All citizens of the United States who are facing criminal drug charges must understand their legal rights before they go to court. Every state has its own laws governing the use, distribution and sale of illegal drugs. If you are facing a drug crime, you should not hesitate to hire a reputable criminal attorney to represent you.
The fourth amendment is something you should know about. The fourth amendment prohibits law enforcement officers from conducting an unreasonable search and seizure of personal property. Every citizen is protected by this right unless there is probably cause for a search. This right extends to those circumstances when a Warrant is being issued.
The key portion of this amendment is the part about probable cause. The police officer must have a valid reason to search your belongings and seize them. An officer would have probable cause if a confidential informant bought paraphernalia or drugs from you, the officer saw you in proximity to or actually using paraphernalia or drugs or the officer identified the smell of drugs on you. The court will accept these scenarios as probable cause and allow any evidence gathered during the search, which could include your cell phone.
Depending on the laws violated, the officer will arrest you if incriminating evidence is collected. While under arrest, you must cooperate with the law enforcement officers because if they resort to excessive force and you were cooperating with their instructions, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue to have the charges dropped and the case dismissed.
The officer will transfer you to a holding cell for booking and will ask questions if you agree to answer them. In some cases, answering questions at this time can be in your best interest but in general, you should never offer any information that could be incriminating to a police officer until you have spoken to your attorney first.
You will be asked to sign documents and the charges will be issued against you. You must have a clear understanding of what the charges are against you because it will dictate what you should do next. If you are facing a simple drug possession charge, it will be a misdemeanor that you can have expunged in certain states if you complete a program reserved for first time offenders. If you have faced any drug charges in the past, you may have to pay higher fines and spend time in jail.
Sometimes the law enforcement officer will add an aggravating factor to the misdemeanor. An aggravating factor can be anything from possessing a prior criminal record to committing the crime in a state park, school zone, or vehicle. If the officer adds an aggravating factor, you will likely have to pay higher fines.
You should call a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you find out that you are facing a felony charge of any kind. A detective or other law enforcement officer will usually charge you with a felony if they were able to gather evidence that shows you had intention to sell or distribute any drugs found in your possession at the time of the search. You never want this to happen to you, but if you find yourself in this situation, ask to speak to an attorney before you answer any police officer’s questions.