What to Do if You Are Facing Federal Drug Charges in Colorado
What to Do if You Are Facing Federal Drug Charges in Colorado
Getting charged with federal drug crimes can be really scary. It can feel overwhelming and you might not know where to start. But try not to panic! Take a deep breath. There are some steps you can take to handle the situation.
Get a Lawyer
The first thing you should do is get a lawyer, like, right away! Having a good criminal defense lawyer on your side will help increase your chances of fighting the charges or at least getting a better outcome. Don’t try to handle this alone. Federal drug charges are super serious so you need someone experienced in dealing with these types of cases. Your lawyer can walk you through the process and come up with the best defense strategy.
Understand the Charges
There are lots of different federal drug crimes you could be charged with, like possession, trafficking, distribution, conspiracy, etc. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re being accused of so you can start building your defense. Your lawyer can explain the specific laws and penalties you’re facing. For example, federal drug conspiracy charges can be really serious, with mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years to life in prison depending on the drug amounts involved. But your lawyer may be able to get the charges reduced or even dismissed by picking apart the prosecution’s case.
Don’t Talk to Police
If the police want to question you, politely decline. Don’t say anything without your lawyer present! Anything you say can be used against you. Let your lawyer handle communicating with law enforcement. And don’t consent to any searches. Make the cops get a warrant if they want to search your home, car, etc. – it’s your constitutional right!
Your lawyer will want to start gathering evidence and documents that could help your defense. This may include financial records, phone records, receipts, or anything else that proves your innocence. If the police did any illegal searches or interrogations, your lawyer can try to get that evidence thrown out. Provide your lawyer with names of witnesses and any other info that could be relevant. The more evidence you have on your side, the better!
There are many ways your lawyer can defend against federal drug charges:
- Challenge how the drugs were obtained, like through an illegal search
- Dispute that the substances are actually illegal drugs
- Argue you didn’t know about the drugs (lack of knowledge)
- Claim you were entrapped by law enforcement
- Allege you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time (wrongful association)
- Attack the credibility of informants or witnesses
- Say you were acting under duress
Your lawyer will determine the best defense strategy for your unique situation. Don’t lose hope! Even if the evidence seems stacked against you, a skilled lawyer can often get charges dismissed or reduced.
Consider a Plea Deal
If the evidence is very strong against you, your lawyer may advise considering a plea bargain, where you plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges or a lighter sentence. While you won’t get off scot-free, plea deals can sometimes be the best option versus risking a harsh mandatory minimum sentence if convicted at trial. Your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution for the best possible deal. Make sure you understand all the terms before agreeing to anything.
Prepare for Trial
If you decide to take your case to trial, your lawyer will fully prepare by reviewing all the discovery evidence, filing pretrial motions, researching case law, developing a trial strategy, subpoenaing witnesses, getting expert testimony, etc. You may also need to take the stand to testify in your own defense. Your lawyer will prep you on what to expect and how to present yourself. Don’t worry – your lawyer will guide you through the whole process! Just be honest and stick to the facts.
Understand the Penalties
The penalties for federal drug convictions can be severe. Make sure you know what you’ll be facing if convicted so you can weigh your options. Possession of even small amounts can lead to years in prison. Trafficking and distribution charges often carry lengthy mandatory minimums. Conspiracy and other charges can also result in harsh sentences. Your lawyer can advise you on the potential penalties and how to minimize them. Don’t lose hope – keep fighting!
Consider Drug Court or Diversion Programs
For first-time or low-level offenses, you may be eligible for drug court or pretrial diversion programs as an alternative to prison. These allow you to get treatment and have the charges dropped if you complete the program successfully. Your lawyer can tell you if you qualify and help enroll you in the best program for your situation. Taking this route can help you avoid a conviction altogether!
Get Clean and Sober
If addiction issues contributed to your charges, make getting clean a priority! Enroll in a rehab program and stick with it. Quit using drugs and alcohol completely. Testing clean will show the court you’re serious about changing your life. It will also put you in a better headspace to handle your case. Your lawyer may bring up your sobriety at sentencing to help reduce your punishment.
Accept Responsibility and Show Remorse
Don’t make excuses or blame others. Take responsibility for your actions and show sincere remorse. Judges don’t like defendants who make light of drug charges or act arrogant. Demonstrate that you want to change and are committed to making better choices. This can help move the judge to show some leniency.
Get Letters of Support
Ask people who know you well, like family, friends, employers, etc. to write letters vouching for your character. These letters can persuade the judge to go easier on you. Make sure they emphasize your positive traits, achievements, and potential to turn your life around. But make sure they sound sincere – generic form letters won’t help much.
Be Respectful and Positive
Always be polite, respectful, and upbeat at hearings and when talking to prosecutors, probation officers, and the judge. Don’t complain or get angry. Project an attitude of gratitude. This can help you get on people’s good side so they’ll want to help you out. Negativity will only hurt your case.
Accept the Outcome and Move On
If you end up being convicted and sentenced to prison, accept it gracefully. Vow to take advantage of rehabilitation programs and better yourself while locked up. Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and having a fresh start when released. Don’t dwell on feeling sorry for yourself. Move forward and make the best of the situation. This positive attitude will help you get through it and come out stronger in the end!
Dealing with federal drug charges is scary and difficult. But having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side can make a huge difference. Lean on your lawyer for guidance during this challenging time. And don’t give up hope! By actively fighting your charges and showing the court your desire to improve yourself, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed, or at least minimize the penalties. With hard work and perseverance, you can get through this!