Historically, the State of New York has enacted some of the United States’ harshest drug laws. Back in the early 1970’s rising drug use in the state, particularly in and around New York City, led the state legislature to enact a set of punitive laws, which created a mandatory minimum sentence for drug possession and other drug charges. Known as the Rockefeller Drug Laws, named after the governor at the time, these very strict drug charges were in place until 2004.
In 2004, New York started a process of drug reform. First, the state reduced the mandatory minimum for drug charges, and then in 2009, eliminated it altogether. This allowed a defendant and his or her criminal lawyer to make a better case for reducing the drug charges, punishment by probation, or dropping the charges altogether.
However, beating drug charges in New York is still incredibly difficult. The state remains extremely tough on drug-related offenders. To fight drug charges, you need the assistance of a criminal lawyer in your area. Uncertain a criminal lawyer can help your case? Here are five ways an experienced lawyer can bolster your defense and fight drug charges.
#1: Explain the Possible Outcomes of Your Case
If you are facing drug charges on Long Island or elsewhere in Nassau County you probably have a lot of questions about the process and outcome of your case. A Long Island criminal lawyer can answer these questions. However, explanation of your case will proceed and the potential outcomes are incredibly fact specific. It is impossible for a criminal lawyer to determine possible outcomes and answer questions without understanding the circumstances of your situation.
In addition, a criminal lawyer assists with the strategy and approach to your case. Given the potential outcomes and likelihood of each outcome, your lawyer in Nassau County can determine whether to negotiate with the prosecutor, what motions to file, and what defenses to raise before the court.
#2: Question the Evidence
For all criminal cases, the New York prosecutor must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard applies in cases of all severity and type; from murder charge to possession of marijuana, if there is reasonable doubt the jury must find the defendant not guilty. A criminal lawyer has experience finding the reasonable doubt and weak evidence behind drug charges.
The defenses utilized by a criminal lawyer will depend on the facts of your case but can include contradicting evidence that the drugs belonged to the defendant, questioning the identification and laboratory processing of the drugs, or even bringing evidence that the drugs were falsified or planted. In the eyes and minds of jurors, certain arguments by a skills criminal lawyer can go a long way towards developing reasonable doubt.
While attacking the facts is one way to fight drug charges, the more used approach is to argue due process and Constitutional rights were violated. Law enforcement must follow due process when stopping the defendant and when searching a car, home, office, or person. First, there must be probable cause to stop and question the defendant. Second, there must be probable cause for the search.
An illegal and unconstitutional stop, search, or seizure invalidates any evidence arising from such a violation of due process. In many drug cases, violation of due process leads to all evidence of the drugs, including testing and identification, being inadmissible in court. The extensive ramifications of a successful due process defense make it a frequent tool for criminal lawyers.
#4: Discuss a Diversion Program and Probation
Plea bargains with the prosecutor aren’t always in a defendant’s best interest. In fact, in many situations, negotiations for a shorter sentence or lesser charges are offered to serve the interest of the prosecutor’s office only. Yet, there is one person in a good position to determine if the offer of a diversion program or probation is accepted. That person is a Nassau County criminal lawyer.
#5: Ensuring Efficiency in Your Case
Criminal cases aren’t always adjudicated quickly. It can take weeks or months for your case to land on a judge’s docket and before a jury. Without a lawyer, the process is likely to take longer. During this time, the possible outcomes of your case hang over your head and cause a distraction in other parts of your life. if you want your case handled quickly, hire a Nassau County criminal lawyer.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey Bettan provide experienced criminal defense in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We handle the defense of crimes of all seriousness and also fight traffic tickets and moving violations before the traffic court. To schedule a free consultation, contact our Long Island office at 516-642-6636.