Short answer: yes, you absolutely do.
After handling thousands of cases, our lawyers know what it takes for the prosecution to secure a conviction, and what it takes to protect a client from heavy penalties. When it comes to drug possession charges, many people believe conviction is inevitable. Police seized drugs found in your possession—everything else is a formality, right? Not at all.
The prosecution is counting on you to feel like it’s an open-and-shut case, though. They may make you a deal that looks attractive—a “short” prison sentence, community service, perhaps lowered fines. However, you should not speak to prosecutors until you have your own attorney. Why? Because you may be able to defend your innocence. The prosecution has to prove your guilt—you do not have to prove your innocence. As your attorneys, it’s our job to protect the credibility of your story, especially if the police find drugs that aren't yours. While it may not feel like you’re innocent until proven guilty, our attorneys make sure your rights before, during, and after trial are protected.
Here’s what you need to ask:
#1: Can They Prove the Drugs Belong to Me?
The drugs may have been in your possession, but if the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the drugs belonged to you, their case will be weak. Circumstantial evidence might appear convincing at first, but a skilled criminal defense lawyer can put pressure on the prosecution to back up their claims. If they can't back up their claim, then the case against you ought to be dropped.
#2: Did They Seize the Drugs Lawfully?
This question involves the highest law in the land: the Bill of Rights. The police are bound the principles of due process, which means they need to follow lawful search and seizure protocol. If they did not have permission to search your home or car, and they did not possess a warrant, anything found cannot be used against you. If there was no reason to suspect you of any other crime, searching your property would be unlawful. As a result, under the exclusionary rule, the drug evidence itself would be inadmissible in court, which means the charges against you may be dropped.
#3: Were the Drugs Tested Correctly?
As obvious as it might seem, the court has to actually test the drugs in your possession to convict you of criminal activity. Drug testing actually proves that your possessions were illegal, so it's the crux of a drug possession case.
When samples are misplaced or test results are inadmissible, your case can be dismissed. Criminal defense lawyers are trained to ask this question (and others) to ensure that the prosecution is honoring your rights and not charging you without admissible evidence.
Here’s the kicker though:
The prosecution won’t do any of this questioning for you. Their job is to get a conviction, or convince you that a conviction is inevitable. The only advocate for a defendant in the courtroom is a criminal defense attorney or drug crime lawyer. That’s why your first step is to call an attorney before your rights are endangered. Rudenberg & Glasser have handled thousands of cases for our clients. Many of them were regular people who made mistakes or were unjustly accused under bad circumstances. We know you're a person, not just another case. Let us help you.
If you’re facing drug possession charges, call our Fort Lauderdale drug crime attorneys at Rudenberg & Glasser, P.A. for a free consultation.