An aggressive defense can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal when it comes to a possession with intent to distribute case. To begin preparing your case, contact a Virginia possession with intent to distribute lawyer to begin working on your case.
One of the first things a lawyer looks at in a PWID case or a distribution case would be what the drug is, how much of it there was, where it was found, who found it, and what the client admitted to or said to the police officers. Those are the big factors that a person will want to figure out when they talk to their client because those are the facts that are going to make a difference in potential defenses and the eventual consequences as far as sentencing and what will result thereafter.
As far as constitutional defenses, the key issues that we need to look at are how this person first encountered the police, whether it was a consensual encounter, an undercover operation, or a traffic stop. We also want to find out if there was a search warrant. Those are all important constitutional issues that could lead to different results in the case depending on what the facts are. Another issue would be whether a person consented to a search of their person, their car, or their home, and whether that consent was truly voluntary.
A lawyer also think about the facts in the case that can be used to show that the consent was not voluntary at all. It is the burden of the Commonwealth to prove voluntary consent. A lot of times, in cases like this, nothing is recorded. A client’s statements to the police are not recorded either by audio or video, and sometimes they are not even written down at or near the time of the incident.
In that case, it all comes down to the police officer’s recollection of the defendant’s statements and they are going to put a spin on it. They are going to write down the key phrases that help the case. They are not going to write down the question that was asked or the answer that was given word-for-word. I routinely point this fact out when I cross-examine a police officer who fails to record my client’s interview.
The most important question on people’s minds is, “What is going to happen to me?” I interview the client about what the facts are and I tell them what the potential charges they are facing are if they have not already been charged, or, if they have been charged, what additional charges they might face. The lawyers go through the potential penalties and I review their criminal history for each individual charge and run through those sentencing guidelines. That gives them a worst-case scenario picture, which is what people are worried about at first. That is usually their number one concern.
A lot of times, people do not understand the process in the court, so a lawyer can explain to them what to expect in court, what the court dates mean, and how things actually work depending on the jurisdiction. We talk about what matters in pre-negotiations, what matters at trial, and what the strategy will be, because it is different for each case.
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