State and Federal Drug Offenses
As your advocate, I need time to dig into your case and discover the best options for your defense. You will need the skill of an experienced defense attorney in the Summerville and Charleston, SC area. Time is of the essence.
But, what if the drugs weren’t mine?
Were you arrested because the police found drugs in a car that you were riding in and you didn’t know the drugs were there? Were you arrested for possessing drugs that belonged to someone else? Do you know whether the drugs recovered by the police have been tested and weighed in a lab environment (not merely field tested on the side of the road during a traffic stop)? Were you arrested for being in possession of drugs even though the police did not find the drugs on your person (in your pockets, in your purse, etc.)? If a K-9 drug dog was involved in your stop, how do you know if the dog actually alerted (did you know some dogs may alert in ways other than barking?) You should discuss possible defenses with your attorney.
How much jail time can I get for a drug charge?
That depends many factors including the type of drugs in question; the amount of drugs involved; how the drugs were packaged (in one bag, in many different bags, etc.) your previous criminal record; whether your case is being handled in State or Federal court; whether firearms were present during the alleged offense. Was there a large amount of cash found with the drugs?
What if my car, cash, or property has been seized during my arrest?
Understandably you need the items or cash seized by the police returned to you as soon as possible. You may be wondering when or if you will ever get your items or cash back. You may need the cash seized to buy food, pay your rent or mortgage, pay your child support, pay your medical bills, pay your insurance, and other bills. You may need your vehicle to drive to work or drive your children to school. The items seized may have sentimental value to you. You may be wondering how the police can “just take” your stuff. An attorney may be able to help you obtain some or all of the property seized by the police.
What are some defenses when someone is arrested for a drug offense?
The 4th Amendment guarantees against unlawful searches and seizures. Did the police have a search warrant to search? If so, was the search warrant a valid search warrant? Was the warrant issued by a neutral and detached Magistrate? Was the search warrant issued in a timely manner? Does the search warrant describe the places to be searched with particular specifics?
If the police did not have a search warrant, were you searched pursuant to a lawful arrest?
If you gave consent to search, was your consent valid and voluntary? Did you revoke your consent? Were you under the influence when you gave consent? Did the police search areas you did not give them permission to search?
These are some important factors for your attorney to consider.
If you were approached as a result of an “anonymous tip,” was the Confidential Informant reliable? Was the alleged drug transaction videotaped? audiotaped? If so, is this recording available? if the recording is available, can the people in the video be identified? Did the Confidential Informant know your street name, your real name, physical description, etc? If the Confidential Informant is “working off a charge” of their own, what advantages will they have in their case in snitching? Is the Confidential Informant available for testimony in trial? You have the right to confront your accusers under the Confrontation Clause of the US Constitution. Know your rights.
The police must have probable cause for the traffic stop. A mere “hunch” is not sufficient.
If a prescription drug was found, do you have a prescription from a doctor for this drug?
Has the drug been tested and confirmed to be the substance the police thought it was? Does the lab weight equal the weight noted on the police report? Is there a proper chain of custody?
If there was no search warrant and you were searched, did you consent to the search? Was the search pursuant to a lawful arrest? Did someone consent to a search? If so, was the consent voluntary and made by the appropriate person? Was a drug dog or K-9 involved in the “search” of your property? If so, was this search done properly? If the police gathered evidence as a result of an unlawful search and seizure, this is an important factor in your defense.
What if I confessed to something I did not do?
You may still have defenses; it is possible the statement can be “thrown out” or not used in trial. Were you in custody when you made the statements? Were you read your Miranda Rights? If so, did you voluntarily and freely waive your Miranda Rights? Were you under the influence when you waived your Miranda Rights? Did you write the statement or did the officer write it for you? If you speak a different language than the officer, were you offered an interpreter? If you waived your Miranda rights, did you revoke this waiver? Did you request to speak to a lawyer? If so, when did you make this request? Was this request granted?
How will a conviction affect my personal life?
Any conviction, even for the smallest offense, may have long reaching effects. It can result in school disciplinary action, like suspension or expulsion. You may lose a college scholarship and/or a conviction may affect your ability to obtain student loans. If you have children and are in the middle of a custody battle, a drug conviction could be a factor for the Court to consider. A drug conviction can cost you a current or future professional license.
You may benefit from contacting an experienced defense attorney in Summerville, SC before you make any attempt to fight your case or plead guilty. I have the experience to help you identify possible defenses and do so with strength and compassion. To schedule a free consultation for a drug possession case, contact me today.