Have you or a loved one been arrested for drug possession in or around Baton Rouge, Louisiana? Whether you were driving on Interstate 10 in Livingston or Ascension, an arrest can be a scary thing for your future.
In the United States, there are over 3,000 arrests for every 100,000 people nationwide each year. Although an arrest can be rare, that doesn’t help with the stress and anxiety you probably feel after the fact.
Read on to learn what you should know about a drug possession arrest on Interstate 10 and how a lawyer can help you during the process!
Different Levels of Drug Crimes
In the State of Louisiana, there are varying levels of crimes for drug-related offenses. Crimes are codified in Louisiana’s criminal statutes. These set forth that drug possession offenses can range from a misdemeanor to a felony.
The level of your charge(s) will depend on how much of each drug you possess at the time you are caught with it. Misdemeanors are more minor offenses where the maximum amount of jail time does not exceed one year. Felony offenses start with punishments that exceed one year in jail.
A criminal defense lawyer can speak with you about the charges from your arrest and how those may impact your short and long-term future.
Your Right To a Speedy Trial
Your criminal defense attorney will discuss your right to a speedy trial. As someone accused of a crime, you have a right to a speedy trial under the United States Constitution.
This right has been codified in the State of Louisiana and you should be aware of these timeframes and the significance of your rights. If you are out of custody for a misdemeanor charge, you must be brought to trial within 60 days. If you are in custody, that time is cut in half to 30 days.
For felony charges, defendants that remain in custody must have a trial in 120 days, while those who are not in custody must stand trial by the 180th day.
Deciding Whether to File a Motion
The criminal defense law firm you hire will have an attorney speak with you about the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest. Depending on what took place in your case, there may be a basis for your lawyer to file a motion or many motions.
If you’ve been coerced to make statements to the police or had your request for an attorney denied, this may be a violation of your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In this instance, your attorney may file a motion to suppress the statements.
If victorious on your motion, your attorney may get the full confession thrown out of court as evidence that cannot be us
Preparing to Defend Your Case
An experienced attorney will handle your court case in the best way to reach a favorable result for you as a client. The attorney can speak with the prosecution about the strengths and weaknesses of their case.
They can also take discovery depositions of witnesses to learn more about the veracity and reputation of witnesses that will be used against you in a trial. A defense attorney’s goal is to reach a result that achieves justice on your behalf.
Preparing to defend your drug possession charge(s) starts from the first day you meet with your lawyer to discuss your case!
Negotiating a Plea Deal
Your lawyer’s knowledge and experience with criminal law cases can help them during plea negotiations on your behalf. A plea bargain is an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that resolves a case short of trial.
These negotiations are unique because there are a lot of different factors at play to resolve each case. These include things like the strength of the evidence and the credibility of witnesses. Your previous criminal record, if any, may also play into the kind of deal a prosecutor is willing to make.
Your attorney will use the strongest facts and evidence in your favor to try to persuade the prosecutor to reach a favorable result. Without a strong negotiator on your side, you will be at a disadvantage in your case.
Taking Your Case to Trial
Did you know that it’s very uncommon for a case to go to trial in civil or criminal litigation? Only 2 percent of criminal cases go to trial in federal court nationwide!
Although trials are rare, you need an attorney that’s ready to try your case if you cannot reach a plea deal with the prosecutor. This trial experience can go a long way towards changing a prosecutor’s outlook on your file.
That’s because the charges may not be as strong in a trial as they seem at first on paper. During discovery, your attorney can take depositions of witnesses. An attorney’s goal is to learn more about your case and to expose weaknesses in their testimony. Your attorney can use this testimony against the witness at your trial.
Avoid hiring an attorney without experience handling drug cases and going to trial!
Defending Your interstate 10 Drug Charge
Defending your interstate 10 drug charge may seem like an uphill battle at first. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you will have an advocate in your corner.
Carl Barkemeyer is a criminal law attorney practicing law in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the surrounding area. He has years of experience handling misdemeanor and felony drug possession charges.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation and to learn more about how we can help you in your criminal case!