The “War on Drugs” which began some 40 years ago continues to be waged in courtrooms across America on a daily basis. The court calendars in some jurisdictions continue to be dominated by drug cases, including charges arising from either the possession or trafficking of various controlled substances. The penalties for some drug cases, depending on the quantity and type of substance can include lengthy prison time. Even in those cases where one can avoid prison time, the potential ramifications of a conviction remain extremely serious, including the prospect of spending years on felony probation, the loss of all professional licenses, potential deportation, large fines, and permanent damage to one’s reputation.
Why can it make a difference to have the right attorney?
In many instances, people faced with drug charges are told by the prosecutor that they must plead guilty or face the possibility of going to trial and then spending decades in prison. Under those circumstances it is easy to understand why even innocent people are sometimes tempted to plead guilty. But an experienced defense attorney, particularly a former prosecutor who understands exactly how the other side thinks, can mount a vigorous defense and win a much more favorable outcome. It starts with an analysis of the case which can immediately identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, which only a former prosecutor with decades of experience can recognize.
How can a former prosecutor successfully fight these cases in a way other attorneys might not?
In most drug cases, some or all of the witnesses are police officers. As police officers, they are required to abide by the constitutional protections afforded to all defendants. A former prosecutor with decades of experience can in many instances find that the constitutional rights of the accused have been violated, and when that happens some or all of the evidence will be excluded, often leading to a dismissal of all charges. Also, only an experienced trial lawyer has the know-how to cross examine police officers (who often have tremendous prior experience in testifying in court) and find the flaws or inconsistencies in their testimony. A vigorous cross-examination can make all the difference in swaying a judge to suppress evidence, or convince a jury to acquit the accused.
Can the defense attorney help a client win a more favorable plea?
In many instances, the person accused of a drug crime is led to believe they have only two options- plead guilty and face a permanent criminal record, and possibly some prison time, or go to trial and risk facing years or even decades in prison. However, a defense attorney who has experience and is respected by prosecutors and judges often can find an alternative solution, such as drug treatment programs or other arrangements, which would allow his client to avoid any of those severe consequences.
When should I contact an attorney?
Anyone facing drug charges should immediately retain an experienced defense attorney. Elliot Felig is a former prosecutor with 20 years of trial experience. He is leading authority on Criminal Law, appears regularly in the media, often as a commentator on Fox News, and has also been quoted or featured in many other media outlets. Call Elliot Felig & Associates today at 212-828-2770 for a free consultation.