Why Drug Weight Matters
Most drug statutes increase the penalty based on the weight of the drug. Cases where the weight is near these enhancement levels should not be pled out to the higher offense until the drug has been weighed by an appropriate laboratory.
The prosecutor may establish the weight element of a drug offense in one of two way: (1) by offering evidence of the actual weight of the drug, or (2) by demonstrating that the quantity of the drugs is so large as to permit a reasonable inference that the element of the weight has been established. Only direct evidence, not circumstantial evidence, may sustain a weight enhancement.
In a recent case, the State offered testimony from a chemist who testified that two packages of fentanyl had an aggregate weight of 1.01 grams. However, the chemist also testified that there was a margin of error of plus or minus 0.02 grams per each sample. Therefore, based on the expert testimony, the precise aggregate weight of the drug is between 0.97 and 1.05 grams. The State presented circumstantial evidence that the defendant had agreed to sell one gram of fentanyl. However, the court held circumstantial evidence is not sufficient to support a weight enhancement and found the State had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggregate weight of the fentanyl was at least one gram. This finding resulted in the conviction being reduced to a Level 5 felony from a Level 4 felony.
With over 34 years of handling thousands of criminal cases, clients come to Steven
Knecht seeking his dependable legal advice and service. His commitment to his clients has solidified his reputation for superior representation in the area of criminal defense. He puts clients at ease, explains everything as thoroughly as possible, without “legalese,” and promptly returns phone calls and e-mails.
If you find yourself having been arrested, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer that you can trust such as Steven Knecht to help you fight the State because you have a lot at stake on the outcome.