If you get caught with even trace amounts of a controlled substance, you will be arrested and charged with a felony (Possession of Controlled Substance, or POCS). Controlled substances include cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin – or even prescription drugs like Xanax or Aderall.
Your first step is bonding out of jail. If a friend or loved one needs help with a jail release, call my office at any time 512-677-5003. If your only charge is POCS, you will usually be able to get out the next day. After release, you need to deal with the charge. Because you are charged with a felony, you should take these charges seriously. A felony conviction on your record can have consequences for the rest of your life. I don’t recommend that you proceed without an attorney.
You may think it’s harsh to be charged with a felony for what you see as a victimless crime. I agree. In 2017, more and more people in the legal community in Travis county are coming around to the idea that drug abuse should be seen as a disease, not a crime. For that reason, there are a number of ways to handle drug cases that don’t involve convictions. If this is your first time caught with drugs, there is a good possibility of a dismissal before trial. In that case, you can have the arrest expunged from your record.
If this isn’t your first time arrested for drug possession, or if you have been charged with manufacturing and distributing, or possessing a large amount of drugs, a dismissal before trial might not be as easy, but still possible in some situations. And even if dismissal is not possible, there are many outcomes – such as deferred prosecution or deferred adjudication – that do not result in a felony conviction.
“But the drugs weren’t mine…”
Unfortunately, almost everyone says “the drugs aren’t mine”, but unless there’s evidence that the drugs aren’t yours, it’s not going to fly with prosecutors or jurors. Don’t claim that the drugs aren’t yours when they were found in your pocket. However, there are times that police will assign ownership to drugs when there is not enough evidence to do so. For example, police will sometimes haphazardly assign ownership of drugs to the driver of a vehicle, even though the drugs were found near a passenger, or hidden somewhere out of reach of the driver.
In these cases, it can be beneficial to have an attorney that will quickly set the case for trial, pressing the prosecutors to examine their evidence, In my experience, these cases will often be dismissed once the prosecutors take a hard look at the evidence and realize that they cannot meet their burden. I have found the prosecutors in Travis County to be reasonable when it comes to drug charges, and have a greater focus on violent crimes. I think that’s a good perspective. But that doesn’t mean that you should take your charges lightly when you are staring at a felony.
When to Seek Help?
Not everyone who gets caught with an mdma pill or baggie of cocaine needs to go to treatment. However, for some, criminal charges can be a wake-up call when help is truly needed. Therapy, intensive outpatient programs, or rehab can all help with the criminal charges. I don’t usually recommend these options unless my client wants to seek help for his/her own sake. But, if the timing is right, my clients can get the help they need while making their criminal case go more smoothly at the same time.
My job is to help you work through your legal issues, and get the best outcome that is available. But in the right situation, I can help facilitate getting my clients the help they need. Luckily, there are resources in Travis County for those who need it.
When to Contact an Attorney?
The sooner the better. An attorney is going to make the entire process go more smoothly. In Travis County, you won’t have to begin attending your monthly court settings until you’re indicted, which can take months. During this time, your attorney can be reviewing evidence, negotiating with prosecutors, and developing a plan of action for your case.
If you wait until your third or fourth court setting to hire an attorney, the room for negotiation begins to close, and pressure builds. For best results, hire an attorney before your first setting. Some people avoid hiring an attorney because even thinking about their case stresses them out. But there’s not a better way to ease the stress than to have an experienced attorney on the case. I encourage my clients to go about their lives and be assured that their criminal case is handled.
My entire practice is criminal defense in Travis and surrounding counties. I will guide you through the process, let you know what to expect, and get a better result for your case. For a free consultation, call 512-677-5003.