Misdemeanors Crimes that are regarded as less serious than felony offenses, but more serious than summary offenses are called misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are usually punishable by a fine and/or incarceration in a local prison for a period of less than one year. The conduct may give rise to both felony and misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanors are usually charged by a written complaint or information. The charges may be considered minor, but being accused of a misdemeanor and being convicted of one, can cause a major disruption in your life. As in any criminal case, it is essential that, if you are charged with a misdemeanor, you have zealous representation. A person accused of a misdemeanor should seek out help of an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to the preliminary hearing. The attorneys at Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law, have vast experience at representing the accused at preliminary hearings. At the preliminary hearing, our representation may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced. Drug Offenses Drug charges cover a broad range of offenses from the less severe misdemeanors like simple possession of a small amount of certain drugs to the more serious felonies such as participating in an ongoing drug-related enterprise or manufacturing, distributing drugs, or possessing a large amount of drugs. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports estimated that in 2013 there were a total of 1,501,043 state and local arrests for drug violations in the United States. If you are one of the many facing drug charges this year, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel at immediately. A drug charge does not mean you are guilty and will be convicted. We can challenge the evidence that has been improperly obtained or handled. Even minor charges can be terrifying and carry the risk of serious penalties upon conviction. Serious charges can give rise to even graver consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney can take some of the terror out of the drug charges by answering questions and guiding an accused offender through the legal maze that awaits. Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law, have handled many complicated drug cases. We have the experience you need to get the best possible results. The United States Judicial System is divided into state and federal courts. Whether a person accused of a drug-related crime is prosecuted in the federal or state criminal system depends on what laws were violated and the policies and procedures of each court system. Out of the millions of felony prosecutions filed each year, only about three percent are filed in the federal system. Often a particular criminal behavior will violate both a state and a federal law, and drug charges are no exception. The offender could be prosecuted in both systems for the same criminal activity. Most federal and state prosecutors divide up criminal charges based on availability of resources, which statute most closely fits the criminal conduct, available punishment in each system, and each system’s policy considerations. If accused of a drug charge, it is crucial to contact an attorney who understands both systems through long experience. The lawyers at Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law, have experience in defending the accused in state and federal courts. The Fifth Amendment mandates that charges for all capital and “infamous” crimes can be brought by an indictment returned by a grand jury. The Amendment has been interpreted to require an indictment to charge all federal felonies, including federal drug charges, unless a defendant waives his or her right to be indicted. The Supreme Court has concluded, however, that states are not bound by this part of the Fifth Amendment. Although legal counsel for the person at the center of the proceedings and for witnesses testifying in front of the grand jury cannot be in the grand jury room in federal proceedings, the lawyers of Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law, can provide advise outside of the presence of the jury and explain the grand jury process, taking some of the mystery and fear out of this procedure. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects an individual against unreasonable searches and seizures of his or her person or property. A search may involve an inspection of the person or his or her surroundings or property. Seizure refers to taking the person or property into police custody. Often, if a seizure is invalid, it is because the seizure was preceded by an invalid search. In many drug cases, the arrest and evidence used to support a conviction results from a search and seizure. If the constitutional limits were not applied to the government’s conduct, however, the evidence may be deemed inadmissible and the charges may be dismissed or un-provable. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise his client on whether the evidence leading to a drug charge may have resulted from an improper search or seizure and answer all other questions regarding the criminal justice process in drug cases. The attorneys at Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law, have experience in filing preliminary objections to the unlawful search and seizure.