If you find yourself facing drug possession charges, you may be in a panic as police and prosecutors put pressure on you to admit your guilt and quickly accept whatever deal they are offering you at the moment. However, before you make a rash decision that could negatively impact the rest of your life, take a deep breath and make sure you follow these four critical steps following your arrest.
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1- Say as Little as Possible
When you were arrested, police read you your Miranda Rights and began by informing you of your right to remain silent. Rather than dismiss these rights as not being important, do as they say and choose to say as little as possible to the police until you have been able to speak to an attorney. Since anything you say following your arrest can and will be used against you in court, saying little early on could be the factor that determines your guilt or innocence.
2- Ask to Have Evidence Suppressed
As your case begins to move forward, have your defense attorney ask to have evidence suppressed as a way of making it easier to have the court dismiss the charges against you. In many instances, police will knowingly or unknowingly violate your constitutional rights by conducting an illegal search, failing to advise you of your rights during the arrest, or even lying in their arrest report. If any of these can be proven, the court will automatically dismiss the charges and let you walk out of court as the victor.
3- Hire an Experienced Attorney
Even if you know you are innocent or believe that despite being in possession of illegal drugs at the time of your arrest you can still beat the charges, always move to quickly hire an experienced attorney to represent you as your case plays out in the days and weeks ahead. Should you decide to represent yourself, you are sure to lose and probably make a bad situation much worse. By hiring an attorney, they can advise you about how police and prosecutors will attempt to find you guilty, investigate the evidence against you to see if your rights were violated, and work with prosecutors to reach a deal that may get the charges against you reduced or dismissed.
4- Enter a Drug Diversion Program
In many drug cases, the court will offer defendants the chance to enter a drug diversion program as a way to have the charges against them dismissed. If you are given this opportunity, jump at the chance to accept the court’s offer. In such a program, you may need to undergo inpatient or outpatient drug counseling for a specific period of time, subject yourself to regular drug testing, and attend drug education classes. If you complete these steps within a specified period of time and have no problems, the court will dismiss your possession charges.
By being willing to compromise, staying level-headed, and listening to your attorney’s advice, drug possession charges may ultimately have little impact on your life.