I’ve been involved in a drug crime. What should I do next?
Information If Involved In Drug Related Crimes
Even minor criminal convictions can complicate your life in the long term and eliminate good employment opportunities in the future. A misdemeanor drug conviction could send you to prison for up to a year. Overall, Indiana has relatively strict drug laws on the books and being charged with a drug crime places people in a serious situation. Representation from a criminal attorney is essential.
1. Learn About the Types of Drug Crimes in Indiana
The amount of a controlled substance and evidence about whether or not you were involved in dealing determine the precise drug crimes a person could face. More significant amounts of controlled substances and dealing activity, both individually and together, increase the severity of penalties upon conviction.
Basic categories of drug crimes in Indiana:
Possession describes having a controlled substance. Indiana law subdivides possession into actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession means that police found drugs on your person. Constructive possession means that police found drugs in your vicinity and in the presence of other people.
Possession of paraphernalia refers to the offense of having tools or other items associated with using drugs.
Manufacturing indicates that law enforcement suspects a person of making and/or processing controlled substances. This is a more serious allegation than possession.
Finance or delivery of drugs raises the stakes for a defendant as well. The criminal charge means that you stand accused of drug dealing.
Conspiracy charges can arise when law enforcement believes you are cooperating with others to commit drug crimes.
A consultation with a criminal attorney helps a defendant understand charges and potential penalties. A complete understanding of this information is crucial for selecting feasible defense strategies.
Ideally, you will obtain advice from a criminal lawyer in Indiana before your arraignment, also known as the initial hearing. Even at this early stage, your lawyer may have an opportunity to challenge the reason for your arrest. If probable cause appears to be absent, the chance exists that a judge would dismiss the case.
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2. Find Out Your Possible Defense Strategies
Upon arrest, you might worry that you have no options in court. Do not make this assumption. A criminal attorney will analyze every aspect of your situation.
The case being made by a prosecutor could be weak on one or more fronts. To prepare a criminal defense in Westfield, a lawyer asks questions like:
- Why were you stopped?
- Is the substance in question a controlled substance?
- Were you in possession of a substance or just in the vicinity of it?
- How reliable is witness testimony?
Circumstances vary from case to case, but lawyers have a few ways to fight accusations of drug crimes.
No probable cause – Due to our rights as citizens in a free society, police require probable cause, which means a legitimate reason to suspect wrongdoing before interfering with us.
Violation of Constitutional rights – This strategy covers many issues. Civil rights violations, like assuming someone is a criminal due to race or religious background, could convince a judge to rule evidence collected by the violators is inadmissible.
Other infringements of rights are:
- Searching without probable cause
- Searching areas beyond the scope of a search warrant
- Failing to inform a suspect of rights
- Denying access to a lawyer
- Continuing to ask questions after there is an expressed desire for a lawyer or a wish to remain silent
No drug possession – As mentioned above, sometimes, people get arrested for constructive possession. They were in the presence of drugs and perhaps did not even know the drugs were there. This may happen in the case of roommates or people sharing a vehicle. In general, constructive possession is hard to prove without other meaningful evidence.
3. Decide Between Plea Deal and Trial
Unless your criminal lawyer in Indiana succeeds in getting your charges dismissed, the time will come when you must choose between trying to negotiate a plea deal or going to trial.
This decision is best made in conjunction with a criminal lawyer in Indiana. A prosecutor might frame a plea deal as your best bet. Your lawyer, however, can evaluate how likely you are to succeed or fail at trial. Even if a plea deal represents a good choice, your lawyer might still be able to negotiate better terms than what a prosecutor initially offers.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Westfield
After a drug arrest, your freedom and future depend on making effective choices within the criminal justice system. At Webster & Garino, LLC, we place your rights front and center and insist on fair treatment of our clients. You can speak with a lawyer about your criminal defense in Westfield. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling 317-565-1818 or emailing the office today.