Rhode Island Drug Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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Rhode Island Drug Defense Lawyer

Being charged with a Rhode Island drug crime can have life-altering consequences. Experienced Rhode Island drug lawyer John L. Calcagni III, has nearly two decades of courtroom experience with successfully handles these types of offenses.

Drug offenses in Rhode Island consist of both misdemeanor and felony crimes. Some felony offenses may result in a defendant being denied bail is not defended by an experienced lawyer. Convicted offenders face jail time and many other harsh collateral consequences.

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Rhode Island, call Attorney John L. Calcagni III today for a free consultation.

Experience Defending The Following Rhode Island Drug Charges



What are Drug Offenses?

Drug and Narcotics Offenses are prosecuted at state and federal courts across the country.  The war on drugs is never-ending.   Accordingly, the government continues to step up its investigation and prosecution of drug offenders.

Tools of these investigations include visual surveillance, undercover officers posing as drug dealers and/or customers, confidential informants, motor vehicle stops and searches, wiretapped phones communications, cellphone call and text message history, cellular site data, search warrants, internet surveillance, pole cameras, drug detection dogs, GPS physical tracking and location and more. Because of the increasingly sophisticated investigation methods used to fight drug trafficking, criminal drug prosecutions are at staggeringly high numbers.

Successfully defending against drug prosecutions is more complex than ever and requires very experienced legal counsel

Individuals involved in drug dealing are targeted and prosecuted by the government at all levels. This begins with international criminal organizations responsible for bringing drugs or narcotics into the United States, large national level suppliers or traffickers operating within our borders, regional level suppliers, state and city-wide dealers, mid-level dealers, street-level dealers, and even end-users.

Law enforcement often takes a top-down approach to drug interdiction by coordinating their investigations among local, state, and federal authorities to target and apprehend individuals at top levels of drug trafficking networks and organizations.

Alternatively, the bottom-up approach is also widely used.  This approach targets drug users and low-level dealers who, after being arrested, maybe turned into informants who lead police to their higher-level dealers further up the drug supply chain.

Rhode Island Drug Charges and Drug Sentences

Criminal charges and related sentences for drug offenses are dependent upon the type of drug(s) and quantity involved.  For instance, possessing small quantities of less serious drugs such as marijuana are misdemeanor offenses.   In some jurisdictions, possessing up to one ounce or less of marijuana is only considered a civil or non-criminal violation.   Alternatively, drugs offenses involving cocaine, heroin, and/or fentanyl, regardless of quantity, and larger quantities of marijuana or illegal prescription medications are felonies.  Felony drug offenses are often tied to mandatory minimum jail sentences for convicted offenders.

Rhode Island Drug Charges Consequences

Being charged with a Drug or Narcotics Offense may have serious collateral consequences.

These may include:

  • denial of public housing
  • financial aid to attend school
  • the ability to serve in the military or armed forces
  • various employment opportunities
  • in some states, a license to operate a motor vehicle

What Happens with the Children of Drug Offenders in Rhode Island?

If an offender has children, a Drug or Narcotics Offense charge may also implicate state agencies such as the Department of Child Services (DCS) or the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

These agencies may initiate independent investigations to consider the welfare of a child or children who may have been exposed to a parent who is either abusing or dealing illegal drugs.

This could lead to the removal of a child or children from the household or limiting or restricting parental rights.

A Drug or Narcotics Offense of any type is a serious matter. Therefore, if you have been charged with a Drug or Narcotics Offense, it is important to seek legal representation immediately in order to protect your rights and minimize the impact that a charge of his nature may have on your life.

“Illegal Search and Seizure”

Many drug and narcotic offenses can stem from illegal searches and seizures. A person has a Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the United States as well as under each specific state’s Constitution.

Rhode Island Constitution

Rhode Island Constitution. Article I: Declaration of Certain Constitutional Rights and Principals. Section 6. Search and seizure- The right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers, and possessions, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but on the complaint in writing, upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and describing as nearly as may be, the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Why Hire RI Drug Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni III

  • Former federal prosecutor
  • Proven track record for success
  • Licensed in multiple state and federal jurisdictions
  • Unmatched trial record for winning verdicts
  • Awarding winning criminal defense attorney
  • Fully staffed criminal defense firm
  • Accredited lawyer of distinction
  • America’s top 100 attorneys

Recent Successful Rhode Island Drug Crime Case Results

Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Possession of Firearms in Connection with a Drug Trafficking Offense: Dismissed

Police performing surveillance observed a suspected drug transaction in a commercial parking lot between two motorists.  As the motorists departed separately from the area, police stopped one of them.  The man admitted to police having just purchased some marijuana.  He further cooperated with police by giving his address, denying the presence of drugs inside his home and admitting to the presence of firearms.  He then gave police permission to search his apartment.  The search yielded the discovery and seizure of a 9mm handgun, AR-15 assault rifle, AK-47 assault rifle, digital scale with cocaine residue on it and suspected drug packaging materials.   Police then arrested and charged the man in Rhode Island Superior Court with various drug and firearm offense.  The man retained RI Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to defend him against these felony charges.  Attorney Calcagni filed a motion to dismiss the felony drug charge claiming that his client was a drug user, as indicated by his observed actions and statements to police.  He also moved to dismiss the firearms charges, which carry mandatory jail upon conviction.  Attorney Calcagni argued the firearms were lawfully owned and licensed, and but for being collocated in the man’s apartment with some alleged drug residue and paraphernalia, had no nexus to unlawful drug activity.  The Court and prosecution agreed.  This resulted in the dismissal of all felony charges against the man.   However, the man admitted to misdemeanor marijuana possession and received one year of probation.

Multiple Drug Trafficking Charges: Dismissed and Amended to Maintaining a Common Nuisance with Probation

Police charged a Hispanic male with multiple drug trafficking charges such as Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin, Possession of Heroin in a Quantity Between One Ounce and One Kilogram, Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, and Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws. These charges followed the execution of a search warrant at a third floor apartment of a multifamily dwelling. Inside, police discovered approximately 270 grams of heroin and 30 grams of cocaine. These drugs were bagged and packaged into both mid-level distribution and end-user quantities. As the police entered the home, the occupants fled through the back staircase and onto the sidewalk outside. This is where the Hispanic male and others were detained and placed under arrest. The Hispanic male was charged, as described above, and taken to court for arraignment. At the prosecutor’s request, the Court ordered him held without bail pending the outcome of an evidentiary bail hearing. The man’s family retained Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to represent the man. Attorney Calcagni’s first order of business was getting his client released on bail, which he successfully accomplished. Attorney Calcagni then began shaping and sharpening the man’s defense. During this process, the prosecution offered the man a plea deal, which called for his guilty plea to the drug trafficking offenses. On Attorney Calcagni’s advice, the man declined and demanded his right to a jury trial. As the weeks and months passed, the Defense continued to prepare for trial. Just days before jury selection, however, the prosecution made the man another offer to resolve his case in a more favorable manner. Attorney Calcagni convinced the prosecution to amend or change the alleged conspiracy charge to the reduced, non-drug offense of Maintaining a Common Nuisance. He also persuaded the prosecution to dismiss all drug-related offenses in exchange for the man’s acceptance of responsibility to the amended charge, for which he received probation. This immigration friendly disposition allowed the Hispanic male to avoid a term of incarceration and increase his chances of remaining in the United States.

Conspiracy, Possession with Intent to Deliver Fentanyl, Heroin, Marijuana and Oxycodone, and Possessing a Firearm During Commission of a Crime of Violence:

A Warwick, Rhode Island man was under investigation for selling fentanyl. Police used an undercover officer posing as a drug user to purchase from the man and his co-defendants. After conducting nine undercover purchases, police successfully applied for a warrant to search the man’s home where he lived with his mother and father. Upon arrival, the man’s father let police inside the home and showed them to his son’s bedroom. Inside, they found various quantities of fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone pills, and marijuana, along with a digital scale and drug packaging paraphernalia. They also discovered a loaded 9mm pistol on top of the man’s bed. Based on these discoveries, the man was arrested and charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to deliver the various drugs found and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, which calls for a mandatory minimum jail sentence of three years under Rhode Island law. The man and his family retained Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to defend him against these serious charges. With the undercover purchases and valid search warrant, Attorney Calcagni knew the evidence against his client was strong. This removed going to trial or filing a valid motion to suppress from his client’s options. Attorney Calcagni then focused on building a mitigation packet with an eye toward a pretrial disposition. The packet in this case highlighted the man’s young age, history of substance abuse, multiple suicide attempts, mental health history, education and strong family support. Attorney Calcagni also performed historic sentencing research and a comparison of offenses for similar crimes under federal law. After providing this package to four separate judges, the case was ultimately resolved. Over the State’s objection and request for a 7-year jail sentence, Attorney Calcagni successfully persuaded the Court to impose an actual term to serve of 3.5 years followed by a period of suspended jail time with probation.

View all drug offenses case results.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rhode Island Drug Crimes

What types of drug crime cases does your law firm handle? 

The Law Office of John L. Calcagni can handle any drug charge you’re facing from misdemeanors to felony charges. It doesn’t matter how minor or severe your drug charges are, our law office has an experienced Rhode Island drug lawyer that can help. Contact the Law Office of John L. Calcagni today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

What are the penalties for Rhode Island drug crimes?

The potential penalties you might face for a drug offense in Rhode Island will depend on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Drug offenses can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. In less serious cases, such as possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, can result in a civil violation, which is comparable to a traffic ticket. 

If you’re charged with a drug crime that’s classified as a misdemeanor, you can face up to 1 year in jail and $500 in fines. However, if you’re charged with a drug crime in Rhode Island that’s classified as a felony, the consequences will be much harsher. Penalties for felony drug charges that involve possession of a controlled substance, like heroin or cocaine, and can lead to years in jail, expensive fines, community service, required participation in a drug treatment program, and even a possible suspension of your driver’s license. 

Rhode Island General Laws § 21-28-4.01 States the following penalties according to the Schedule classification of the drug: 

(i) A controlled substance, classified in schedule I or II, is guilty of a crime and, upon conviction, may be imprisoned for not more than thirty (30) years, or fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) nor less than three thousand dollars ($3,000), or both;

(ii) A controlled substance, classified in schedule III or IV, is guilty of a crime and, upon conviction, may be imprisoned for not more than twenty (20) years, or fined not more than forty thousand dollars ($40,000), or both; provided, with respect to a controlled substance classified in schedule III(d), upon conviction may be imprisoned for not more than five (5) years, or fined not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or both.

(iii) A controlled substance, classified in schedule V, is guilty of a crime and, upon conviction, may be imprisoned for not more than one year, or fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.

It’s also important to remember that the consequences of a drug conviction can go beyond jail time, fines, and community service. For instance, you could be denied: 

  • The right to public housing
  • Financial aid assistance for school 
  • The option to serve in the military or armed forces
  • Potential employment opportunities
  • A license to operate a motor vehicle

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony drug offense, you must speak with a Rhode Island drug lawyer as soon as possible. A Rhode Island drug lawyer from the Law Office of John L. Calcagni can evaluate your case and present you with potential drug defense strategies. To learn more about your options and how we can minimize your penalties, contact the Law Office of John L. Calcagni today.

What are some examples of drug crimes in the state of Rhode Island?

The state of Rhode Island classifies the following as drug crimes:

  • Drug Possession
  • Drug Distribution
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Drug Delivery 
  • Marijuana Offenses
  • Manufacturing of Drugs or Narcotics
  • Unlawful Marijuana Cultivation
  • Medical Marijuana Act Violations 

For years, the Law Office of John L. Calcagni has been defending clients charged with every type of drug crime. It doesn’t matter if it’s drug possession, drug distribution, or any other drug offense, we’re here to represent you and guide you through this legal challenge. Contact our law firm today to hear more about the various drug cases we’ve successfully handled.

What are some strategies to defend a Rhode Island drug case?

If you’re working with a knowledgeable and experienced Rhode Island drug lawyer from the  Law Office of John L. Calcagni, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll have access to the strongest and most aggressive drug defense strategies that can apply to your case. An example of a common drug defense strategy for possession charges is a lack of knowledge or awareness. Many defendants can provide supporting evidence to point to their lack of knowledge that the drugs existed in their possession in the first place. 

Another key drug defense strategy points to the way in which the drugs were discovered in your possession. Police officers often make mistakes when attempting to search a person, home, or vehicle. If there was a possible violation of your 4th Amendment rights, your Rhode Island drug lawyer will be able to fight for a dismissal. To hear more about your drug defense options, contact the Law Office of John L. Calcagni today to speak with a drug defense attorney. 

Will I go to jail for a drug crime in Rhode Island? 

One of our primary objectives is to keep you out of jail for a drug crime. While a jail sentence is often a potential penalty for drug offenses, when working with a skilled and experienced Rhode Island drug lawyer, your chances of facing a jail sentence are dramatically decreased.

Is it possible to get drug charges dropped? 

Absolutely. If you read through the various case descriptions and results we have listed, you’ll see that we have successfully had drug crime charges dropped and cases dismissed. When working with the Law Office of John L. Calcagni, we evaluate your case, conduct a comprehensive investigation into your charges, identify any errors made by police, and discover any evidence that points to your rights being violated. We design the best possible drug defense method and work aggressively to get your charges dropped or your penalties significantly minimized. 

Do I need to hire a Rhode Island drug lawyer? 

You may be asking yourself if it’s necessary to hire a Rhode Island drug lawyer to defend you. Because judges take drug crimes seriously and consequences can be dire, hiring an experienced Rhode Island drug lawyer is absolutely worth it. Remember that penalties don’t end at jail time or expensive fines. A drug conviction on your record can prevent you from obtaining life goals, moving forward with a career or education, and negatively affect your reputation amongst your community. When your professional and personal life is on the line, you only want to work with a drug defense lawyer that has your best interest in mind. A Rhode Island drug lawyer can walk you through the judicial process, explain Rhode Island drug laws, answer your questions, address your concerns, negotiate on your behalf, and make you feel more confident about your circumstances. You don’t have to face your drug crime charges alone. Contact the Law Office of John L. Calcagni today to speak with the best Rhode Island drug lawyer.


If you have been charged with drug or narcotics offense and need representation, contact Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.