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Drug charges filed after police search woman's home

Drug offenders may face potentially serious consequences, including long prison sentences, when arrested under New Hampshire drug laws. This is even more true when the alleged violator has a prior conviction on his or her record. Defending against serious high-level drug charges is always a major job for criminal defense counsel because the consequences to the accused client could be devastating.

A 51-year-old woman recently arrested by the New Hampshire State Police Narcotics and Investigations Unit is facing what could be significant prison time. The State Police and Epsom Police Department jointly executed a search warrant of the woman's home on Feb. 21. Afterwards, they arrested her on charges involving the sale of heroin and possession with intent to deliver heroin and cocaine.

Based on sketchy press reports, the details of the arrest are unknown. When defense counsel interviews the accused, counsel will do a thorough investigation of all the surrounding facts and circumstances leading up to the arrest. There are many defenses that may apply in any case, and those defenses will be fact-specific to what the defense attorney learns through the investigation.

In such cases, the legality of the search warrant must always be evaluated against mandatory Fourth Amendment protections and under applicable provisions of the New Hampshire Constitution. The manner of execution of the search warrant must also pass constitutional muster. The police filed a charge of selling heroin, which raises numerous questions about the identity of the alleged purchaser and other circumstances of an alleged sale. It will be important whether there was one alleged sale or a string of alleged transactions.

The New Hampshire State Police also report that the accused was previously arrested in Pittsfield in Aug. 2016 on drug charges involving the possession of drugs, possession of drugs in a motor vehicle, and having an open container. It is possible that the 2016 arrest is still pending in anticipation of either trial or plea negotiations. Seasoned and experienced defense counsel will act aggressively to coordinate the two cases to minimize the total impact on sentencing.

Source: Concord, NH Patch, "State Police Make Drug Dealing Arrest", Tony Schinella, Feb. 21, 2017

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