Being accused of an offense you didn’t commit can be devastating. It negatively impacts your professional and personal life. Generally, drug-related arrests can entail hefty fines and jail time if you’re convicted. Besides, since your state may consider this a felony, the charges can remain on your record permanently. This is if you fail to consider or aren’t successful in the expungement process.
If you’ve recently been wrongly accused of illegal drug trafficking, manufacturing, or possession, you must protect yourself. Though you may be innocent, the judge, prosecutor, jury, and police might not see it that way. So don’t assume that you’ll be clear of all the charges. Instead, consider this a serious matter and take the proper steps to defend yourself. This will raise your chances of being acquitted.
Below are five ways to protect and defend yourself against the drug-related crime you’re falsely accused of:
1. Hire A Lawyer
Hiring an attorney is the first and most essential way to defend yourself. In this case, you need a local Raleigh criminal lawyer or one from your area. Usually, drug-related laws aren’t similar in all places. A professional from your region is best because they know your area’s laws. They also understand how your area’s courts, prosecutors, and judges operate. So, they know strategies that can work in your favor.
The local lawyer you choose should be reputable, experienced, well-trained, affordable, and have an excellent track record. It’s also best to work with an attorney specializing in cases like yours. Such professionals are often up to date with the laws related to your case. Also, they know what to do, ask, and say to prove you’re innocent. Generally, a good lawyer will raise your chances of being acquitted of your charges.
2. Know And Exercise Your Rights
Even though you’re accused of a crime, you have rights, and no one should ignore them. You can protect yourself by knowing and exercising your rights. For instance, the law protects you from unreasonable seizes and searches. So, suppose the police don’t have a warrant. In that case, the constitution allows you to prohibit them from looking around your home, office, or car and searching you.
Furthermore, the law permits you to remain silent so you don’t incriminate yourself. You may also be entitled to an attorney representing you to ensure a fair trial.
Typically, laws vary in different regions. So, first, identify the rights your state or country accords you. Exercising them is one of the best ways to defend yourself.
3. Gather Evidence
Cloths, global positioning system (GPS) data, text messages, call recordings, surveillance videos, photographs, and receipts can be helpful evidence in your case. If you have any of these, give them to your lawyer. A hair follicle or urine drug test will also be useful. Your lawyer can advise you on the best approach regarding this matter. If the police took anything from you or your property that may help you, inform your attorney. They’ll request access to this evidence.
If you have something you suspect may show you in a bad light or incriminate you, don’t conceal, destroy, or tamper with it. Tampering with evidence can hurt your case if the judge or jury finds out because it’ll show how guilty you are. Destroying, concealing, and tampering with evidence is also illegal under state and federal law. So, you could attract a fine or jail time. Instead, when presenting what you think is favorable to your lawyer, also provide what might not be. Your attorney will know what is necessary and plan the best defense strategies.
Some evidence isn’t admissible in court. For example, a polygraph test may not be sufficient in some instances. You’ll need peace of mind during this time. So, your attorney can advise you about what’s necessary and what may not be. This way, you won’t do too much that might not be helpful.
4. Find Witnesses
Witnesses can also help you prove your innocence. So, find as many as you can. This can be someone you were with when the crime supposedly happened. It could also be a business owner, a security guard, or anyone who was at the scene and saw everything that occurred. If you remember seeing any cameras, these may help. So, you’ll need a building owner as a witness.
Generally, find someone who can provide additional information that collaborates with yours. However, ensure your witnesses weren’t intoxicated or distracted when the incident happened. Also, they shouldn’t be convicted felons or have vision or hearing impairment. Additionally, they should be willing to testify.
It may not be advisable to speak to your witnesses yourself. This may cause the judge and jury to doubt their credibility. You could also be charged with witness tampering, which attracts penalties. Instead, give your lawyer your list of witnesses, their contact details, and addresses. Your attorney will talk to them on your behalf. However, you can still meet and talk if your witness is a close family member. Even so, don’t discuss your case details with them. If you must, have a lawyer present.
5. Avoid Mistakes That Can Complicate Your Case
You can also protect yourself by avoiding errors that can complicate your case. A good attorney can advise you about what you can or can’t do while your case is in court. For instance, a police officer might request you to take a test. Taking it without your lawyer present can negatively impact your case. So, if this happens, you must first inform your attorney. They’ll tell you what to do or say.
Posting about your case on social media might also be a bad idea. The plaintiff, their lawyer, and law enforcement officials may interpret a picture or something you say wrongly. They can even twist your posts and present them to court as evidence. If they can convince the jury or judge with that, this might influence their verdict. It’s, therefore, best to protect your online data and keep off social media while your case is still active. If you must post something, consult your lawyer first.
If you’ve been falsely accused of a drug-related crime, don’t presume that the police, judge, jury, or prosecutor will think you’re innocent. Instead, you should take the proper steps to defend yourself. In this article, you’ve learned five measures that can help.
As advised, you should hire a good lawyer, know and exercise your rights, gather evidence, find witnesses, and avoid mistakes that complicate your case. These steps will help you prove your innocence.