant’s role was neither accidental nor inadvertent and, as such, found the defendant guilty of conspiracy to commit a drug offense.
Defendants facing drug conspiracy charges in McLean should look for a lawyer who knows the procedures and is familiar with motion practice in these types of cases. For example, conspiracy charges often involve the use of confidential informants.
While a confidential informant’s information is generally deemed privileged, defendants can file a motion with the court to learn the identity of this person and their criminal record, if any. This is important as it can assist in building a defense by allowing an attorney to argue against the veracity of the informant. This can be a major turning point in a defendant’s case especially when the confidential informant is the prosecutor’s main witness.
In their initial meeting with a defense attorney, a person should be prepared to discuss:
Looking for a McLean drug conspiracy lawyer is somewhat different than looking for a legal professional to represent a person facing general criminal charges. The state’s drug statutes and precedents are nuanced.
A person facing these charges should work with someone knowledgeable about these nuances. Such attorneys could strategize defenses as well as assist with a defense-based investigation. If law enforcement charged you with drug conspiracy, schedule an initial consultation today.
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