Drug charges have the potential to completely upend a person’s life, especially in places like Johnson County, KS, where drug laws are particularly harsh. Even a possession charge can have lifelong effects. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, or someone you know is being held on suspicion of one, it’s vital that you contact a drug crime lawyer immediately. The faster you do, the more likely you are to succeed in beating the charges.
How to Prepare for Your First Meeting With a Drug Crime Lawyer
Call a Lawyer in Johnson County, KS Right Away
Before you can plan for your first meeting with a drug crime lawyer, you need to schedule one. Make this phone call as soon as you possibly can. Schedule an appointment with a drug crime attorney in the Johnson County, KS area. A local lawyer knows the local laws as well as the tendencies of local law enforcement and courts. Their experience with prosecutors and judges in the area will be extremely helpful.
You can briefly explain your situation over the phone to the law firm’s representative, and they’ll schedule a meeting with a lawyer who has experience with the charges you’re facing. A lawyer can also come to where a person is being held if they have not yet been released.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Before meeting with your lawyer, it’s important that there are several things you should not do. We strongly encourage you to exercise your fifth amendment right to remain silent and not share your version of events with law enforcement. Anything you say can be used against you once you’ve been arrested, and you should not talk to the police without legal counsel present. Many prosecutions can be avoided this way.
Furthermore, do not sign any papers or plea agreements without a lawyer present. Prosecutors frequently try to coerce people into signing agreements with the promise of no jail time, however, these promises do not always turn out to be true. In addition, these agreements still leave a crime on your record, which will have life-altering implications. You may have difficulty getting a job or an apartment in the future because of your record.
Explain the Situation
When you first meet your lawyer, you will need to explain the entire situation, including the events leading up to your arrest. Be thorough. If you’ve been arrested for simple drug possession, explain how the drugs came to be in your possession and what amounts of substances you had. Your lawyer is bound to keep this information confidential, so you can share details that may seem incriminating. Your lawyer needs the full story to find a way to help.
Also, be honest. If you lie to your lawyer, that will only backfire if prosecutors can prove your statements false in court. Even if you believe you are guilty of the crime you’ve been charged with, tell the truth. Mention any other prior convictions you may have on your record, however minor. Previous offenses can increase the penalties for new charges. Your lawyer needs to know your legal history to determine the best course of action.
Describe the Arrest
What happens during an arrest can make or break a case. If the police did not follow proper protocols, your case could be thrown out entirely. It’s very important that you recall the events leading up to your arrest and what happened during it. Don’t leave out any details. You should also describe your interactions with the police and what they said to you. For example, if you were driving and you were pulled over, what justification did they give?
These details matter because there are laws that protect your civil liberties. A police officer cannot pull you over without cause, which means there must have been a traffic violation. Simply saying that you or your car fit a description is insufficient. If the officers did not give you a reason for the stop, then your case could be dismissed as the stop itself was illegal.
How Were Drugs Found?
Explain how the police found the drugs that led to your charges. This is important because officers have to follow certain rules to conduct a search. Typically, a search requires a warrant or your consent. If the police asked if they could search your vehicle or home, did you give them permission? Try to recall your exact words.
If police pressured you into allowing a search by threatening you with violence or additional charges, then their search may also be considered illegal, and any evidence obtained by an illegal search can be ruled inadmissible in court, which would exonerate you. Coercion is not consent, and a decision made under duress or stress can possibly be used in your defense.
Document as Much as Possible
Once you’ve explained the entire situation in detail, the next step is to document as much as possible. If you can start doing this before you meet with your lawyer, even better. Can you prove your whereabouts and activity before the arrest? Phone records or location data can be used to support your statements. Receipts from places you visited earlier can also be helpful.
This information can be especially useful if you’re facing more serious charges like intent to distribute or intent to sell. It is always difficult to prove intent due to the additional evidence required. By looking at your recent activity prior to the rest, it may be possible to build a case that shows you had no intent to sell any drugs but were simply going about your regular day.
The Next Steps
What happens after you’ve had your first meeting with your lawyer? Your lawyer may not have enough information yet to give you a final recommendation on what to do. More documentation may be necessary or a follow-up meeting will be scheduled. In the meantime, heed your lawyer’s advice. Although you likely hope for an immediate remedy, legal issues take time to resolve. Patience and trust are vital.
While the goal is always to exonerate you entirely, the circumstances of each case are unique. Many cases do not go to trial, which is often preferable. The time it takes to wait for a trial could complicate your life significantly. A fast resolution is preferred. Your lawyer may meet with prosecutors to negotiate a better plea agreement that does not result in jail time and keeps your record clean. However, a trial could be better in some situations.
What Happens If My Case Goes to Trial?
If your lawyer cannot get your case dropped or reach an agreement that you are satisfied with, you still have the option to take the case to trial. If this happens, there will first be a date set for a hearing where your charges will be explained. If you plea not guilty during the hearing, a date will be set for the trial. During a trial, your lawyer will do everything possible to convince the jury of your innocence.
Your defense is a serious matter. You should always seek professional legal counsel in the event of drug charges. Contact Billam & Henderson Attorneys at Law to schedule a free consultation and get the defense you deserve.