Three Things You Should Know If You're Arrested on a Drug-Possession Charge
Drug possession is one of the most common drug charges, and it carries serious potential implications, including hefty fines and incarceration. It's important to remember that being charged does not mean you will be found guilty and convicted when the charge goes to court.
In most cases, it's best to hire an attorney with criminal-law experience to go over your charges with you and help you understand your options so you're not facing the charge on your own with limited knowledge of the legal system. If you can't afford an attorney, you can ask the court to appoint one for you.
Stay Quiet During Your Arrest
One of the most important things you can do after being arrested on a drug-possession charge is to keep as quiet as possible until you can speak with an attorney about your charge. Even if the police do not inform you of your right to remain silent, you are still entitled to that right, and, in most cases, it's advantageous to take full advantage of that right until you've spoken to a lawyer.
Provide Only Minimal Information During Booking
Give the police your name, and produce your driver's license or state identification card if an officer asked for it, but otherwise do not answer any questions. If you are booked into jail, you'll likely be asked information about your height, weight, identifying marks, such as tattoos, and property you have in your possession. It's usually fine to answer these, but be wary about answering questions about prior drug use, even if the questions are phrased in a way to make you feel the police or jail employees are asking for health purposes.
It's acceptable to simply state that you will not answer those questions until you speak to your lawyer, but do not lie to the police, as that will only further complicate your case.
Go over Your Defenses with Your Attorney
When you have a chance to speak with your attorney, it's important to be honest about what happened when you were detained by the police. Provide a list of any potential witnesses, and try to recall as much as you can about the incident as soon as possible following the event, when your memories of it are fresh.
There are many potential defenses to a drug-possession charge, so be sure to tell your lawyer if you did not know the drugs were where the police found them, if they belonged to another person, or if you feel you may have been the victim of an unlawful search and seizure according to the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Your attorney will be able to advise you about the best course of action and your best possible defense once he or she knows all the facts of the case.
Contact a law firm such as Barbour & Simpkins LLP to start meeting with a lawyer.