A fair number of people get arrested for drug crimes every year. In many of those cases, there is either a guilty plea or the charges are dropped for lack of evidence. In the remaining cases, the defendant can be looking at a complex and prolonged legal problem that requires patience, a full understanding of the process and competent counsel.
What many defendants fail to understand is that a good defense requires action on their part. Their failure to protect themselves can hurt their case and lead to harsher penalties. Here are three things you must do if you are facing drug charges.
Arrange for Bail
It is practically impossible for you to mount any kind of a defense against charges like these if you can’t meet with counsel, gather evidence or witnesses or conduct business in an efficient manner. According to the Law Offices of Thomas, Webb, and Willis, a law firm that works with 1st DUI offense in Atlanta, even if you are just facing your first offense, your interests are best served if you take advantage of the bail process and get in a position where you can help yourself.
Remember you also have an Eighth Amendment right to avoid excessive bail. If you feel your bail has been set too high, consider filing a motion for its reduction. If you can’t get a hearing, ask your attorney to file a habeas corpus motion so you can speak to a judge.
Give Your Attorney Latitude
Your attorney has ways to bargain with prosecutors that you don’t. In a lot of cases, the prosecutor may know your attorney and their reputation in court. If your lawyer is a good litigator and is likely to turn the case against the prosecution and make them work for a conviction, a greater possibility of a deal exists.
Your attorney can’t make any deals without your approval, so let them negotiate and see what they can come up with. Chances are the prosecution doesn’t have an open-and-shut case. If they are talking deal or even listening to proposals, it means they aren’t 100% sure they can get a conviction. Explore all the possibilities.
Challenge All Searches
Absent testimony from a physician present during the arrest, almost all drug cases rest on evidence obtained during a search of the suspect, his or her car or residence. Defending these searches is the responsibility of the prosecutor, but conducting them is the responsibility of the police, and as we all know, the police aren’t perfect.
Probable cause is a high bar to reach. Without it, chances are the search and any evidence it obtained can be thrown out, which can kick the legs out from under the case. Make sure you challenge every search before your case gets to a jury. You might find the charges dismissed for lack of evidence.
Drug charges can be challenging, but they don’t always result in convictions. Make sure you put yourself in a position to mount a good defense and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding penalties.
This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her four-year-old husky Snowball.