Staying in Possession of Your Freedom: What to Do if You're Arrested for Federal Drug Possession
What to Do if You're Arrested for Federal Drug Possession
Drug possession charges can have a powerful impact on your future, especially if the federal government is involved. Here's what you need to know.
You've never had a sinking feeling like the one you'll likely experience if you are arrested on Federal drug possession charges. Your entire future, and possibly even your freedom, is at stake.
Here's what you need to know to get through it.
Try to stay calm!
This might be a challenge, given the panic you're feeling. But, remember this - you've only been charged with drug possession at this point. There's still a ways to go before you are found guilty.
Somewhere in the back of your mind, you remember from civics class that you are "presumed to be innocent until proven guilty".
This presumption of innocence, though not explicitly stated as such in the US Constitution, has evolved from the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments - both of which speak to the "due process" that you are guaranteed under the Constitution.
Law precedent considers the presumption of innocence as a "fundamental element" of due process.
But, do NOT make any assumptions on your own about how the law will work (either for or against you). This is not TV, where the outcomes are decided in an hour on prime time. This is your future - and possibly your freedom - we're talking about.
So, as soon as you can...
Retain a lawyer!
Federal criminal charges of any kind, including drug possession, are very serious. Federal crimes often result in stiffer penalties than state or local crimes. You need to call a law firm ASAP that specializes in Federal Criminal Law to defend your legal rights.
You need the experience and knowledge of The Mays Firm.
"Due process" guarantees that the burden of proof is on the Federal government to show that you, the accused, is actually guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is critical to have a lawyer with you when you are being questioned by the authorities. You also need counsel for your arraignment because that is where your bail for drug possession charges will be argued and set.
It is crucial to know what lies before you, especially if your case ultimately goes to court. You need to know about the possible outcomes and consequences.
There are a host of details that only an experienced attorney can supply you, such as rules of evidence, sentencing guidelines (i.e., mandatory minimum sentences or extra penalties for aggravating circumstances), and plea bargains.
No matter what you're facing, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, we will provide a vigorous defense for your case.
What Shouldn’t I Do?
At the time your arrest, you should do your best to limit what you say to the authorities.
Other than confirming details related to your identification, such as name, address, and age, it is always good advice to remain silent at that time.
Try hard to maintain your composure and to avoid any emotional outbursts that could harm your case later.
How many times have you seen an episode of a lawyer or cop show on TV, in which a suspect is read his "Miranda rights" as he's being arrested?
Here's the standard Miranda warning: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.
You should be aware that your right to remain silent following your arrest doesn’t apply only to verbal statements by you. They also apply to any statements you write down - or to documents that authorities may put before you.
The Miranda warning's purpose is to inform you of your rights against self-incrimination, as guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.
Some Info About Drug Possession Charges
There are two main categories under which most drug possession laws fall:
Simple possession (for personal use); and
Possession with intent to distribute.
It's probably obvious to you that "possession with intent to distribute" (that is, to sell) carries a much harsher penalty upon conviction than "simple possession".
To prove possession with intent to distribute, the government must present some form of evidence to reinforce that charge, such as large quantities of the drug, large quantities of cash in small denominations, testimony from witnesses, et al.
Schedule I Controlled Substances
The Controlled Substances Act dating to the 1970s established 5 "schedules" of drugs, based on:
Accepted medical applications in the US
Safety and potential for addiction
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are tasked with updating and maintaining the "schedules".
Schedule I controlled substances have no currently accepted medical use in the US, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.
Schedule I controlled substances include:
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
So, if you are arrested and charged with possession of a Schedule I substance, you can expect a fight.
Common defense strategies for drug possession can revolve around:
Unlawful search and seizure, which violates the Fourth Amendment
The drugs don't belong to you, they belong to someone else
Was crime lab analysis involved to positively identify the drugs?
Was there a chain of custody violation (i.e., missing drugs)?
Were the drugs planted by someone?
Was there entrapment by law enforcement?
The Cavalry Is Coming To Your Aid - Just Call!
If you find yourself on the receiving end of handcuffs from a Federal law enforcement official and are charged with drug possession, you need The Mays Firm by your side!
Contact us just as soon as you can get to a phone.