What is a Drug Crime Lawyer?
A drug crime lawyer is a criminal defense lawyer who represents people charged with drug-related crimes. They represent them in hearings, plea-bargains, and in court. They investigate the charges and build a case to defend their clients.
A lawyer representing someone charged with drug crimes may try to prove their innocence. In most cases, however, they attempt to get charges reduced or to argue for a lesser sentence. They provide their clients with advice, guidance, and experience that helps them make important decisions.
When Do I Need a Drug Crime Lawyer?
If the police arrest you for a drug crime, you need a lawyer with drug crime experience. These are criminal defense lawyers with special expertise in drug laws and experience representing those charged with drug crimes. You may feel as if the charge is minor, but you could be facing major penalties. These are just some examples of situations in which you should contact a drug crime lawyer:
- You obtained prescription drugs, such as opioids, illegally.
- You were found in possession of illicit drugs or controlled substances, like heroin, cocaine, or MDMA.
- The police arrested you for possession, but you don’t know where the drugs came from or to whom they belong.
- You have been charged for a greater amount of drugs than you actually had.
- You have been charged with dealing or manufacturing when you only possessed the drugs.
- You believe the police abused their power or violated your rights during a drug arrest.
Keep in mind that even if marijuana is legal in your state, it is still illegal according to federal law. It is a schedule I controlled substance, so you break the law when you possess or use it. Talk to a lawyer if you have questions or concerns about whether your marijuana use is problematic or could result in charges.
How Will a Drug Crime Lawyer Defend Me?
If you find yourself facing drug charges, you may think it’s a clear-cut case. Even if you did possess or deal drugs, and the police caught you, there could be other factors or extenuating circumstances that your lawyer will use to defend you:
- Non-possession. It’s possible you didn’t actually possess drugs because you did not know about them. Another person, such as a family member or renter, may have put them in your home without your knowledge, or a friend could have had drugs in your car. This can be difficult to prove but is a possible defense.
- Non-drug. The prosecution has to prove that the substance in your possession is actually an illicit substance. If it’s not, as lab tests may show, then you have committed no crime.
- Unlawful search and seizure. Police cannot indiscriminately search people for drugs or paraphernalia. Your lawyer may be able to make a case that the police overstepped the law when they found drugs in your possession. This violation of the Fourth Amendment means the evidence is inadmissible.
- Entrapment. Police may also overstep their bounds by enticing you into buying drugs. This is called entrapment, and it could get you out of a drug charge.
Can I Get an Alternative Sentence for a Drug Crime?
State laws vary in terms of drugs, possession, and sentencing. Some have programs that allow for alternative sentencing in certain situations. For instance, you may be able to go to an addiction treatment center as your sentence. A drug crime lawyer can determine if this is a possibility and help you get an alternative sentence.
How to Hire a Drug Crime Lawyer
Many firms specialize in criminal defense and take all kinds of cases. Drug crimes have unique circumstances. It’s best to seek a firm or a lawyer with specific experience defending people charged with drug crimes.
Create a list of potential lawyers to help you. Find them by searching for firms that handle drug cases, ask around with friends and family who have been in a similar situation, or ask a lawyer you know who can recommend a colleague. This is an important decision because the consequences of being charged with drug crimes can be life-changing. Meet with the lawyers to ask questions before you make a choice:
- How long have you been working with drug crime defendants?
- How much of your caseload is related to drug crimes?
- What have you been able to achieve for past clients?
- Who in the firm will be handling my case?
- Will you investigate the incident to defend me?
- How long do you think my case will take?
- Do you see any potential problems with my case?
- What are your fees?
If you cannot afford to hire a criminal defense lawyer for drug charges, the court must provide you with a public defender. Work with them to make your case. This is not a situation you can handle without legal representation.
Working with Your Drug Crime Lawyer
Before you meet with your drug crime lawyer, find out what they need from you and come prepared. They may need paperwork associated with your arrest and charges, a police report, and all the information you can share about what happened.
Even if you feel as if you are incriminating yourself, be honest with your lawyer. Tell them what you did and what happened when the police arrested you. Share any important incidental factors, such as your history of drug use and any addiction treatment.
Working with a drug crime lawyer is important if you are facing any level of drug charges. All charges are serious, even if they seem minor. A lawyer will defend you, represent you, and get a fair outcome.