When dealing with a criminal drug offense, it is very important to understand any and all rights afforded to you as a United States citizen. Drug crimes can be contingent on a number of factors, and I will try and clearly explain the ones that pertain to nearly every state. If you find yourself in a current predicament related to a drug crime, then it is highly advised to seek consultation from an experienced criminal lawyer immediately.
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The first major factor to be aware of is the fourth amendment. In summation, the fourth amendment states that it is our right to be secure against any unreasonable searches and seizures. Our right guarantees that we cannot be violated unless there is enough probably cause to do so. The same goes for when issuing a Warrant.
The key in this article of the United States constitution is probable cause. You must ask yourself, did the police officer that arrested me have enough evidence to search and seize my belongings? This could mean that the officer smelled the drugs on you, had seen you utilizing or in proximity to the drugs or paraphernalia used to ingest the drugs, or even had a confidential informant buy the drugs or paraphernalia from you. On these typical cases, the court will reason that the officer or detective on the scene had enough probable cause to search and seize any belongings pertaining to the crime, including your phone.
Once the officer has found enough incriminating evidence, they will usually arrest you depending on the severity of the crime. At that point, you must make sure to cooperate, because if you are cooperating and the officer abuses his powers by using excessive force, you may be able to get a lawyer to fight to drop the case entirely in court.
The officer will then take you to a holding cell where they will book you and ask you any questions, if you are willing to answer them. Sometimes being honest with the officer can work to your benefit, but most of the time you should ask to speak to your lawyer before divulging any information that could be incriminating in court.
Once everything is accounted for, they will ask you to sign any relevant documentation and then proceed to issue you your charge(s). At this point, it is of the utmost importance to understand what you are being charged with, because this can ultimately help you decide what course of action to take. With most simple drug possessions, you will be charged with a misdemeanor which can be expunged, if your state offers first time offender programs. If it’s your second offense, you may face jail time and more substantial fines.
An aggravating factor can also be added onto a misdemeanor. Some aggravating factors include being in a car, school zone, state park or even having a prior criminal record. Adding an aggravating factor to a misdemeanor will most likely result in a heavier fine.
Further, if you find that you’ve been charged with a felony, then you should seek a lawyer immediately. Felonies are usually issued when police officers or detective have enough evidence to prosecute for intending to sell/distribute the drugs in your possession. Hopefully, this will not happen to you, but if it does, do not answer any questions until you have first asked for a lawyer.