An old adage “knowledge is power” is especially apt in context of drug arrest. Hence, current defendants and uncharged law-abiding citizens are strongly advised to carefully read and completely heed the list below of six steps to take after being accused of narcotics possession.
1. Minimize case compromise from consensual cooperation
Believe it or not, most criminal cases are built by the accused parties. This widespread paradox results from popular but misguided belief that cooperating with police makes things “go easier.” Reality is quite the contrary, however. Therefore, never consent to any search of person, vehicle or premises. There is nothing to gain and everything to lose by essentially giving law enforcement a license to disregard protective procedures to collect evidence for later use in your conviction.
2. Remain silent
Exercise your legal right to remain silent by refusing to answer questions without a lawyer present. This rule applies before and after actual arrest in addition to casual contacts that occur on public sidewalks for a brief “welfare check” that can escalate to body search and full interrogation. Instead of providing fuel to accelerate the situation, defuse it with a polite refusal and gratitude for the officers’ “concern” and immediately go on your way without another word.
3. Stay keenly aware of surroundings
Regardless of perceived final outcome or circumstances leading up to police contact, be very attentive to every detail and event that transpires throughout its entire duration. This means paying close attention and taking mental notes of possible witnesses and all statements and actions of officers.
4. Create detailed documentation
As soon as possible after the encounter ends, write a detailed account of all observations and impressions. Seemingly minor items may have enormous legal significance that lead to suppression of damaging evidence obtained from improper search or seizure or credible eyewitness testimony to corroborate your version of the events.
5. Be civil to officials
While not conceding one millimeter of legal ground, you must exhibit courtesy toward all official participants in your prosecution. Public officials have broad discretion for virtually opposite actions and decisions that are based on varying ulterior motives without appearing to stray beyond bounds of propriety. Candid remarks by judges and prosecutors are legion that reveal favorable treatment that would not been given — but for great admiration and respect for sterling behavior of an accused or convicted criminal during legal proceedings.
6. Lying to lawyers can defeat your legal defense
Unlike police and prosecutors, attorneys are legally and ethically obligated to protect only your interests. Like doctors who diagnose and treat serious diseases, lawyers need all the facts to make correct decisions. Thus, lying to either your doctor or lawyer can literally be fatal. Instead, spill your guts to give your defense attorney the entire story — no matter how ugly it may seem. Even if the state has an airtight case, certain information might enable your attorney to negotiate a better plea with a “bargaining chip” like testimony against a “big fish” drug kingpin.
A famous political commentator once posited “the price of freedom is constant vigilance.” When it comes to criminal defense, those words convey profound wisdom in every respect. They also illustrate precisely why representation by an experienced narcotics lawyer who fights for your legal rights with the zeal of bulldogs on bloodhounds is the best approach to prepare for your big day in court.
MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE. CALL HANNAN & BLACK LAW GROUP TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION.
DISCLAIMER: This article and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. Anyone to whom this communication is not expressly addressed should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from their legal advisor.