You were at a friend's house in New York, and, before you knew what was happening, police were swarming the place. Drawers were being opened, bedrooms entered and furniture cushions were overturned. At some point, you realized you were right in the middle of a drug raid!
The next thing you knew, a police officer was telling you to put your hands behind your back because you were under arrest on suspicion of a drug crime. After handcuffing you, a police car was outside awaiting your arrival.
That scene has probably replayed itself in your mind over and over again since then. It's crucial to remember, however, that a mere accusation of illegal drug activity does not mean you are guilty of a crime. You have rights, and retain a presumption of innocence unless proved otherwise in court.
How can you protect your rights?
Riding in the back of the police car, all sorts of thoughts were likely running through your mind. At the top of list may have been worries about going to jail. Hopefully, you considered one or more of the following facts:
- Anything you say or do from the moment police begin to question you can be used against you in court.
- You may request immediate assistance from a criminal defense lawyer before answering a law enforcement officer's questions.
- Police officers are not without limitation during a search and seizure process, as well as during an arrest or booking.
- You can challenge any supposed evidence gathered by violating your personal rights as inadmissible in court.
- You can fight the charges against you.
Although you may be frightened and worried about your future, by acting alongside experienced and aggressive defense guidance, you may be able to preserve your freedom and set the whole experience behind you.
Serious consequences for your future could be at stake
The moment the police officer closed the door to the squad car with you in the back, you may have realized how much you stand to lose if you were to eventually be convicted in court. In fact, some of the following questions may have crossed your mind:
- Could I face prison time?
- Will I have to spend time away from my family?
- Will I lose my job?
- Will I have a criminal record?
- How can I get out of this mess?
How sentences are determined under conviction
The same laws have governed drug crime convictions in New York for more than two decades. Key sentencing factors include:
- The weight of the drugs police seized
- Whether you have prior felony convictions on your record
- Whether there are additional criminal charges involved
- Whether you are being considered a non-violent offender
These are considerations made after a court's conviction with regard to sentencing. It's understandable that you want to avoid such a ruling in the first place and protect your personal reputation. If you've never been in trouble with the law before, chances are, your loved ones and acquaintances will be very understanding and not allow one unfortunate incident to ruin your good name.
Remember that you are not alone. Many others in New York have successfully avoided conviction when facing similar drug charges to those held against you at this time. The best thing you can do to keep your current situation from holding you back in the future is to make informed decisions and choose the most logical options available for securing a positive outcome in court.