Practice Areas

Drug Crimes

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance

  • Delivering, Distributing, or Manufacturing a Controlled Substance

  • Fraudulently Obtaining Prescription Drugs

  • Drug Conspiracies

Drug cas­es gen­er­al­ly to fall into a two cat­e­gories. “Sim­ple” pos­ses­sion cas­es can involve mar­i­jua­na, cocaine, hero­in, pre­scrip­tion pills, or any num­ber of oth­er drugs. “Dis­tri­b­u­tion” cas­es may involve alle­ga­tions of any­thing from a sin­gle deliv­ery all the way up to par­tic­i­pa­tion in a large-scale drug con­spir­a­cy. Gen­er­al­ly, sim­ple drug pos­ses­sion cas­es and small­er dis­tri­b­u­tion or sales cas­es are more like­ly to stay in state court, while larg­er drug dis­tri­b­u­tion or con­spir­a­cy cas­es may end up in fed­er­al court.

Mar­i­jua­na laws are chang­ing in this coun­try — but not under fed­er­al law, and not in Wis­con­sin. In fact, state and fed­er­al law enforce­ment agen­cies are just as focused on drug crime as ever. A drug con­vic­tion – even a mis­de­meanor for mar­i­jua­na pos­ses­sion – can end a career in many pro­fes­sions, and can even pre­vent peo­ple from obtain­ing fed­er­al guar­an­teed stu­dent loans. For­tu­nate­ly, pros­e­cu­tors are increas­ing­ly will­ing to con­sid­er alter­na­tives to con­vict­ing casu­al users, espe­cial­ly if they under­stand the per­son­al sit­u­a­tion of defen­dants. A lawyer who can com­mu­ni­cate effec­tive­ly with clients and pros­e­cu­tors will make it eas­i­er for clients to take advan­tage of these “sec­ond chance” alter­na­tives to pros­e­cu­tion.

More and more Amer­i­cans are becom­ing addict­ed to pre­scrip­tion drugs. Often peo­ple have a legit­i­mate med­ical rea­son for tak­ing med­ica­tion, but become addict­ed. Because of the grow­ing con­tro­ver­sy over pre­scrip­tion drugs, law enforce­ment agen­cies are focus­ing more resources on inves­ti­ga­tions of ille­gal pre­scrip­tion drug sales, and fraud­u­lent pre­scrip­tions.

Guid­ing clients to effec­tive sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing and treat­ment can play an incred­i­bly impor­tant role in how drug pos­ses­sion cas­es are resolved. If clients can show pros­e­cu­tors or judges a real improve­ment in deal­ing with their addic­tions, or legit­i­mate med­ical rea­sons behind drug use, it can lead to reduced penal­ties, low­ered charges, and even dis­missals of charges. Attor­ney Kin­stler fre­quent­ly refers clients to spe­cif­ic drug treat­ment pro­grams and pro­fes­sion­al health care providers with a record of suc­cess.

Law enforce­ment offi­cers are very moti­vat­ed to find drug evi­dence and make arrests, but they don’t always fol­low the law cor­rect­ly. Fourth Amend­ment “search and seizure” issues are an impor­tant part of crim­i­nal defense, espe­cial­ly in drug cas­es. A pros­e­cu­tor gen­er­al­ly can­not use evi­dence that was obtained ille­gal­ly – for exam­ple, if a per­son was stopped or detained by police with­out rea­son­able sus­pi­cion, or searched or arrest­ed with­out prob­a­ble cause, or if a home was searched with­out a war­rant and with­out con­sent, or if a search war­rant did not con­tain enough infor­ma­tion, or con­tained incor­rect infor­ma­tion. But chal­leng­ing police search­es and seizures of evi­dence can be com­pli­cat­ed and dif­fi­cult. There are many detailed rules, and even more excep­tions to the rules. Court hear­ings can become like minia­ture tri­als. Fight­ing and win­ning requires care­ful inves­ti­ga­tion, research, and writ­ing. Attor­ney Kin­stler has exten­sive expe­ri­ence lit­i­gat­ing – and win­ning – Fourth Amend­ment issues at all lev­els of state and fed­er­al courts.

Con­fi­den­tial infor­mants and record­ed wire­taps can be the most impor­tant evi­dence in seri­ous drug cas­es. The use – or mis­use – of con­fi­den­tial infor­mants can cre­ate prob­lems for law enforce­ment, and it takes skill and expe­ri­ence to use these issues in the defense of a case. State and fed­er­al courts have dif­fer­ent rules for obtain­ing and using wire­taps and oth­er forms of record­ed sur­veil­lance. Under­stand­ing these rules can some­times make or break a case for a defen­dant.

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