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Sentencing issues for synthetic drug charges

As a previous post highlighted, being charged for a drug possession crime could carry serious penalties. While possessing a large quality of a drug could lead to a drug distribution charge as well, being is possession of a synthetic drug can present some problems when it comes to charging, convicting and even sentencing an accused offender in New York or elsewhere.

In fact, drug enforcement authorities are often left writing the rules and regulations on the spot as they discover new and modified drugs. With regards to a synthetic drug, if it is devised to mimic another drug or contains similar components or chemical makeup as other drugs, it is possible to charge an alleged offender with a crime with penalties relative to that drug.

But this is where it gets challenging for the courts and regulatory agencies. If one court interprets a situation or synthetic drug one way and another one interprets it differently, this results in broad disparities when it comes to sentencing for future similar offenses. This also opens up the avenues for defense options and even appeals for these types of drug charges.

Because it is often difficult to determine clear guidelines for these cases, defendants are likely to benefit from including an expert witness in his or her matter. These experts could help explain the components of the supposed synthetic drug, helping a defendant make a claim that it should not be treated like a mainstream illicit drug that carries harsh penalties for its possession.

No matter the type of drug offense an individual faces, it is important to understand what defense options are available. A well-though defense not only serves to protect the rights of the accused but also assists defendants with reducing or dismissing the charges against them.

Source: Wspa.com, "Synthetic drugs causing confusion in sentencing," Jan. 24, 2017

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