This could easily be the moment in your life where, depending on what you do, could be the difference between living a fulfilling life and being stuck at the bottom of society for the rest of your days.
When you get arrested for drug possession, it’s a serious thing that requires serious, professional attention.
Whether you’ve gotten arrested for drug possession before or if this is your first offense, it’s important to understand the process and your options moving forward.
Charged With Drug Possession: Next Steps
Maybe you’ve never come here before, maybe it’s starting to feel routine for you. Regardless, getting arrested, hearing your rights get read to you, is no fun feeling.
The process that follows can be long and grueling, beginning with booking, and hopefully ending in your freedom.
Remember, even if your circumstances don’t look great, it is important to remember you have the presumption of innocence – something the prosecutor must overcome in order to convict you of anything.
In essence, this means that you must get proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Each element of the charge of drug possession must get proven.
What To Do From The Moment You’re Arrested
You have the right to remain silent: this is something the friendly police officer arresting you will inform you as he slaps cuffs around your wrists way too tight.
You would be well advised to stay cool, stay calm, and exercise that right. Why?
Because anything you say to any authorities from that moment forward can, and will, get used against you to bolster the prosecution’s case.
To that end, it is equally important to not have any violent outbursts or make any threats during the arrest. This can just result in secondary charges such as resisting arrest, assaulting an officer, or obstruction of justice.
It also helps to remain calm because, let’s face it, it isn’t like cops get known for their gentle demeanor.
Once you get to the police station, you get what is commonly known as “your one phone call”.
Now is the time to really consider who will come through for you when you’re in a bind.
If nobody you know picks up the phone that reliably, it’s always a great idea to know the contact information of a defense attorney for situations exactly like this.
It is after all of this that you will typically get arraigned, where bail will be set, you will get released on your own recognizance, or you will remain in custody until your case gets completed.
Possession Of What, Exactly?
There are two different kinds of possession: constructive and actual.
Actual possession involves the drugs getting found on you or your person physically. Constructive possession, however, gets charged when drugs get found not on you physically, but you’re thought to have known where they were and that you could have control over them if you desired.
It is important to remember that not all illegal drugs get treated equally under the law.
There are various classifications of drugs, which carry differing penalties depending on what it is, what form it’s in, and the quantity it’s in.
Schedule I Drugs
Schedule I drugs are the most restrictive, most illicit drugs according to the United States government.
They are considered to have absolutely no medical value.
These drugs include the likes of marijuana, heroin, LSD, and more.
Schedule II Drugs
Schedule II drugs differ from their Schedule I companions because unlike Schedule I, the government considers them to have some recognized medical purposes.
Drugs in Schedule II include medications such as oxycodone, cocaine, methamphetamine, and others.
Schedule III Drugs
Schedule III drugs are unlikely to get abused and therefore also carry the lower penalties for drug possession.
These kinds of drugs include ketamine, steroids, and Vicodin, to name a few.
Schedule IV Drugs
The second-lowest classification of drugs, Schedule IV includes mostly prescription medications considered not likely to get misused.
These include Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, among others.
Schedule V Drugs
The lowest level of drug classifications, these medicines are thought to have extremely low possibility of getting abused.
These include low level narcotics and other similar drugs such as antidiarrheals and cough medications with limited amounts of codeine.
Other Factors Involved In Drug Possession
Drug possession can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the drug involved, as described above, and on other factors, including:
- Whether the drug is found near a school grounds
- Whether the drug is found in the presence of a minor
- Whether this is your first time offending or have priors
Schedule I drugs are likely to face felony charges if you are charged with possession of such drugs.
Schedule II can be a felony too, depending on the amount in possession, and if they want to charge you with an intent to distribute as well.
Naturally, felony charges will result in a much steeper penalty than if you have a misdemeanor charge.
Defending Yourself Against Possession Charges
Whatever drug possession charge you have, it is a daunting road in front of you.
However, there are ways to successfully defend yourself against such charges.
While coming up with adequate defenses is best left to an attorney specializing in drug charges, sometimes you can show certain things such as lack of knowledge of the drugs being near you, or lack of knowledge of the drugs at all.
It is also important to consider any wrongful searches the police may have conducted. If your constitutional or civil rights were violated, this could be grounds for dismissal.
Get Help With Your Criminal Case
While drug possession is a serious charge, with the right help, it can be reduced or even beaten.
Contact the best lawyer in the Baton Rouge area today to discuss your criminal case.