Facing criminal charges of any type can be a frightening, intimidating experience. While most people understand that they may face consequences if they are convicted of a crime, they will likely not be familiar with the procedures followed in criminal courts, the punishments that may apply for a certain charge, or the defense strategies that are available. Cases involving drug crimes can be especially worrisome, since these types of charges are often prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and a defendant’s life can be seriously impacted by a conviction and a criminal record.
Drug charges can vary significantly in severity, but even low-level charges involving possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, and a conviction can result in steep fines, probation, or jail time. The consequences become more serious for possession of large amounts of drugs or drug trafficking involving the sales or delivery of controlled substances. Because of the serious nature of these offenses, anyone who is facing drug charges will want to work with an experienced Chicago drug crime attorney who can help determine the best strategy for defense.
However, while you may understand the need to have legal counsel when you are facing drug charges, you may not know how to tell whether a particular attorney has the experience needed to represent you. As you look for a criminal defense lawyer to represent you, you should ask the following questions:
Does the Attorney Have Experience Defending Against the Types of Charges You Are Facing?
Before hiring a lawyer, you will want to be sure they will be prepared to handle your case and provide you with an effective defense. This means that they should have extensive experience representing clients charged with drug crimes. They should be familiar with the judges and prosecutors who will be handling your case, and they should have a strong knowledge of the procedures followed in a specific courtroom.
Even if an attorney has a criminal defense background, this does not necessarily mean that they will have the experience needed to handle your case. An attorney who has represented clients in cases involving DUI or traffic violations may not be prepared to address the intricacies of a case involving drug crimes. To determine whether a lawyer has the experience you need, you should ask about how many drug cases they have handled, the types of charges their clients have faced, and their level of familiarity with the courts where your case will be heard.
What Is the Attorney’s Record of Success?
Even if an attorney has previously handled drug crime cases, they may not have been able to successfully defend their clients. You will want to learn about past cases that a lawyer has handled and the outcomes they have achieved for their clients. If few of their previous clients have been acquitted of the charges they were facing, this may be a sign that the attorney will not be able to help you achieve the ideal outcome to your case.
When asking about an attorney’s previous successes, you will want to learn whether they have achieved acquittals for multiple clients in drug cases. You may also want to ask about whether they prefer to negotiate a plea bargain or whether they are prepared to take your case to trial if necessary. By ensuring that a lawyer has demonstrated the type of success that you wish to achieve in your drug case, you can make sure they will help you achieve positive results.
Can the Attorney Explain the Defense Strategies That Can Be Used in Your Case?
A good criminal defense lawyer should be able to describe the approach they plan to take in your case and the evidence and arguments that can be presented in your favor. You will want to be sure an attorney has all the information needed to provide you with a good defense, and they should explain how they will achieve the results you need.
Some defense strategies that an attorney may use in drug cases include showing that any controlled substances found by law enforcement were not yours or that you did not know about them. A lawyer may also be able to have certain evidence suppressed if it was obtained through an illegal search by police officers. You will want to make sure your attorney can explain the specific methods they will use to defend against the charges you face while setting expectations about how your case will play out.
Can the Attorney Help You Avoid a Conviction Through Diversion Programs?
A good drug crimes lawyer should explain all of the options available to you. One way that you may be able to avoid more serious consequences is by making use of diversion programs that are meant to provide treatment for substance abuse or other drug-related disorders while allowing you to avoid the consequences that come with a criminal conviction. In many cases, these programs are available for first-time drug offenders or others who qualify for probation.
You will want to be sure to understand your options for avoiding a conviction, which can lead to serious penalties and a permanent criminal record. Your attorney should be able to help you make use of any diversion programs that are available, and they should fully explain the requirements of these programs, the steps you will need to take, and any other information that applies to your case.
Can the Attorney Provide You with Realistic Expectations About the Outcome of Your Case?
Ultimately, you will want to be sure that your lawyer can help you achieve the best possible outcome to a drug crimes case. Your attorney should be able to explain what you can expect during the legal process and the chances of achieving the outcome you desire. If a lawyer tells you that all charges will be dismissed without explaining what strategies they will use to ensure that happens, you may be in for a rude awakening when things do not go as expected. Your attorney should be able to fully explain the approach they will take and the strategy that will help you avoid a conviction or minimize the consequences you may face, giving you the confidence that they can provide you with the quality legal representation you need.
If you are facing drug charges, asking these questions when speaking to an attorney can help you make sure you will be prepared for success in your case. In more serious cases involving large amounts of controlled substances or drug trafficking that allegedly occurred across multiple states, you may face federal drug charges. In these situations, it is more crucial than ever to ensure that you are represented by a Chicago federal criminal lawyer who has the experience you need.