Drug crime is a serious offense in the U.S. A plausible prison sentence and a criminal record can just be the beginning of your problems. Besides, a drug-related conviction will have a bad impact on your finances, personal life and career.
Drug trafficking and drug possession are among the most common criminal charges across the U.S. In fact, it’s estimated that almost 70% of people incarcerated in the country are sentenced on drug-related charges. Aside from the fact that drug laws are strict, navigating through the legal system once you’ve been detained might also be pretty challenging.
No matter if you are charged with possession of a controlled substance or facing federal drug trafficking charges, it is crucial to have an experienced defense attorney who will help you fight the battle. So, read along to find out what things you should consider before hiring an attorney to help you fight your drug-related case.
Attorney Licensed In Your Territory
Let’s say, you live in San Diego, California, and you are being accused of a particular drug-related offense. The first thing you should do is to look for San Diego drug charge defense attorneys, since your attorney must be licensed to practice locally in order to represent you in a San Diego criminal court.
It is usually better to acquire a local defense attorney over a countrywide law firm. It will be more comfortable for you to meet with your attorney if the law firm is local. Plus, a local attorney is more familiar with the judges and the court that will handle your case.
The Attorney Must Have Plenty Of Experience In The Courtroom
Ask your potential attorney how much experience they have handling cases in court and their achievement rates. The majority of the criminal cases settle without a trial. Nevertheless, if your case goes to court, you want to be certain that your attorney is a skilled trial attorney.
No attorney will be able to provide you a guarantee because juries can be unpredictable. However, an experienced trial attorney knows the best method to present cases and convince the jury that a reasonable doubt exists.
Furthermore, experienced trial attorneys know when it is the right time to settle a criminal charge rather than going to court. For instance, if the evidence against you is substantial and persuasive, an attorney with proper trial experience will suggest to you that it is best to negotiate a court settlement that will avoid a more severe drug-crime penalty.
Fees And Costs
Before you hire a defense attorney, always ask about the attorneys’ costs and fees in detail. You must know exactly how much the attorney will charge to represent you in case you’ll need to settle a plea deal or for going to trial. The majority of criminal defense lawyers have an hourly rate.
The expenses for a criminal defense attorney might seem expensive. Still, you should consider what you are paying for before you decide whether or not to hire one. Remember, your freedom might depend on it.
Considering the criminal charges, you might face years in prison if a judge or jury decides you are guilty. Having a skilled drug defense lawyer could mean the difference in defeating the charges, negotiating a reduction in sentence, or serving a long term in prison.
Understand How A Private Attorney And A Public Defender Differ From Each Other
If you are not able to afford an attorney, the court will assign a public defender on your request. Most public defenders are good attorneys that will fight for your best interest. However, they address any case assigned to them, so they may not have experience in the particular criminal charges you face. Additionally, they are often overworked, and they have loads of cases.
So, if you are able to afford a private criminal defense attorney, hire one immediately. A private attorney will have more time and resources to be devoted to your case. Plus you will have the ability to choose a defense attorney who will focus on criminal cases such as yours.
In case you are facing drug charges, you must hire an experienced defense attorney. Find one that is experienced, knowledgeable and committed to make sure you are defended adequately before and after trial. In the end, you cannot fight your legal battle alone.