Drug Crimes

Drug Crime Lawyer in Albuquerque 

Criminal charges related to drugs, whether street drugs or unauthorized prescription medicines, are common in New Mexico and across the U.S. New Mexico drug crimes are particularly acute due to the state’s position as a transit point for narcotics imported into the country. Nationwide, drug offenses make up a significant portion of all criminal charges, with millions of arrests each year for various drug-related activities, from simple possession to large-scale trafficking. 

If you or someone you love has been arrested for a drug crime, you could be facing severe and lasting consequences, depending on the circumstances. Putting an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side is crucial to increasing your chances of a better outcome. 

At Rudolph B. Chavez Attorney At Law, our Albuquerque drug crimes attorney is committed to providing you with comprehensive legal representation. Attorney Rudy Chavez brings 40 years of professional experience to your case and a reputation for close client care and support. 

Book a free initial consultation about your case at Rudolph B. Chavez Attorney At Law by phone at (505) 390-7650 or submit our online contact form

Drug Crimes in New Mexico

Like other states, New Mexico has established “schedules” of drugs, classifying them based on their potential for dependency and abuse and their medical value. These schedules are divided into five groups, with the most dangerous drugs in Schedule I and II. 

Examples of Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, and MDMA (ecstasy). Schedule II includes methamphetamine, cocaine, Oxycodone, and Adderall. Schedule III includes ketamine and anabolic steroids. Schedule IV includes Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. Schedule V has the lowest potential for abuse and consists mainly of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics, such as cough medicines with codeine. 

Common Defenses to Drug Charges in NM

Facing drug charges in New Mexico can be daunting, but there are several common defenses that an experienced drug crime defense attorney might employ to challenge these charges. 

Each case is unique, and the applicability of these defenses depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Here are some common defenses to drug charges in New Mexico:

  • Illegal Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If law enforcement conducted a search without a valid warrant, probable cause, or your consent, any evidence obtained during that search might be deemed inadmissible in court. Challenging the legality of the search can be a strong defense.
  • Lack of Possession: To be convicted of a drug possession charge, the prosecution must prove that you knowingly and intentionally possessed the drugs. If the drugs were found in a location where multiple people had access, such as a shared home or vehicle, it might be argued that the drugs did not belong to you.
  • Chain of Custody Issues: The prosecution must establish an unbroken chain of custody for the drug evidence from the time it was seized until it is presented in court. If there are gaps or inconsistencies in the chain of custody, it might raise doubts about the integrity of the evidence and lead to its exclusion.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement induces a person to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. If you can demonstrate that you were coerced or pressured into committing the drug offense by police, this defense might be applicable.
  • Lack of Intent: Many drug charges require proof of intent. If you can show that you did not knowingly or intentionally possess, distribute, or manufacture the drugs, you might be able to avoid conviction. For example, if the drugs were planted on you or you were unaware that you were in possession of illegal substances, this defense might be viable.
  • Medical Necessity: In some cases, individuals may possess drugs for legitimate medical reasons. If you have a valid prescription or were using the drugs to treat a medical condition, this defense might be applicable. This defense is more relevant for charges involving prescription drugs or medical marijuana.
  • Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution bears the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence against you is weak or insufficient, your attorney might argue that the prosecution has failed to meet this burden, resulting in the dismissal of charges or an acquittal.
  • Miranda Rights Violation: If law enforcement failed to read you your Miranda rights during an arrest, any statements you made during custodial interrogation might be suppressed. This can weaken the prosecution's case, especially if those statements are critical to proving your guilt.
  • Duress or Coercion: If you were forced to commit a drug-related offense under threat of harm, you might raise a defense of duress or coercion. This defense requires showing that you had no reasonable opportunity to escape the threatening situation.
  • Procedural Errors: Errors in the handling of your case, such as incorrect filing of charges, mishandling of evidence, or violations of your procedural rights, can be grounds for dismissal or reduction of charges.

These defenses highlight the importance of having a skilled drug crime attorney who can evaluate the specifics of your case, identify applicable defenses, and effectively advocate on your behalf. Drug charges are serious, but with the right legal strategy, it is possible to challenge the charges and protect your rights.

Dedicated to Providing You with the Best Legal Support
Facing legal challenges can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact us now for a free consultation and let our experienced team guide you with compassion and understanding.

How Drug Crimes Are Charged

The state’s controlled substance schedules play a considerable part in determining drug charges. Your charges will be based on the type and quantity of drug found in your possession. Thus, possession of heroin is a more serious charge than possession of a Schedule IV or V drug. 

Other factors determining the charges include your intent, prior criminal history, whether minors were involved in the crime, or whether the crime was committed in a drug-free zone, such as a school or playground. 

Drug charges can include:

  • Possession: This can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the type and amount of drug involved.
    • Small amounts: Possession of small quantities of certain drugs (like marijuana) may be a petty misdemeanor or a misdemeanor with minimal penalties.
    • Larger quantities: Possession of larger amounts or harder drugs like heroin or cocaine will likely be charged as a felony, carrying harsher punishments.
  • Distribution or sale: Selling or distributing drugs is generally considered a felony in New Mexico, with penalties varying based on the type and quantity of the drug involved.
  • Manufacturing:  This is a serious offense, typically a felony, carrying significant prison time and fines.
  • Trafficking: This is the act of transporting, selling, and distributing large quantities of drugs and is charged as a felony. 
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia: Possessing items used for drug consumption (pipes, bongs, scales) can be a misdemeanor but may be charged more severely depending on the context (e.g., alongside possession charges).
  • Conspiracy: Agreeing with one or more people to commit a drug-related offense. 

Penalties for Drug Crimes in New Mexico

Penalties for drug crimes in New Mexico can be extensive and vary based on the type and severity of the offense. For example, first-offense possession of Schedule I or II drugs can result in up to eighteen months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. 

First offenses of possession with intent to distribute Schedule I or II drugs can result in nine years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Penalties for repeat offenders can be significantly harsher. 

Other consequences can include mandatory drug treatment programs, community service hours, and a permanent criminal record that jeopardizes future employment, housing, and educational opportunities. 

Drug Diversion Programs

New Mexico has drug diversion programs for first-time offenders. One such program is the Pre-Prosecution Diversion Program (PPD). This program allows selected offenders charged with certain drug-related crimes to participate in diversionary efforts focusing on underlying issues such as substance use. Participants work with supervising officers to address the reasons for their criminal offense, which may lead to treatment for substance use.

Continue Reading Read Less

How Rudolph B. Chavez Attorney At Law Can Help You in Drug Cases

Attorney Rudy Chavez has defended countless clients against drug charges. Where applicable, he can help you access an appropriate diversion program. From the outset, he can analyze the charges and evidence to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case. 

He can also question the legality of search and seizure, the integrity of the evidence, and uncover any procedural errors. Throughout it all, when retaining our firm, you can have a proven professional who aims to help you secure the best possible result. 

Learn more about your case and how we can help in a free evaluation. Contact us online or at (505) 390-7650 to get started today. 

Why Clients Choose Us

When Your Future is On the Line, We're Here to Help
  • Client-Centered Approach
    Your voice matters in your defense, and we ensure it is heard through a collaborative planning process. By involving you in every decision, we help achieve the best possible outcome together.
  • Compassionate Defense
    We fight for your rights with empathy and understanding, treating each case with the care it deserves.
  • Decades of Experience
    With over 40 years of legal experience, Attorney Chavez brings unparalleled knowledge to your defense.
  • Affordable Representation
    No one should be without legal help due to financial constraints. He offers flexible payment options to make sure you receive the defense you deserve.
  • Free Consultations Available
    Get started on your case with a free consultation today. We are here to provide the initial guidance you need without any cost to you.
  • Hablamos Español
    We are fluent in Spanish, ensuring clear and effective communication for all our clients.

Start With a Free Consultation

A member of our team will be in touch shortly to confirm your contact details or address questions you may have.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy