Defending New York Drug Conspiracy Charges

Drug conspiracy charges are unique because they bind together various actors in a drug distribution network and impute shared liability among all of them for each other's actions. As long as a prosecutor can establish that a conspiracy existed, each member is 100 percent liable for the acts of the others in furtherance of the conspiracy.

When someone is convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, the prosecutor does not need to provide evidence that they explicitly distributed narcotics. It is important to contact a skilled drug conspiracy lawyer before heading to trial. Prosecutors only need proof of group agreements and the intention to distribute narcotics more than once. 

Defining an Overt Act

An overt act is anything that a prosecutor can show that furthers the conspiracy's goals. It does not even need to be an openly criminal act. If the prosecutor can show that the end goal of the act was designed to further the ends of the conspiracy; that could be enough for an overt act.

If a person agrees to open a bank account for another person specifically so that the second person can deposit the proceeds of drug sales in some bank account, the first person is a co-conspirator and can be held liable for the drug sales. One seemingly innocent act can be enough, along with an agreement, to get someone indicted for a drug conspiracy charge.

Classifying Conspiracy Charges

Major narcotics distribution organizations typically engage in transactions that could constitute Class A felonies based on the way the narcotic is sold. A conspiracy to take part in a Class A drug distribution felony is a Class B felony. That means that all of the individuals involved in the conspiracy can be charged with a Class B felony, no matter how minor their role is or how insignificant they are to the overall conspiratorial goals.

Potential Penalties

Conspiracy charges are separate from the individual possession or sale of narcotics charges and are subject to different potential penalties. When someone is convicted of a B felony for a drug conspiracy, they can face anywhere from 8 and 1/3 to 25 years in prison. In comparison, the highest possible sentence on an A-II drug conviction is 17 years.

Someone can be charged with the conspiracy and the separate underlying offense. A prosecutor often charges a person with every charge they believe applies to their conduct. The more charges, the better for a prosecutor. If a prosecutor believes they can prove that the person possessed or sold narcotics as part of the underlying conspiracy, the possession or sale charges are included along with the conspiracy charge.

Investigating Charges

Sometimes people charged with narcotics distribution offenses are looking for a lawyer on the Internet. If they see a lawyer who claims they never lost a case, the person must dig a little deeper and Google their name to see the types of cases they represented and whether they are successful. The person wants to find out whether the lawyer demonstrates the ability to commit to hard work and shows the ability to be creative with defenses in cases.

The person should look for a lawyer who can handle a big case and has written successful wiretap motions and motions to suppress wiretaps. Handling wiretaps is almost an area of law unto itself. Being able to craft successful search and seizure motions to suppress can have a positive impact on the outcome of the case. When an attorney has the skills needed to write a successful motion; they can get drug evidence suppressed.

Seeking Legal Representation

Before calling a lawyer to discuss conspiracy charges, a person should be prepared to discuss the facts of the case. Attorneys do not care whether the person they are representing is guilty or innocent. They need to know the truth to avoid being blindsided by something they are not prepared to deal with.

The lawyer wants to know if any statements were made, the types of searches done, whether there are wiretaps, and whether there are any cooperating witnesses. The lawyer wants to start an investigation quickly before the prosecutor is even prepared for such a thing. Attorneys can send an investigator out, speak to possible witnesses, and get them on tape to make an immediate impact on the case from the beginning.