Is It a Crime to Sell Fake Drugs in New Mexico?
A drug trafficking charge can result in extremely harsh consequences. But what if the substance you sold wasn’t illegal? Can you face the same consequences for selling fake drugs in New Mexico as you would for selling real drugs? Many clients come to our office asking the same questions.
Even with fake drugs, law enforcement authorities can charge you with drug crimes for cultivating, manufacturing, transporting, or distributing the substance. A drug trafficking conviction could mean several years in prison, not to mention the loss of important constitutional rights. You could lose your right to own a firearm and your right to vote as the result of a felony conviction. If you’re facing drug trafficking charges in New Mexico, contact a drug crimes charges lawyer as soon as possible to begin working on your case. When your rights are at stake, there’s no time to waste.
Does New Mexico Criminalize Selling Fake Drugs?
The New Mexico Imitation Controlled Substances Act refers to fake drugs as imitation controlled substances. Under New Mexico law, an imitation controlled substance is a substance that is not a controlled substance, but its appearance (including color, shape, size, markings, and representations made) would lead a reasonable person to believe that the substance is a controlled substance. To make the determination, the fact finder can consider:
- Statements made by the owner or anyone in control of the substance concerning its nature, use, or effect;
- Statements to the recipient that the substance may be resold for inordinate profit;
- Whether the substance is packaged like a controlled substance;
- Evasive tactics or actions by the owner or person in control of the substance to avoid law enforcement detection;
- Prior convictions, if any, of the owner or person in control of the substance related to controlled substances or fraud; and
- Whether the physical appearance of the substance is substantially identical to a controlled substance.
According to the Imitation Controlled Substances Act, anyone accused of manufacturing, distributing, or possessing an imitation controlled substance with intent to distribute the substance commits a fourth-degree felony.
If you or a family member received charges in New Mexico for possessing or trafficking fake drugs, you should contact a criminal charges defense lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner your New Mexico criminal charges defense attorney starts on your case, the better your chances for a favorable outcome.
What Is the Penalty in New Mexico for Selling Fake Drugs?
As a fourth-degree felony, violation of the Imitation Controlled Substances Act carries a basic sentence of eighteen months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The court can alter the basic sentence if it finds mitigating or aggravating factors that warrant the alteration. Mitigating factors the court may consider include:
- Difficult childhood circumstances of the defendant,
- Showing remorse or taking responsibility on the part of the defendant,
- Drug addiction contributed to the crime, and
- Lack of a prior criminal record for the defendant.
The aggravating factors the court may consider include:
- Use of a deadly weapon,
- If a victim suffered physical harm, and
- Defendant’s inability to accept responsibility.
If the fact finder can establish the aggravating factors or mitigating factors beyond a reasonable doubt, you could face a sentence that differs from the basic sentence.
In New Mexico, if you received one felony conviction that was part of a separate transaction or occurrence, you’re considered a “habitual offender.” Habitual offenders receive one additional year on their basic sentence recommendation. If you’ve received two felony convictions within the past 10 years, New Mexico adds four years to your basic sentence recommendation. If you’ve received three felony convictions within the past 10 years, New Mexico adds eight years to your basic sentence recommendation. Felonies received in all 50 states and Puerto Rico count for this calculation, not just criminal convictions in New Mexico.
Drug crimes often result in serious criminal penalties. If you’re a habitual offender, you’ll likely face even stricter penalties. Hiring a criminal charges defense attorney to help represent you against the state’s charges gives you the best opportunity to serve as little jail time as possible.
Defenses to Charges for Possession of Fake Drugs
New Mexico law specifically prohibits a defendant attempting to use the fact that he or she believed the fake drugs were actual controlled substances as a legal defense. But other defenses might apply to your case, including:
- The fake drugs did not belong to you,
- You knew the substance was not illegal and did not represent it as a controlled substance, or
- Law enforcement found the fake drugs during an unlawful search.
But articulating these defenses requires experience and knowledge of the law. A New Mexico drug crimes charges lawyer can help figure out what legal defenses apply in your criminal case. If one of these defenses apply, your attorney could negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to have your charges dismissed or lessened.
Charged with Selling Fake Drugs? New Mexico Criminal Law Offices Can Help
Our criminal charges defense lawyers at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices approach every case with the care and concern we’d want if we were facing criminal charges. We understand that this is a difficult, overwhelming time in your life. We’re committed to doing everything we can to help guide our clients through the New Mexico criminal justice system. No two criminal cases are the same, so we spend time tailoring a specific defense strategy for each client. We will consider the facts of your case, listen to your pressing concerns, conduct a thorough investigation, and present you with what we believe is a winning strategy.
Our attorneys have over three decades of combined experience representing criminal defendants in New Mexico. We dedicate our entire practice to criminal defense work. If you or a loved one are facing charges of selling fake drugs in New Mexico, call us at 505-375-4765 or fill out our online contact form for a free initial consultation on your case.