If you are in the position of being arrested or accused of drug crimes in Texas, it is incredibly important to secure legal defense from an experienced criminal defense lawyer – preferably one with a history of winning drug crime cases.
This is because consequences for a successful conviction for drug charges can potentially follow you for the rest of your life, depending on the type and amount of controlled substances involved. These serious charges could result in huge fines, prison time, a criminal record that is likely to cause complications with your current future employment, and much more.
But what exactly does a good drug charge lawyer look like? This article will spell out the criteria you should be aware of when searching for the right criminal defense attorney for accusations of crimes involving drugs.
Here at The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, our criminal lawyers have years of experience successfully fighting drug crimes charges for our clients. We pride ourselves on a strong attorney-client relationship, dedicated to providing a strong legal defense in an atmosphere of zero judgment.
Consider How Long Your Attorney Has Been Practicing Criminal Law
Most of the time, drug cases are a serious charge. The stakes are high, with felony drug charges, jail time, and debilitating fines being just some of the possible consequences of a guilty conviction.
As such, if you are facing drug possession charges, finding the right criminal lawyer can make all the difference to how the rest of your life pans out. A criminal record for drug charges is likely to impede your employment opportunities well into the future.
Experience is a key consideration when selecting a drug defense attorney. Ask any potential attorney how long they have been practicing criminal law. It can also be helpful to specify how long they have been practicing criminal law in Texas itself, as drug laws vary wildly between states – consider the possible differences in a marijuana charge across the US, for example.
The Right Lawyer Should Have Experience With The Drug Charges You Are Accused Of
Just because a criminal defense attorney has experience defending their clients, this does not automatically mean their existing knowledge suits the specific criminal charges you are up against.
You should ask your criminal lawyers outright: ‘what is the most similar criminal case to mine that you have handled?’ If a criminal defense attorney has spent their career fighting almost exclusively DUI charges or violent crimes, they will be less likely to be able to mount an effective defense against accusations of drug crimes.
As there are many types of drug charges, you should try to be as specific as possible. Drug possession charges will work differently from drug trafficking or drug distribution charges. A great attorney with the right amount of experience for your situation will already know how to deal with your specific circumstances.
Does Your Chosen Drug Charge Lawyer Have A Track Record Of Success?
If you pick the right drug charge lawyer, you could have the charges leveled against you by the prosecutors decreased in severity or even have your case dismissed entirely. However, you need to ensure that the criminal defense lawyer you choose is one with a history of success in criminal cases.
It may seem rude or too blunt to outright ask ‘what percentage of controlled substance-related cases have you successfully fought against?’ However, when the consequences of a guilty verdict for a drug possession case can be jail time and lifelong employment struggles, you need to be sure that you have the best drug lawyer for your situation.
Ask Prospective Drug Possession Lawyers Specific Questions
What we have covered in the previous sections is great for selecting a lawyer who is a good fit for your specific drug possession case. However, there is still more that you can do to ensure your lawyer is a great fit for your case, rather than just simply good.
The best way to find out is by asking specific questions. Find out how they handled drug possession cases similar to yours in the past. If your case is going to involve prosecution by the federal government, ensure that they have experience defending their clients in federal court. If you believe there are legal issues with the way you were treated by law enforcement, ask if they have experience suppressing illegally-obtained evidence and dealing with improper police conduct.
Proactive Attorneys Are Key To Beating Drug Possession Cases
If you have been accused of a drug charge, your attorneys need to begin preparing for court immediately in order to have the highest chances of success. This means gathering evidence, formulating the strongest case possible for your circumstances, and preparing for all eventualities.
Good attorneys will thoroughly review the way the evidence for drug possession cases has been collected. For example, if you had marijuana or drug paraphernalia seized by law enforcement in an illegal search that took place without the correct warrant or probable cause, this cannot be used as evidence of a crime. However, if your attorneys are not able to correctly identify and challenge this situation, this opportunity could pass you by.
Is Your Criminal Defense Attorney Willing To Take The Difficult Route?
It is an unfortunately common situation that an attorney is likely to convince you that an early plea bargain is the best hope you have of receiving the lowest consequences for your drug possession charge. Often, this is because this represents the easiest path for the attorney, not the best for you.
A lot of the time, you have more chance successfully fighting a drug case in court rather than simply accepting a reduced sentence early on. You need a lawyer with both the knowledge of the law to successfully fight your case in court and the willingness to invest the time this takes.
The Importance Of Experience Selecting A Jury
If your court proceedings are likely to involve a trial by jury, selecting that jury may be one of the most important things your drug crime defense lawyer does for your case. Doing this well requires knowledge, dedication, and experience.
An experienced drug charge lawyer will know how to choose a jury that is likely to treat you fairly. They will know how to identify and root out candidates who have biases, conflicts of interest, or stubbornly held ideas that could make a drug crime conviction in court more likely.
Is Your Law Firm Just Telling You What You Want To Hear?
As a drug charge is a legal issue with potentially very serious consequences, you need to be sure that your law firm is telling you the truth – even if it is not what you want to hear. You need formal legal advice, not comforting platitudes. A friend or family member may tell you white lies or be unreasonably positive, but you do not want this from your lawyer.
A good drug crime lawyer will honestly tell you the chances of success for your drug possession case, the chances of getting evidence dismissed, and what the most likely consequences of a guilty conviction will be.
While temporarily comforting, misleading false positivity by your law firm will just turn into a nasty surprise later down the line.
Not All Attorneys Use The Same Fee Structure
If you have been accused of criminal activity involving illicit drugs, securing professional and worthwhile legal counsel by an experienced drug crimes attorney is most likely going to cost money. However, you should be absolutely clear how the fee structure for your drug crime attorney is going to work.
Some attorneys will operate using a flat fee, which is a one-off all-inclusive price for the cost of handling your drug possession defense. Others will charge you hourly for their services. It is also possible that your drug possession attorney will offer a no-win-no-fee service, where you only pay in the event that they successfully win your drug crime case.
You should always consider the quality of the lawyer you are considering hiring, especially for serious cases involving controlled substances. However, you should still pay attention to how exactly you will be charged for this defense.
Find Out How Many Different Attorneys Will Be Working Your Drugs Case
As with fee structures, many law firms work differently in terms of how lawyers will be assigned to your case. Some firms will give you a dedicated lawyer, while others will share your case between a team of lawyers.
It is important to note that having more than one lawyer working your case is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be an active benefit, for example, you may be able to draw on the knowledge and experience of several skilled lawyers with a track record of beating different accusations under different situations.
However, there is a flip side. Some law firms will assign multiple lawyers to your case to lighten the workload of their more senior staff – this can often leave you at a disadvantage. For example, if your law firm is going to assign their most junior members to handle the relatively unexciting task of evidence collection, there may be a higher chance that they will miss potential avenues of defense due to their lack of experience.
To ensure you have all the details needed to make an informed decision, make sure you know how many lawyers will be working your case, and why.
You Need To Feel Comfortable With Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
While most of the advice we have given up to this point deals with specific things, there are more subjective elements to be considered when selecting the right criminal lawyer for your case.
You need to feel comfortable with your lawyer in order to give them all of the information they need to defend you to the best of their abilities.
If you feel judged, rushed, or generally uncomfortable around your chosen lawyer, there may be some elements that you do not feel comfortable disclosing. This can lead to missed opportunities or nasty surprises later in the process, as the more your lawyer knows about your case, the better they can be prepared for all eventualities.
Testimonials And Reviews Are Powerful Tools
If you are hiring a defense attorney, it is likely that they will want to make you believe they are the best person for the job. However, you should not automatically trust everything they say – there is an element of advertising at work with many lawyers, and some may just be in it for the money.
A good way to avoid falling into this trap is to accompany your considered questioning of the lawyer with personal research. Search for testimonials and reviews by local people who have also used this law firm or specific lawyer. Was their experience positive? Did they receive the result they were looking for? Were there differences between what was promised and the service they received?
Contact A Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been accused of a drug crime, whether for marijuana or crack cocaine, it is important to secure representation by an experienced attorney as quickly as possible if you want to stand the best chance at avoiding the worst consequence of your charges.