Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that many people in Rhode Island abuse. The drug remains illegal in the state, and persons arrested on cocaine charges could face a felony conviction. Understanding Rhode Island’s cocaine laws may help someone realize the consequences they face if arrested.
Suspects may face arrest for cocaine possession, selling cocaine or trafficking the drug. Possession involves having drugs on one’s person or controlling drugs kept at a particular location, inside a vehicle or elsewhere. Trafficking operations could be extensive and involve manufacturing and delivering. A person might traffic drugs by selling small quantities to a significant number of dealers.
Possession is the least serious of the three charges. A person pleading no contest to possessing a small amount may face 100 hours of community service and a mandatory drug education program. Punishments become harsher based on the amount of cocaine someone possesses. Sometimes, life sentences are possible, such as when selling a kilo of the drug.
Drug crime defense
There are numerous ways to challenge drug charges, including raising questions about probable cause and illegal searches. The police could pull over a vehicle, search the trunk and find drugs. An arrest would likely follow, and the defendant may look at many years in prison. That might be the case with a legally invalid arrest. However, if the police stop a vehicle and perform a search without probable cause, such as a broken taillight, the procured evidence may be invalidated.
Other issues could arise in that situation. For example, if only one person knew about drugs, other occupants could be innocent parties. Those persons may find their charges dropped, or they could prove their lack of knowledge and involvement in court. A defendant must know the contraband to possess it. And there are other ways a defense could overcome the charges.