DiCindio Law LLC | November 25, 2022 | Drug Crimes
Being arrested on drug possession charges can be a very frightening experience. If you have never been through the criminal justice system before, you may not know what to expect.
The following is an overview of the process and some things you can expect if you are facing drug possession charges in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
If you are charged with a drug crime, you will likely have a preliminary hearing. This is where the prosecution must show that a prima facie case exists. This means enough evidence is presented to convince the judge that a crime was committed, and you are most likely the one who committed it.
Before your case is scheduled for a trial, you will have your arraignment. Here, you will be formally charged with a crime and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
During the pretrial phase, your lawyer can file various motions—such as a motion to suppress evidence—and review discovery. Discovery is the information that the prosecution must provide to the defense. This can include things like police reports, witness statements, and any other evidence that the prosecution intends to use at trial.
Your criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor might reach a plea deal, where you plead guilty or no contest in exchange for reduced charges. In certain situations, this may be in your best interest; in others, proceeding to trial may be the best course of action.
If your case proceeds to trial, both sides will present their evidence and arguments. If you are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you will be convicted and sentenced.
Depending on the severity of the charge and your criminal history, you may be eligible for a diversion program like the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD) or drug court. To be eligible for a diversion program in Pennsylvania, you must meet certain criteria. For ARD, you typically must be a first-time offender and be charged with a nonviolent crime. You also must not have been previously convicted of any offense, including summary offenses.
For drug court, you must be facing charges related to drug possession or use. You also must have a substance abuse disorder and be willing to participate in an intensive treatment program. If you are pregnant or have dependent children, you may also be eligible for drug court.
What To Do If You Are Arrested on Drug Possession Charges
Being arrested for drug possession can be stressful and scary. However, it is important to remain calm and know your rights.
Don’t Say Anything
It is very important that you do not say anything to the police after you are arrested. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. The best thing you can do is be respectful and wait to be processed.
Ask for a Lawyer or Call an Attorney Right Away
If you are arrested, one of the first things you should do is to ask for a lawyer. If you’re released quickly without being questioned, you should call a West Chester criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.
Relax – You Will Probably Be Released
The vast majority of people who are arrested on drug possession charges are released within a few hours and have to pay very little or no bail at all. So, try to relax and wait for your release.
How An Experienced West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help If You Were Arrested for Drug Possession
If you’ve been charged with drug possession, it’s important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
An attorney will be able to investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and challenge any evidence that may be used against you. Additionally, an attorney will be familiar with the prosecutors and judges involved in your case and will be able to negotiate on your behalf for a reduced sentence or alternative punishment.
If you have been arrested, contact an experienced West Chester drug crimes attorney to help guide you through the process and protect your rights every step of the way.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm in West Chester, PA
***This blog article is made available by the law firm publisher for educational purposes and to provide general information, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. Please contact DiCindio Law, LLC for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case. ***