Drug Crimes

Drug Charges

The charges are typically alphabet soup: PCS, MCS, DCS.  The letters stand for Possession of a Controlled Substances (PCS), Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (MCS), and Distribution of a Controlled Substance (DCS).  The Roman numerals following the charge (for example PCS II) means the drug is listed on the federal controlled substances schedule II.  Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, and psychedelic mushrooms.  Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and crack cocaine.  There are other schedules too, including ones for illegal possession, distribution or manufacture of prescription drugs.

In defending a drug charge, first look to the lawfulness of the police encounter and whether a search was conducted illegally to obtain the evidence against you. Consider whether the police had probable cause to search, and to arrest.  In cases involving warrants, look to whether the warrant was legally obtained.  Consider whether any consent obtained to search was voluntary or coerced, and whether any entry into a vehicle, house, or personal belonging was otherwise tainted by police misconduct.

In Oregon there’s two kinds of possession: actual and constructive.  Actual possession occurs when they find the drugs on you or you admit to possessing them. Constructive possession means you have the right to exercise control over them, but they aren’t physically on your person.  Constructive possession is more difficult to prove than actual possession, but under the law if you constructively or actually possessed drugs, you can still be charged or convicted.

If the case is charged as a delivery, look to see the quantity of the drugs and whether there was an actual buy, or merely possession with the intent to deliver. Sometimes delivery cases are confusing because there was no hand-to-hand deal.  The State takes the position that drugs are like pizzas.  If you’ve got one pizza, that’s for personal use; if you’ve got twenty pizzas, you’re going to do something else with them because there’s no way you’ll eat all that for yourself.  They view drugs the same way.  Got a little dope? That’s personal use.  Got a lot? Poof.  You’re a drug dealer, even though there may be a totally different (and innocent) explanation.

When defending a manufacture of a controlled substances charge (MCS), the case will often turn on whether or not a commercial drug offense was taking place or just a small time operation.  Because commercial drug offenses can carry stiff prison sentences, proving a case was not a commercial offense often constitutes a win when it makes the difference between prison and optional probation.

Drug charges include: DCS, MCS, PCS;  Supplying contraband, Frequenting place where controlled substances are used, Tampering with drug records;  Causing another person to ingest controlled substance, Imitation controlled substance delivery;  Possession of Meth, Delivery of Meth, False application for prescription drugs, DCS to minors, DCS, MCS, or PCS within 1000′ of a school, PCS precursor w/ intent to manufacture.  Many drug charges are also Ballot Measure 57 charges with heavy mandatory minimum prison sentences.

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