It's never pleasant to realize that you're about to be charged with a drug crime. If you're in that situation, it's important to stay calm. Otherwise, you could end up making your situation even worse. The first thing you need to remember is that being charged with a crime isn't the same thing as being convicted. Here's what you need to keep in mind:
You Need to Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent
You have a Fourth Amendment right to remain silent when you're dealing with the police, and you should clearly and unequivocally invoke that right. Other than your identifying information, your only response to questions from the police (before or after you're in handcuffs) should be something along the lines of, "I decline to answer until I have my attorney present."
Why is this important? First, you don't want to inadvertently hand the police information that could be used against you, and anything you say has the potential of being woven into the "evidence" that is presented in court if it fits the prosecution's narrative.
Second, you don't want to say anything that could be construed as a lie by the police. Should you, in your panic, say anything the police can prove is untrue, you could later be charged with obstruction of justice. That can result in a five-year prison term on its own.
Finally, you could limit your defenses. If you provide the police with a narrative before, during, or after your arrest, you could find yourself locked out of certain avenues of defense that might otherwise be an option.
Discuss Your Potential Defenses With an Experienced Drug Crime Attorney
Every case is different, so exactly what defenses apply to your situation is something best determined with the help of your advocate. However, here are some of the most commonly used defenses to drug possession charges:
- You had unwitting possession of the drugs. This means that you acknowledge that drugs were in your possession, but you had a valid reason for not realizing that's what they were. For example, you were delivering a package that you thought contained books and had no idea there were drugs inside.
- The search for the drugs was conducted illegally. The police are not free to do whatever they please. If your rights were violated because they conducted an improper search, then it may be possible to have the evidence against you tossed out.
- The drugs belong to someone else. This is a possibility when the drugs are found in a car with multiple passengers or in a home where several different people live together and share a similar space.
No drug possession case is hopeless, no matter what the police say. You just have to be smart and keep your focus on the future of your case, not at what's happening the moment you are charged.
For more information, contact a local drug crime attorney law firm, such as Giancola-Durkin, P.A.