It’s Only a Minor Drug Charge: Should I Spend the Money on an Attorney?
If you have been arrested and charged with a minor drug infraction—possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana—you may be inclined to simply plead guilty and avoid the cost of an attorney. After all, you were caught red-handed—what possible defense do you have. An attorney would only be an additional cost, with little or no benefit, right?
As a general rule—no, it’s not in your best interests to appear in court on a drug charge without qualified legal counsel. Prosecutors have a lot of leeway when it comes to prosecution of drug crimes. They also understand the language and the rules far better than you do. Without an attorney, the chances are much stronger that a prosecutor will simply ask the court for the maximum penalty. Without an attorney, you may not know that there are other options. And a skilled attorney can often minimize the consequences of a conviction or get you a reduced sentence or charge through a plea bargain.
In addition, an experienced lawyer may be aware of defenses you can raise that would not occur to you. For example, the search that led to your arrest may have been conducted in violation of your rights under the U.S. Constitution. Police may have lacked a warrant or probable cause, or may have obtained information from an unreliable source. You may have been a victim of entrapment, or you may have lacked the knowledge or intent required by the law.
The important thing to remember is that any conviction and subsequent penalty will go on your permanent record. If you are arrested again, your prior conviction may be used to increase penalties against you. With a skilled attorney in a minor drug case, you may be able to enter a diversionary program, where the charge is dismissed if you complete a court-mandated rehabilitation program.
Contact the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr.
There is no charge for your first consultation. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We take Visa, MasterCard and Discover, as well as debit cards.