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Defending Against Drug Crime Charges

Drug crimes are harshly prosecuted, even though the consequences of those related criminal violations are often mild. You might be completely blindsided by the prosecution’s aggression when pursuing what seems like a simple drug possession charge. What can you do to protect yourself from the charges and the penalties that they might bring?

To start, call (317) 565-2221  and connect with the Indianapolis drug crime lawyers of The Criminal Defense Team. We bring decades of collective defense experience to every drug crime case that we handle. Let us build a powerful and strategic defense that keeps the prosecution guessing.

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Contact us online today for more information about drug crime defense in Indianapolis, IN.

Types of Drug Crimes

We know how to build a strong defense case for virtually any drug crime. No matter why you were arrested and charged, you can depend on us to be there to protect you from the worst that the law and the state can do.

Common drug crime charges that we defend against include:

  • Drug possessionOwning or holding an illegal narcotic can result in a drug possession crime. Possession can also include being in control of the substance. For example, you can be charged with possession if an illegal drug is found in your vehicle, even when you are not in the vehicle when it is found. It might not seem like a big deal on paper, but these charges can bring heavy penalties.
  • Drug distribution: You can be charged with drug distribution if you “deal” or sell drugs unlawfully. This charge can cover the distribution of strictly illegal narcotics, as well as the illegal distribution of legal drugs, such as handing prescription medicine to someone who is not on the prescription. It is more serious than drug possession and usually carries harsher penalties.
  • Drug manufacturing: Even more intensely prosecuted than drug distribution is the drug crime of drug manufacturing or the creation of a controlled substance through unlawful channels. You can be charged with this offense if the means to manufacture drugs are found in your control but the drugs themselves are not. The charges will be heightened if you allegedly manufactured and distributed drugs.
  • Marijuana charges: It is illegal to possess recreational marijuana in any amount if that marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC content. The base charge will be a misdemeanor, which can still result in jail time.

Indiana Drug Classifications

Indiana follows the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) guidelines for drug and controlled substance schedules. This system arranges narcotics and drugs into different schedules, loosely based on their known medical uses and risks of addiction. The higher a drug is on the schedule tier, the worse the charges can be brought against a potential offender for possessing, distributing, or manufacturing that drug.

The Indiana drug schedule is divided into these tiers:

  • Schedule I: Includes marijuana, heroin, fentanyl, and more
  • Schedule II: Includes cocaine, oxycodone, morphine, and more
  • Schedule III: Includes LSD, anabolic steroids, dronabinol, and more
  • Schedule IV: Includes diazepam, tramadol, Ambien, and more
  • Schedule V: Includes small amounts of codeine, dihydrocodeine, and opium, and others

Indianapolis Drug Crime Penalties

The conviction penalties that you could face for a drug crime will depend entirely on the specifics of that crime. As your chosen Indianapolis drug crime defense attorneys, part of our job will be to make sure that the potential sentencing requirements you face will be minimized. Ideally, though, we will be able to end your case without a conviction at all.

The penalties for a drug crime in Indiana can include:

  • Incarceration: Up to 180 days in jail for Class B misdemeanors; up to 40 years in prison for Level 1 felonies.
  • Fines: Up to $1,000 for Class B misdemeanors; up to $10,000 fines for Level 1 felonies.

Possession of Controlled Substances

- Possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance: This is a Level 6 felony, punishable by 6 months to 2.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

- Possession of a Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance: This is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

- Possession of marijuana (less than 30 grams) is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Possession of Paraphernalia

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Drug Trafficking and Distribution

Drug trafficking and distribution offenses are typically more severe and can result in longer prison sentences, especially for larger quantities of drugs.

Drug Manufacturing

Manufacturing Methamphetamine (Meth):

Manufacturing methamphetamine or other controlled substances can result in serious penalties, including lengthy prison sentences.

  • Possession of precursors with the intent to manufacture meth is a Level 6 felony, punishable by 6 months to 2.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Actual manufacturing of meth can result in higher-level felony charges and more severe penalties, especially if it involves large quantities or occurs in the presence of children.

Manufacturing Other Controlled Substances:

  • Manufacturing controlled substances other than meth can also lead to significant penalties, with the severity of charges and sentences varying based on the type and quantity of drugs involved.

Enhanced Penalties:

Indiana has enhanced penalties for drug offenses committed within 1,000 feet of a school or park, which can result in additional prison time.

Habitual Offender Status:

Indiana has a habitual offender law that allows for enhanced penalties for individuals with prior felony convictions.

What Sets The Criminal Defense Team Apart

You have your choices when it comes to hiring a drug crime defense attorney. Why should you come to The Criminal Defense Team in Indianapolis first? We think the answer is clear once you know just a little more about us.

Our team is highly experienced and has a long track record of success. What’s more, four of Indiana’s five Board-Certified Criminal Law Specialists are on The Criminal Defense Team. Board Certification is only awarded to attorneys who can pass a notoriously difficult exam that tests the full extent of their legal knowledge. In other words, our Board-Certified Criminal Law Specialists* are experts at what they do, which most other criminal lawyers in the state can’t say.

Potential Defenses Against Drug Charges in Indianapolis

Some possible defenses that may be used against drug charges in Indiana include:

Illegal Search and Seizure

If law enforcement officers obtained evidence against you through an illegal search or seizure, your attorney may argue that the evidence should be suppressed, which could lead to a dismissal of the charges.

Lack of Knowledge

Your attorney may argue that you did not know that the substance you possessed was illegal or that it belonged to someone else.


If law enforcement officers induced or coerced you to commit a drug crime that you would not have otherwise committed, your attorney may argue that you were entrapped.

Lab Errors

Your attorney may challenge the accuracy of the laboratory tests used to identify the substance as illegal drugs.

Miranda Rights Violation

If the police did not inform you of your Miranda rights before questioning you, your attorney may argue that any statements you made should be excluded from the evidence.

These are just a few possible defenses that may be used against drug charges in Indiana. The effectiveness of each defense will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. It's important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case and develop a strategy tailored to your situation.

Need Strong Defense? Call Our Firm

Don’t let a drug charge against you get out of hand. Take action now to defend yourself, your future, and your finances by teaming up with The Criminal Defense Team. Our Indianapolis drug attorneys are always standing by to hear from new and returning clients who need our professional help and legal protections.

Speak with our team by dialing (317) 565-2221 now.

Drug Crimes FAQ

Is marijuana legal in Indiana?

Marijuana or cannabis products for recreation or personal use are illegal in most contexts in Indiana. Even possessing one ounce of recreational marijuana is a misdemeanor. The possession of marijuana paraphernalia can even be a criminal infraction, misdemeanor, or felony in certain situations.

Is it illegal to own a drug but not use it?

Yes, it is illegal to own an illegal narcotic or controlled substance, even if you do not use it. In fact, using a drug is rarely in question as drug charges develop.

Are drug charges a misdemeanor?

Many drug charges start as misdemeanors, but most can also escalate to a felony if the circumstances require it. For example, drug possession can be a misdemeanor, but it can also be a felony if the amount of drugs in the person’s possession is significant.

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  • Indiana Bar Association
  • INDY Bar
  • Hamilton County Bar
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