If you get arrested for possessing illicit drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, LSD, heroin, and ecstasy, you will find yourself in serious trouble, especially since drug possession is a federal crime. And if you think possessing marijuana is already safe since many states have decided to decriminalize or legalize certain uses of the drug, keep in mind that in Texas, Alabama, and many other states, possession of the substance is still prohibited.
The higher the amount of drugs found in your possession, the more complicated your situation will be. And if you have been the subject of arrest for something drug-related before, you will potentially serve a lengthy prison sentence once convicted.
On top of a long prison sentence, a drug possession conviction also carries penalties that include heavy fines and community service. You will also end up with a criminal record that will hound you for the rest of your life, making getting jobs and admission to universities even harder, among other things.
You still, however, have the chance to avoid all these as long as you play it smart upon your arrest. There are certain things that you must do while police are apprehending you, and there are some things that you should never do under any circumstances. And with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, you might just get off the hook.
- Stay calm during your arrest – Arrests by law enforcement are always tense, but you’ll be fine if you stay calm when cops put handcuffs on you. Whatever happens, never let your emotions get the better of you, because if you yell at the arresting officers or become violent toward them, you will be facing more than just drug possession charges. Getting charged with resisting arrest or obstruction of justice isn’t going to help your case one bit.
- Hire a criminal defense attorney—As mentioned above, drug possession is a serious charge, and the only way to deal with it is to have a criminal defense lawyer represent you in court. Choose one who specializes in drug-related cases to improve your chances of getting a favorable result.
- Request a bail hearing—Serious as drug possession may be, it is still a bailable offense. So ask your lawyer to request a bail hearing on your behalf. The judge will then decide to set bail or deny it, depending on the circumstances of your case.
- Say anything without your lawyer present—Once you’re at the police station, the police will question you about the drugs found in your possession. Whatever happens, don’t tell them anything, especially without your lawyer in the room. You have every right to stay silent, as explicitly stated in the 5th Amendment. Of course, you will have to tell them your name, age, and other pertinent information while being booked, but nothing more beyond that. And as always, remain polite while talking to the police, because being rude to them won’t do you any good.
- Write anything down—Anything you say—and write down—can and will be used against you in a court of law, to paraphrase the Miranda warning. So never put anything in writing, or sign any document the police might present to you, regardless of whether your lawyer is in the room or not.
- Talk the cops into releasing you—Understandably, you would want to get off the hook, but trying to convince the arresting officers to release you would be an exercise in futility. Smooth talk is definitely not going to work. The same goes for trying to bully police by being cocky about who you are or whom you know. And if you ever attempt to offer a bribe to anyone involved in your arrest, you will only find yourself facing more charges and in much deeper trouble.
Being arrested for drug possession is no laughing matter. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, following the rather simple dos and don’ts enumerated above should at least help give you and your criminal defense attorney a better chance of beating the drug possession charges the police will surely file against you.
About the Author
Stephanie Gordon currently works as the Content Marketing Strategist for Arizona Criminal Law Team. Aside from spreading awareness about criminal law and defense, she enjoys reading and trail running with her family and friends.