An effective drug crime defense in Washington, D.C. begins at the moment of arrest. It is critical that individuals charged with a drug crime in Washington, D.C. understand their basic rights to avoid innocently harming their own cases.
Preserving your rights after an arrest
Most people are aware that Miranda rights are read as soon as an individual has been arrested. But, not everyone realizes the true significance of these rights or how to apply them to protect their cases. There are really only two things to remember:
- Remain silent: Innocent people who are charged with drug crimes in Washington, D.C. often believe they have nothing to hide. But, even the most innocent statement can be turned around by prosecution lawyers to imply criminal involvement. Until you have an attorney with you, you do not have to answer any questions once you invoke your right to remaining silent—and you should not attempt to volunteer statements in your defense.
- Retain an attorney: Experienced drug crime lawyers should be at your side for all questioning and processing. A skilled attorney recognizes the difference between legal and illegal questions and ensures your responses do not provide evidence for the prosecution. Your attorney can also help with all court appearances, help with the bail process, and negotiate charges with the prosecution, when applicable.
Naturally, you should talk freely with your own attorney. Be sure to tell him or her all details about your arrest—what you and police discussed before the arrest, whether you or your property was searched, particularly without a warrant, and the presence of any witnesses. These details can play a crucial role in your defense.
Understanding the arrest process
From the time you are placed under arrest, a specific process is set into motion:
- Obtaining legal support: You should immediately be given the opportunity to contact an attorney or anyone else you want to inform about your arrest. Contrary to popular belief, you are not limited to making one call.
- Charge or release: The law requires that you either be charged or released within a specified period of time. If this time limit is exceeded, your attorney can request your release from a judge.
- Booking: Law enforcement typically begins by beginning a record-keeping process. This includes starting the initial paperwork identifying you and the charges, and it typically includes finger-printing and taking photographs. You may be placed in police custody at this time, released on your own recognizance, or released on bail.
- Initial court hearing: The final stage of the arrest is a hearing in which you enter a plea that determines the next actions by the court. If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest, sentencing occurs immediately or at a later date without a trial. A not guilty plea requires a trial to be scheduled.
Contact our experienced attorneys IMMEDIATELY
Anyone charged with a drug crime needs an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is skilled in this unique area of the law. Contact Lotze Mosley, LLP to schedule a free initial appointment to discuss your situation as soon as you are arrested for or charged with a crime.