It’s common to feel overwhelmed and scared after being charged with a drug-related crime. Since being convicted of drug possession has severe short-term and long-term repercussions, you’ll want to seek legal representation immediately. Working with a drug crimes lawyer in Johnson County, KS, is the best way to receive a reduced sentence.
5 Ways a Drug Crimes Lawyer Can Help Reduce Your Sentence
1. Defense Lawyers Can Determine If Your Rights Were Violated
When you work with a skilled defense lawyer, they will go over every detail relating to your case. At Billam & Henderson, we believe that just because you are charged with a drug crime does not mean you are guilty of the crime. Every charged individual, also known as a defendant, deserves to be represented by a legal team invested in the client’s best interest and ensuring their right to a fair trial is upheld.
Your rights matter before the courtroom as well. During the arrest and search process, officers may violate your rights. If that is the case, your charge may be eligible for dismissal. Some of the common ways police officers violate an individual’s rights are the following:
Police officers cannot search your vehicle or home without a warrant or exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances are situations where the police have reason to believe severe destruction to property or harm to a person may occur if they do not take action. As well as situations where the police have reason to believe that evidence may be destroyed if they do not intervene, or in the case of pursuit where entering a private dwelling is required to stop a suspect’s flight.
However, if you voluntarily permit police officers to search your car or home, they don’t need a warrant or exigent circumstances. Let your attorney know if your property was searched without consent or if you only agreed to the search because you were being threatened or coerced. An illegal search of your property may cause the findings to be disregarded and allow your case to be dismissed.
Since police officers can only detain you for a reasonable time, you may be able to challenge the detention if they hold you without reason for an extended period. Once the standard protocol has been completed, police officers should release you if they do not have grounds to keep you. Your lawyer will be able to help determine whether you were held reasonably or unreasonably and whether that can be used to negotiate a reduced sentence.
Illegal Traffic Stop
Even if the police discovered drugs in your vehicle after you were pulled over, they still need to have a reason to stop you. Since police officers cannot stop cars without suspicion of illegal activity or unless they are performing a traffic violation, charges may be dropped if you were stopped without cause.
Unfortunately, sometimes individuals believe it doesn’t matter why they were stopped because the police found drugs after pulling them over. This belief is untrue, as the officer pulling you over must have had cause to stop you in the first place.
2. Johnson County, KS Lawyers Can Find Witnesses
Having witnesses support your claims of innocence in court can significantly benefit your case and help you receive a reduced sentence. However, many individuals are understandably nervous about providing a statement or acting as a witness in court, especially regarding drug-related crimes. They may worry that they are placing their safety and their family’s safety at risk, or they may somehow become implicated.
When a lawyer approaches a witness, the witness is more willing to participate in the trial or provide an official statement. This willingness is because an attorney can answer any questions about their safety, explain how the witness process works, and what the witness can expect should they participate in court proceedings. In addition, being approached by an attorney is more reassuring than being contacted by the defendant.
3. An Attorney Can Prove You Weren’t Selling Drugs
The opposing side’s legal counsel, also called the prosecution, often claims the defendant had “intent to distribute.” By claiming this, they are implying that you possessed drugs intending to sell them. If you are charged with intent to sell, you face increased fines and jail time. When you work with a skilled defense attorney, they can help prove that you did not intend to sell the drugs.
For example, suppose you don’t have items commonly associated with drug distribution, such as incriminating text messages, transaction records, scales, or large amounts of cash. In that case, your attorney can prove that the drugs were for personal use, not resale. Since selling drugs results in more intense sentencing, proving you were not selling drugs can significantly lower the severity of your sentencing.
4. Lawyers Can Find Mitigating Factors
A mitigating factor is a piece of evidence or aspect of the event that helps build an argument that the defendant should receive a lessened sentence. Evidence relevant to the defendant’s decision to complete the crime, the circumstances surrounding the event, and their character all have to potential to be mitigating factors. There are numerous mitigating factors, and your attorney will try to find as many that apply to your case as possible.
If you were charged along with someone else for a drug crime, you might be able to claim you played a minor role in the event. The less you participated in the crime, the simpler it will be to prove that you deserve to have lighter sentencing.
An example of a circumstance where playing a minor role could serve as a mitigating factor would be if you were paid a small amount to knowingly drive an acquaintance to a location where your acquaintance sold drugs. Your defense lawyer could claim that since you only drove the car and didn’t physically sell the drugs, you played a minimal role in the criminal activity, which could correlate to you receiving lighter sentencing.
Absence of a Record
If the defendant has a clean, or almost clean, criminal record, a defense lawyer can argue that the crime the victim is being charged with is out of character and not an indicator of future misdeeds. While this mitigating factor may not be enough to have a drug charge acquitted altogether, if it is an individual’s first offense, it is easier to work out a decreased sentence for them.
If the defendant committed the crime because they were experiencing temporary emotional instability or difficulty, their lawyer might attempt to use this factor to secure a shorter sentence. For example, if the dependent was previously sober from methamphetamine use but then relapsed following the death of their spouse, it could be argued that the anguish and grief caused by the loss of their spouse caused them to purchase drugs.
5. Attorneys Can Prove You Didn’t Know Drugs Were Present
Depending on the specifics surrounding your case, proving that you were unaware of the presence of any illegal items may offer you the best chance of a reduced sentence. If your attorney can create reasonable doubt regarding whether you knew that drugs were in your car or your home and that they may not belong to you can help increase the odds of your charges being reduced.
When you work with a drug crimes lawyer in Johnson County, KS, they will do everything possible to have your sentence reduced. Contact Billam & Henderson, LLC Attorneys at Law if you face drug charges. Our team is standing by to help you during this difficult time and ensure you receive a fair trial, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case.